I am about to order a Shapeoko XXL. Primary use will be for general woodworking, knife handle making and sign-making. What are the most common cutters that folks are using? Any particular recommendations? I have looked around quite a bit, but have not noticed a common size/shape that is typically used. I was planning to just get a few of each one from Carbide (maybe not the smallest ones and I already have a couple v-cutters) and see which ones work best, but would appreciate a heads up on the matter too.
The best starting point is the default 2-flute, square-ended, straight-cutting (able to center-cut) 1/8" high speed steel (or solid carbide) endmill w/ no coatings.
William is correct, but if you are only working on wood, and (probably) using a router as a spindle motor, don’t over look a good wood router bit (e.g. Freud). They have different geometry then a metal cutting end mill and will provide a superior finish. Most importantly, try several, and have fun. For speed I do prefer 1/4 diameter but for detail smaller cutters 1/8 or 1/16 might be necessary.
I made a sign in my shop a few days ago, and the difference in cutting time between a 1/8" and 1/4" was almost 30 minutes. Time is money as they say.
Edit (Add); Be VERY careful and never use a High Speed Drill in the router, they are not designed to run at high speed. They can bend, break and very easily become dangerous projectiles.
I forgot to mention that for the knife handles/scales, the majority of them will be ivory and bone. My plan is to use the Dewalt DWP611 and am considering the Super-PID upgrade but not sure how necessary it is, yet, to get the cutter speed slowed down. I don’t yet know what kind of speeds are best for ivory and bone. I also forgot to mention that the majority of these will be full 3D models and will be looking for a nice finish but know that there will be post-machining hand-work such as sanding and polishing…but would like to keep that to a minimum.
Question: what is the overall length of the standard Carbide3D cutters? I don’t see that dimension listed on the website.
The OAL is 2.5"on the .1/4" shaft cutters (#201 and #202)
The OAL is 1.5"on the .1/8" cutters (#101 and #102)
I would think the Limestone feed and speed numbers would be a good place to start for your ivory and bone handles.
If you need help with the MeshCAM setup let me know.
Thanks for the reply Apollo. As a point of reference, we have exchanged some emails about the dymondwood handles I have been making. This will be a different application I am not sure that I will be going with MeshCAM after reading up on a few threads regarding how inefficient it appears to be in regards to toolpaths. If you can convince me otherwise on MeshCAM, I may give it a whirl. In the meantime, I plan to try out Fusion360 for a while to see how that goes (I already have it installed, just don’t use it much yet). Ultimately, I have my eye on Vectric Aspire as a final CAD/CAM software, but cannot yet justify the expense.
Are you starting from scratch and creating 3d files or do you already have the design files?
I will be starting fresh. I have a lot of 3D modeling experience on other platforms so am not so worried about that but I do need full 3D support for both CAD and CAM. Meaning, I have the knowledge to create the models, but not the software to create and make the stuff