Max Depth in Meshcam

Can someone please explain how the Max Depth parameter in MeshCam is meant to be used? Are you supposed to set it to the full depth of your stock? I thought it was simply meant to be used to keep from cutting into your spoil board, but I’m starting to wonder.

If you set it to the exact thickness of your stock, does it force the cutter to go all the way through? Does it override the depth settings in the stock window? I ask because I have now managed to ruin two (test) pieces, both of which I had set to have a bottom margin of 2mm when I defined my stock size. And both of which I had also set the Max Depth to be the exact thickness of the piece.

So, in short, what does Max Depth actually do, and how should I set it, assuming I’m trying to leave some material at the bottom of my work piece?

Thanks very much for any help!

My experience with setting the max depth (which I have used on all of my cuts) is that it tells Meshcam the maximum plunge depth to go into the stock.

For my hardwood blocks for instance, I only wanted to cut 0.5" in total (so just the top part of the block), and when I set this in Meshcam a red line showed up denoting where the max depth was. I could also see in the toolpath that it didn’t cut below 0.5".

I also have noticed that when I set my stock size, the max depth defaults to the thickness of my stock. I always have to manually change it. I also noticed that, for some reason, when I make other changes to the model (in my case, moving a 3d duck around within the stock), it reset it to the thickness of the stock - so I had to change it again.

Take a look at my tutorial video, starting at 8:08

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Darren’s on the money—it’s the total depth into the stock that you want your final cutting operation to go. “Step-down” is the maximum depth it’ll take per-pass.

If you aren’t trying to cut all the way through your work-piece, then yes, you do want your max depth to be the thickness minus a few mm.

For those who are new to CNC, this glossary may be helpful:

(just added Max depth — thanks!)

Please let us know if there are any terms you’re looking for which aren’t defined, or definitions which should be added to or improved upon.