Is milling bronze possible with Shapeoko?

I’m new here and have had my shapefoko xxl for about two weeks. I’m a land surveyor by trade but have really become obsessed with this machine and am amazed at what it can do. Last night I was researching what materials could be cut, and I see that non-ferrous metals are possible - like brass. I have a need for custom survey markers like this, would it be possible to do with the Shapeoko? It blows my mind this might work… I’ve been paying a LOT of money for custom designs for many years. They always stamp the markers, no milling.

If so, what is the smallest endmill I could use? Recommendations or tips on how to expand my cutting beyond just soft wood?

Bronze Concrete Markers_The-Alamo-C35FB-Survey-Marker-640

It’s super possible! I’d maybe just use a vbit or one of the engraver bits on the carbide3d store. Also Winston just went over this previously.

Are you able to get the part made or do you have to mill out the whole piece? It’s an easier job if you only have to engrave the letters, but still doable.


Thanks for the quick response. I would still buy the disks, I just want to mill the designs and lettering into the top of the disk.

I have a v-bit already and plenty of “extra” disks laying around. I’m going to test tonight. Wow, super exciting!

Oh, then yeah it’s a totally doable project. Curved text is harder to do in carbide create bit doable in a different program.

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one thing that seems to come back over and over for brass is that the exact alloy matters. “360” is apparently great to machine, some others are near impossible


Note that 360 is brass (mixture of copper and zinc), where bronze is copper and tin.

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I agree with this with respect to brass, anyhow… never milled bronze.

But CZ121 is like butter and CZ108 will break lots of endmills with the wrong settings.

That’s more than likely because CZ121 contains a little bit of lead. Which might possibly affect your memory like a dubious backup affects an online forum.


I use AutoCAD to create the designs since I’m extremely proficient with it, then import the DXF into CC for toolpath creation. I have a feeling it will go well, I’ll match the speeds with brass and see how it goes.

Man, I should’ve read more carefully here, sorry for the confusion from my end. Looking over a few threads, seems like a few people have done it in the hobby machinist world. I’m thinking the lettering should be doable. Someone suggested oil in a thread to cool it as you are milling.
I’d maybe start with brass speeds/feeds but at 70%