How long are tools lasting

This may be a little vague because of so many variables but how long are you getting tools to last? I have the XL with dewalt router and cut a few things for the machine (mouse holder, pendant holder, hold downs, vacuum adapter), and a few signs and test pieces. I’m just curious do most people keep a few bits on hand at all times how long they last and do you keep some that no longer do a good job on one material for use on another material? Also is there a good way to tell when a bit is done before I wreck something?

P.S. most of my work so far has been done with 0.250" end mill that came with it

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Tooling life is measured in linear inches — you should keep a log per endmill and track how long they are used in a given material at a given rotational speed.

Endmills are consumables though, and you should have multiples of any which you use — at least one for roughing, a second for finishing, and a third spare.

As you said it’s a pretty open ended question. The variables are: material cut, how hard you work the bit (i.e feed and speed) and quality of the cutter

For me I have found that cutting pine or similar the lifespan is very long, I’d say maybe 8 months to a year of being used 2-3 hours a week.
Cutting MDF or anything with glue/paint in it will drastically shorten the life of the bit.
I haven’t cut enough aluminium to know how long the bits last - I’m still on my first cutter after 3-4 big jobs.

To get the most out of your bits: buy quality(carbide3d or Amanatool are good options), don’t push the bits too hard, this is something you get a feel for, knowing how hard you’re working the endmill)

Finally look into adaptive toolpaths, fusion360 has some excellent features, adaptive puts less load on the tool, allowing you to take a deeper cut, which wears the endmill more evenly, making it last longer

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Well regardless what everyone above says, I have been using the same 1/4" 3 flute ZrN coated Carbide3D end mill for about 20 months (and it still has plenty of life). It’s my remove material work horse. Sure it produces a little fuzz in wood, nothing that a few swipes with a sanding block won’t fix. I will use a newer cutter for finish cuts sometimes, like for sign making, but rare. Of course I use smaller end mills for details, but what I am saying, is that I use one tool as my main material remover.


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