Let's cut 3" deep holes!

Ok, so what I want to do is stick a 2.5" thick, 10" wide, 4" tall block o’ wood in front of the Shapeoko, then cut 3" deep holes in it. Can I do this? Will it work? Any thoughts are welcome!

I will post updates as I try stuff.

Also, does anyone happen to know what the maximum length of endmill is for use with the Bit Setter? I once tried to use a long drill bit on the Nomad, and it did not like that at all:

@Luke @Jorge @robgrz is there a limit to watch out for? Or does the Bit Setter work differently?

I have successfully cut 2.75 deep with these tools, but I am not aware of a 3" cut height on a 1/4 end mill.
These are reduced shank so you can go up to 2.75 cut depth.
Amana Tools Extra long 1/4 Flat End Mill
Amana Tools Extra Long 1/4 Ball End Mill


RedLine RET7531 & RET7534 have a reduced shank (LBS) of 3" to 3.75" in length, 6" OAL

P.S. While I have never ran anything this long, I would probably recommend check runout and doing the “tapping” dial in method otherwise you are going to get a very unbalanced tool whipping around as the length is going to amplify it


I am pretty sure I mashed my Z limit switch trying to zero off a 3 inch block with my 4 inch end mill lol. I got smart and started clamping some .75 high blocks next to my work piece to probe from.
I would think a 6 inch end mill might be too high for use unless you remove your base or something…
Not sure but check it out before sending haha…


Do you have an HDZ? The regular Z carriage has about 3in of travel, you need to clear the piece of wood with your endmill sticking out. You also need an endmill with a long enough cutting length or one with a reduced sized shank to clear the sides as you get past the cutting length of the endmill. So in conclusion, you are at the limit of the standard Z, the piece of wood will need to be placed in such a way that it will barely clear when the Z is fully retracted with the endmill with 3in stickout is right above. You are OK with an HDZ as it has 6in travel provided you have the proper endmill. You are also limited in the Y travel at the front of the frame.


You could also probably run the program in two parts and move the router in the mount to gain extra “travel” provided you had long enough tooling. This would help stay away from max travel and potentially skipping steps


Couldn’t you just start with a 1" deep hole and then finish it off to 3" with a regular old router and a pattern bit?


I could for sure, but the goal is to make the robot do all the work, while I sit with my feet up and fan myself with a palm leaf. :grinning:

I’m making these:

And drilling all those holes on the drill press is time consuming and tiresome. I would also like to be able to make square(ish) holes, etc. I want to sell these things, but the time spent doing the drilling - especially because I have a small drill press - makes it not really worthwhile.

I’m going to do some experiments and see what I can figure out.


Are the holes through the material or are they bottomed out? If they are through, you can make it a 2 sided job and only mill a bit more than half for each side. If they are not, make the bottom a little higher so you hole is shy of 3in and use the diference for tool clearance.

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They are bottomed out. I’m wondering how much actual travel the Z axis has on the stock machine. If it has 3", that means the tool stickout could be 2.75" and it would be able to clear the workpiece and plunge to the full depth, right? 2.75" holes would probably be sufficient.

Yes you should be able to go 2.75 with the standard Z provided there is room for chip evacuation and that your endmill have appropriate profile; cutting length and clearance at the top to prevent rubbing. Some people have suggested removing a few thousands to the body of the endmill to give enough clearance.

You will have to do a test cut on a single hole to ensure everything works.


I would make that object in halves or even thirds and glue the final pieces together after carving. :smiley:


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