Engraving letters - what bit? Depth?

I’m working on my first few projects and I tried a project to engrave letters to see how much more figuring out I have to do, and apparently I have a lot.

The material I used wasn’t ideal, I realize, but this was just an initial trial run to learn. From the photo you can see my bit is too large and my depth is too deep.

For engraving letters what bit (type, size, etc.) works for you? What depth are you setting? Thanks!


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The best option for text is V Carving — that will allow the endmill to plunge as deeply as it needs to, to cut to a given width. The results preview like this:

Discussion of the inter-relation of text sizes and V-bit angles at:

Please see: Getting Started with Carbide Create and


As will says; vCarving is the best bet for high-precision. The fact that CarbideCreate can do it, and for free, is amazing.

After that you’re talking about doing pocketing operations with small endmills. How small depends on the text size. If you’re making signage with letters in the ~3" range, then a 1/8" end mill will cut to a reasonable degree of accuracy, with proper font selection. You could also go down to a 1/16" (.0625") end mill and do contour-on operations to trace the exterior lines of the fonts.

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Thanks for the insight. Sounds like I need to order some new bits.

I was looking over the bits available on the carbide site (https://shop.carbide3d.com/).

Is there a big difference between the 90 and 60 degree bit in terms of results for engraving letters?

As far as “end mills”, would the .125" Flat cutter be the way to go?

Thank you. -Aaron

Please see: Carbide 3D Tooling Guide - Carbide 3D and the endmills link, and esp. the text there on V-bit angle and size:

Recommended bit angle for a given text size:
<1" 45–60°
1–2" 60°
2–4" 60–90°
4–6" 90°
6–10" 90 to 120°
10" 120° or greater


I’ve been using these almost exclusively for my projects:


They are very sharp and really inexpensive. They work great as @WillAdams suggested above for my very small engraving, for larger engraving I have the 90 degree ones that Carbide3D sells as well as some small 1/8" 90 degree bits from same seller as above on EBay.

I used the ones above for these Christmas ornaments recently:

If you want any small text with detail you have to do V carves, I’ve done some larger stuff with small 1/16" (0.0625") flat end mills, but it was very basic text. Remember that if the angle is more acute it will have to go deeper for a given letter width, that’s why you wouldn’t want to use a 45 degree V bit to do 3" tall letters, …unless you use software that can limit the depth of cut (“Flat Depth” in some softwares).

Hope this helps :slight_smile:



Thank you! Big help. I went ahead and ordered all the bits you mentioned. Can’t wait to try them out. Thanks! -Aaron