View Full Version : Shell cutting End-mills

19-06-2014, 11:16 PM
Hello all,

I'm tooling-up to run a couple of profiling/pocketing tests on some mother of pearl - think intricate inlays that you find on custom guitar fret-boards. Here's an example of the kind of shapes I'm hoping to cut - in the clip I'm using a 0.2mm 2-flute end-mill and the material is perspex:


And the circled area in the pic below should give you an idea about the pocketing that the 0.2mm end-mill will have to do:


Clearly, the feed-rates I'll use cutting the mother of pearl will be a lot slower than what you see in the clip above - what concerns me most is the longevity of the end-mill and I'd just like to see what your opinions are on the options I have.

1. The 0.2mm end-mill I used in the clip above didn't last long - it could well have been feed-rates, the perspex packing into the flutes etc etc. but it was also a cheap piece of tooling (7). Maybe try it again at lower feeds actually in mother of pearl..?

2. What I'd really like to try is one of these:


3. I contacted the supplier I usually go to for my tools and they suggested 2-flute blue coated carbide at around 30+VAT a-piece, but as far as I can tell, this would just be a generic 2-flute for harder materials, but none of the features (ie. fishtail) of the cutter available from the States.

So what do you reckon? Persevere with the cheap-o cutters? Try the expensive conventional cutter, or just buy a few of the end-mills designed for this type of work from the US..?

Thanks for your thoughts/advice.


20-06-2014, 10:07 PM
Wal, it might be worth checking out the carbide endmills used for pcb work. I use cutters down 0.4mm and they only cost about 2.50. Still break a few, but cheap to replace. G.

22-06-2014, 01:03 AM
Cheers Geoffrey.

I found these over on Amazon:


Very cheap - too cheap, probably. Can't see 'em lasting all that long, though..! Maybe worth a punt - even just for curiosities sake.

Thanks for the tip.