Heavy materials

Hey guys, I’m looking for a material that isn’t too difficult to machine, but is fairly heavy.
My current plan is to use copper, but if anyone knows another heavy material please let me know.

Thank you.

We list materials which the machine can cut at: http://docs.carbide3d.com/support/#tooling-support

Brass would be my suggestion — for copper please be careful of the specifics of the alloy — nothing with beryllium.

Lead is listed as well, but I’d argue against it.


Brass generally machines better than copper, and is somewhat easier to source depending on what sorts of shapes you’re looking for.


Ok, assuming I go with brass, the feed chart only has recommendations for .25 inch end mills, if I want to use a .125 inch end mill what feeds and speed should I use? Or how might I go about calculating that?

I milled 360 Brass successfully with a 1/8" flat mill at 11 Feed / 4 Plunge IPM and .01" DOC, @ 11000 RPM. I know that works but if you want to calculate, then you need to look up the manufacturer info on the mill you are using and see what the recommended chip load is for brass. From there you can use the standard feed formulas to calculate, trying different values for RPM to get the best result.

Or you can do what I and most people do and use G-Wizard to automate some of the math for you and try a few combinations. Big thing is, don’t expect to cut deep and fast.


Depending on how heavy “heavy” needs to be, you could save a lot of money using some heavier polymers because copper and brass (which is largely copper) is not cheap.

I’ve machined Corian countertop material before which is an acrylate-based resin/mineral filler composite, as well as HDPE and UHMWPE, and they all cut nicely. Depending on mechanical characteristics needed, you could also look at Delrin/Acetal as it’s fairly dense as well.

Lastly, if you want to end up with a heavy thing but don’t explicitly need to cut the heavy material directly, you could cut a mold in something like insulation foam, then cast your form in a cement/concrete/plaster of your choosing, and then torch or acetone away the remaining foam.

Hope that gets the gears going as to some options.


Polycarbonate is good and fast cut and a bigger , heavy!.

Might I suggest, cutting a mold with the shapeoko in oak, then pouring molten lead into the mold? Depending on how accurate you need the parts to be and how many you need to make, you can easily yield half a dozen or so lead parts before the wood is scorched out enough that the dimensions are substantially off.

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