Need Advice on cutting "Rubber" soles

I am looking for advice on what end mill to use for cutting “rubber” soles for footwear. The material to be cut is similar to the soles found on Birkenstock shoes / sandals. It is 10mm to 13mm thick. I have cut some test pieces with Carbide #201 1/4" end mill that came with the machine, it cut fine but had a rough finish. I am trying to get these a smooth as possible. Any advice would be helpfull

I think I would try the O-Flute, single flute on this material. I may even consider freezing the material before cutting it.

And for once, the “conventional” style of cutting that CC seems to like so well will probably work better.! :slight_smile:

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Not sure how you are holding the material down but I made some jigs to cut thin material down. Take a look and see what you think.

@Tod1d suggested an o flute you could also try a #251 down cut 2 flute bit. By bolting down your jig to hold the rubber down it may cut cleaner. You could also experiment with a torch to clean up the edges similar what people use to clean up acrylic edges on cut out pieces on the Shapeoko.

Years ago when I was with General dynamics, I machined a lot of rubber material and I like to cut rubber using grinding wheels… size and finish was superb.

Do your rough cutting with End Mills and your finish cutting with grinding.

FYI Dremel makes a good assortment of wheels that can hold up to the speeds of your spindle.


Thank you, I will be ordering one today. I will report back with the results.

Those hold downs look like would work great for a number of projects. This rubber I will be cutting will be on a 24x36 sheet and I will be cutting approximately 12 - 16 pieces at one time.
I think I will be using a lot of two sided tape for this.

Hello Richard,
I picked up a couple of dremel bits yesterday and I am eager to give them a try.

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