1/8" brass rod inlay into wood - Coolant necessary?

I’m thinking about a project where i’d have 1/8" or 3/16" brass rod inserted into a wood panel (like pins), or possibly laid in a line around the edge (picture frame style). Once it’s inserted, I’d want to surface the panel/rod to make it all flush. If I’m running a surfacing pattern across a larger board and the 1/4" endmill would occasionally encounter the brass rod, I’m thinking I’d have to use feeds/speeds for the brass instead of a faster rate for the wood, but would I need to use any kind of coolant? Or would cutting through 1/8" brass rod with a small stepover and DOC not require it?

Alternatively, I could set up some geometry around the brass part to avoid it while surfacing the wood, then pass back and forth over the brass slowly until it’s down to the same level… say, passing an inch or so to either side of it to let the endmill/brass cool between cuts.

Does this sound like a plan for avoiding the use of coolant? I’m worried about staining my wood panel with coolant.

I’d cut it dry, and agree that leaving a reasonable space around the brass and then cutting in a second pass at feeds and speeds suited for brass would be the best option.


Would I need to change endmills for that, or can I use a standard uncoated #201? OR, if I use a ZrN 201, can I cut wood with it? In order to get a flush surface it would be important that both passes be at the same zero.

I prefer to use a given endmill in one material. Probably for this, there wouldn’t be enough cutting to really matter.

Probably you could do a third pass leveling both materials.

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I’m no help here on using a CNC, but I used to inlay brass rod into plywood to make the lines on a game board I build. This was a decade and a half ago and I stopped doing it. I routed the groove, glued in the brass inlay and then used a sander to flatten the surface. Maybe a CNC is not the right tool for this job.


Brass is pretty forgiving, the #201 will be fine.

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