Best bits for wood detail

(Dylan) #1

Hey guys, I’m wondering what would be the best bits for carving small detail in wood.

Specifically, i’ve got a basic 90 degree V-bit that I was using to try to achieve an engraved checkering pattern similar to what is seen wood grips like these:

Here’s the one I am using: (link)

It works ok on harder materials but on wood it seems to just shred it vs carve out of it. None of the fine detail holds up. I run it in two sets of grooves and the first set seems to hold up ok (the lines are clean) but once I try to do the cross pattern it seems to pull the wood apart instead of cutting it.

What do you guys use or recommend for this sort of job?

(William Adams) #2

If you want checkering, you should probably use traditional tools for checkering:

For finer details on a CNC you’ll want finer tips and smaller endmills (for V-bits that means a more acute angle) — another issue is that the endmill will be presented vertically, even when the cut is on a curve — you’ll need to workup suitable toolpaths to accommodate that limitation.

(Dan Nelson) #3

Checkering is a beast with CNC as I understand it. I have a friend who makes custom gun stocks and uses a combination of tools including CNC router, but the checkering is done by hand. I know some of the larger companies pull it off somehow, but none I’ve seen is nearly as good as what is done by hand, although I’ve seen some laser cut that looked ok. As @WillAdams stated, I think you need a pretty acute angled bit, and even then I’d suspect some cleanup by hand would be needed.


(Evan Day) #4

I have not tried doing checkering, however a few thoughts:

I have been using some bits like this one from drillman1 on ebay (plus a 60 deg and a 90 deg)

They allow me to do some very fine detailed work and may suit your purpose. However, the challenge I think is how you would get the machine to follow a 3D toolpath since the grips are overall curved in shape. If you are familiar with Fusion 360, you should be able to model your grips (or import an .STL) and run a “Trace” toolpath. The Trace path follows contours or lines while compensating for variations in Z-height. That being said, I cannot confirm as I have not done that myself.

(Dylan) #5

Thanks guys, I’ll try with some different bits. I know it’s possible I just need to find the right combination of blade + feeds/speeds so that I am cutting the wood without pulling at it.

The curvature isn’t a huge problem. I’ve found some workarounds. I basically create a separate 3D model that only has pockets for the areas that need to be checkered and I remove a little bit of material from the surface.

Original model on the left, Model for the checkering pattern on the right:

From there I do a finishing pass on the model to the right and set the stepover to the desired width:

After that I make a mount that will hold the stock at the correct angle to do the final grooves.

(Dan Nelson) #6

Have you checked around on the web? I’d almost be shocked if you couldn’t find that someone has already modeled those, they’re 1911’s no?


(Dylan) #7

Naw, that’s just a quick model i mocked up to illustrate the toolpath process. The model i’m working is different from the above but will have a similar checkering.