Loose Fit on carved wood

This is probably not a new question, but I didn’t spot it looking around…

I have a new Shapeoko XX and I’m trying to carve a box with sung fitting top/bottom. As a Test I cut a couple of circles in pine, one contour on the outside to produce a “plug” and a pocket or contour on the inside to produce a hole. I’m using the supplied 1/4 inch mill. The cuts look clean and I was hoping for a snug fit but there is quite a bit of slop (.02 to .03 in) between the plug and the hole. When I measure the width of the cut is is ~.265 which seems to account for the gap.

So I’m assuming this is normal? If so, do I just add an offset to get the parts to fit better?


Yes, but start by calibrating the machine and determining how the nominal endmill diameter matches up to the actual width of the slot cut.

See: https://docs.carbide3d.com/shapeoko-faq/how-to-calibrate-the-machine-for-belt-stretch/ for a bit on this.

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Thanks, will add it to the project list.
If I cut a straight horizontal or vertical line and measure the width that would tell me the difference between the endmill diameter and the actual cut diameter. Would I be better off

  1. creating a new tool with these dimensions
  2. adding an offset to my designs

Also, I assume there is probably some variation depending on the material I’m cutting…

I believe it’s better to create a new tool — that way the same design can be cut in different materials or with different tooling without needing to be modified.

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