Another engraved aluminum effects box

Here’s my second go around with aluminum engraving. Happy with it except the cheap vee bits I bought wore down and I had to reset the Z a couple times during the run. I’m going to order a couple good bits that “I hope” will last. Also, does anybody know where to get good quality short drill bits? I need to drill out or at least center a starter hole for drilling the pots and foot switches on the enclosure. Any suggestions much appreciated.


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If you’re breaking the tips off the v-bits, try less depth. A few thousandths is all it really takes. Any more than that and the forces seem to rip the tips off pretty rapidly.

Mike, I ran it at .02". They were very cheap bits at 4 for $20.00. With my inexperience in aluminum I still wasn’t sure but assuming it was the bits. So I guess I’ll need to make more than one pass.


What was the angle of cut on the v-bits? depending on the angle, you may want to go to a more “shallow” angle so the engraver is more blunt. It’ll make it easier to do the characters in a single pass instead of multiple passes. a 60 degree, 90 degree, or even wider angle might be in order here, and then you set it up for v-bit engraving in Carbide Create instead of a regular path-trace.

Thank you Jonathan, the bit was a 30 degree. I did just get in a 60 degree which I will try next.

Some guidelines for V-bit angle matched up w/ text / feature size at:

Good read, thank you Will.

Hello all, I am new to all this CNC stuff, what bits is everybody using on aliminium, i want to cut some and engrave on 1/4 and less aliminium, would prefer cheap ones tell I get the hang on it and ang suggestion on depth and speeds.
Thanks in advance for your help

I’ve been using these for fine stuff on aluminum:

You only need a few thousandths (.002" works for me) of depth per pass or you will certainly break the tip. It’ll still sort of engrave, but it’ll be pretty rough. If you want to do letters that are formed from more than lines, use a ball end endmill, but this limits how small you can make the letters.