Large pieces....3D Adaptive Finishing Passes or 3D Paralel

Just trying to find a better finishing strategy for large pieces…

Made some cabinet drawer fronts yesterday and I’m wondering if you guys have any suggestions on a better finishing strategy apart from using a smaller tool.

This finishing strat was done with the #202 1/4 ballnose cutter with a .02” stepover removing .02 stock to leave and rest machining ignoring cusps. Material is maple.

I KNOW I could have used a 1/16” Or 32nd” tool and gotten a much better result, but the goal here is not to have the machine running for 20hours. I also know I’ve had better results doing a 3D adaptive using the same 1/4 down it bit for roughing to do a finishing pass. So I’m curious how do you save yourself clean up work with your finishing strategy on big objects.


Nice piece.

The adaptives are really clearing not finishing as they optimise for cutter engagement and removal rate rather than surface finish.

As you’ve got large planar areas without sharp curves have you considered using a bigger ball end mill with a larger radius to get a smoother finish?

I was carving out a seat profile with lots of shallow slope and grabbed one of these to reduce the stepover. The idea being that the larger the radius the larger the stepover can be for the same ridge height between cuts, so long as the cutter can still reach into the corners.

You might need to run a separate finishing pass along the concave straight edges first with the smaller cutter, that’s probably best run first.


No, I hadn’t thought of that because of the issue of the valleys that you mentioned. Thanks for the idea (albeit with yet another tool change).

I like them.

Being wood, I think the finish is quite nice. If my finish was going to be revealing I’d probably be inclined to make up a variety of small sanding blocks, sharpen up a scraper, and go to town. I’ve worked with composites for a long time, reminds me of peel ply. Most of my furniture, speakers, and “stuff” is all carbon or some kind of composite. For one off stuff, I rarely ever invest the time into a tool. And as such, I generally end up with a peel ply texture on my parts. I generally include a sacrificial ultralight cloth in the recipe. I sand, and I sand. It’s quite cathartic at times.

I once worked a good time in a custom car fabrication shop. We’d do cars for movies like batman, limited production stuff, and one off’s. All original. I’ll never forget the lead guys, taking blocks of foam and shaping them, all by hand into what would eventually be the body plug of a car that never previously existed. Me, I cut metal, I cut glass, I cut carbon… I sanded. And sanded. I really enjoyed it.

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Yep, I dusted off the set of card scrapers to clean this up. Took about 45mims and there’s still some nook and cranny work to do with a block. I’ve got one more of these to do so I’ll try a different strategy and post the difference here in a few days.


Awesome, I’d love to see the difference and the finished product.

As promised, said bye to the 1/4 ballnose and just did the whole thing with a 1/4” spiral down cut.

Overall better result, did better except in the lowest part of the valleys which makes sense given the bit is flat of the bottom.

FYSA .02” stepover


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