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  1. #1
    I'm trying to assemble myself my first set of end mills - and the more I look into them the more confused I get. Diamond bits, 2 flutes, 4 flutes, 1mm, 5mm, 10mm, ball nose, v cut... where do I stop????

    Can anyone recommend say 12 bits - maybe more maybe less - that would do me for a variety of materials like wood, plastics, aluminium, fibreglass board, PCB etching? I haven't got one specific use for the machine and plan on using it for a variety of projects which would include cutting out panels and carving.

    The machine is hobby grade but stronger than an OX or Shapeoko. I'm going to be using a 2.2kw spindle with an ER20 collet.

    I'm expecting to be breaking the odd bit due to my rookieness so I don't want to be spending a fortune on the best coatings, materials etc...

    Sorry if this has been asked loads - I epect it to be but I couldn't find the info I was after.

    Cheers :)

  2. #2
    Of course you are going to buy tooling in anticipation of them being useful. There are serious bargains to be had if you are prepared to wait for a slow boat from China. Get a wooden chest to keep them in, cardboard deteriorates after a couple of years. I have a wonderful collection, hundreds of them, I look at them occasionally, a bit like Scrooge delving through his ledgers

  3. #3
    Rye's Avatar
    Lives in Sheffield, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 1 Week Ago Has been a member for 2-3 years. Has a total post count of 36. Received thanks 3 times, giving thanks to others 0 times.
    Maybe I'm not the best person to get advice from being new to CNC, but as someone who has started in the deep-end - and still in the deep-end - I'd buy a few cheap Chinese single and 2 flute up-cut endmills for cutting and pocketing. Yes, they aren't amazingly sharp but they cut MDF, acrylic & aluminium reasonably well(for a while at least); and you aren't going to break the bank when you break them - and you will break them:) When you get a little more to grips, get hold of some better quality bits. I've bought a few from Shop-Apt. Maybe not the best in the world, but they cut through acrylic (and aluminium) far better than the Chinese - and leave a much better finish. Last longer too. Can't say I've had much use for ball-nose just yet, but you'll definitely find V-bits useful. I use those small 30 degree 0.2 mm & 0.1 mm bottom V-bits for engraving acrylic. The big cheap 60 & 90 degree Chinese V-bits that look like something out of rambo are great for large lettering, engraving and grooving too.

    Wooden chest... hmm. Next project maybe :))

  4. #4
    Thanks for the advice - that's exactly the sort of info I want to hear :)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Robin Hewitt View Post
    Of course you are going to buy tooling in anticipation of them being useful. There are serious bargains to be had if you are prepared to wait for a slow boat from China. Get a wooden chest to keep them in, cardboard deteriorates after a couple of years. I have a wonderful collection, hundreds of them, I look at them occasionally, a bit like Scrooge delving through his ledgers
    Looking at them and imagining all the things that they can do lol I can see myself doing it now
    Last edited by dcrowder; 28-01-2016 at 10:49 PM.

  6. #6
    What diameter mills are people using for say pocketing, cutting out and carving/profiling?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowder View Post
    What diameter mills are people using for say pocketing, cutting out and carving/profiling?
    How longs a piece of string.? . . . What I'm meaning is it depends on the Job. If for instance you have pocket 100mm square your not going to use 3mm end mill with 50% step over. You'll want something wide to Hog the material out. Then you have material type etc.

    The cutters you use will be more Job specific than one size or type fits all.
    For learning then just buy a few cheap 2 flute endmills rangeing between 3 - 8mm and you'll do most work. For V-carving then 60 & 90 degree V bits will do most work, diameter isn't so important with V-bits.

    When you are more comfortable then you'll buy endmills suited to the job and will soon find that quality endmills are worth the money. You'll also have preference on manufacturer or Range of mills.

  8. #8
    Yep I appreciate that a 2mm bit isn't going to be much kop at pocketing but where do you stop on diameter lol! I'm not expecting one size fits all more something along the lines of a basic assortment of bit types that'll get me by for starting out.

    As has already been said - I'm going to be snapping bits so I'll be upgrading to posher bits once I know what I'm doing, as always I'm sure you get what you pay for!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowder View Post
    Yep I appreciate that a 2mm bit isn't going to be much kop at pocketing but where do you stop on diameter lol! I'm not expecting one size fits all more something along the lines of a basic assortment of bit types that'll get me by for starting out.

    As has already been said - I'm going to be snapping bits so I'll be upgrading to posher bits once I know what I'm doing, as always I'm sure you get what you pay for!
    Personally I would concentrate on building the machine first as by then you would have a lot more experience and know what the machine is cable of.
    ..Clive
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by dcrowder View Post
    Yep I appreciate that a 2mm bit isn't going to be much kop at pocketing but where do you stop on diameter lol!
    Exactly my point. . . It's job dependant.!! Provided you have the spindle power and machine is capable then In practice you'd use the largest size you feel you can get away with.

    My comment of "How longs a piece of string" comes from all the variables invloved and Clive saying finish the machine is very relevent.
    Machine strength makes huge difference to how cutter performs. Chatter is BIG killer of tooling and even if using cutting parameters that are well within cutters abilty if the machine is weak and resonates causing chatter then you'll like break the cutter.

    2 Flute cutter is good general purpose tool for learning. Size will depend on Job and spindle power machine strength etc but just bare in mind small tooling breaks easier than large tooling and is more unforgiving of wrong cutting parameters.

    Most common sizes I use are 3mm 4mm 6mm 8mm 10mm 12mm. With 4mm 6mm and 8mm being the most common. The larger ones I never break just wear out. 3mm break often before being worn out. This is often because of change in material while cutting ie: Sticky spot or chips not being cleared good enough. That is how critial cutting parameters and chip clearing can be on small tooling.

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