Origin/consistency of chipload recommendations

It sure would confuse me :slight_smile:

Do you have a link for these Saunders Machine f&s minimums? I only found various videos.

O.K. I’m a newbie; why is this? I assume the 30K would be 25% faster feed to maintain chip load, but why such a difference in finish? Is this a trial & error thing or is there a predictive theory?

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I suspect resonances at certain combinations of speeds and feeds used to achieve the same chip load, can result in inferior finishes.

If we had something on our machines that could measure resonance and amplitude we could use that as feedback to improve finishes.


Actually came across a mention of sound/vibration being used to calibrate machines — it would be a cool thing to wire into a control system.

perhaps on the nomad where the rpm can be adjusted. sensor checking resonance and dialing back rpm and feeds accordingly. much like the nice routers that chase rpm given various loads

would guess it’s no simple task by any means.
i have seen mention of raspberry pi used on large industrial equipment with sensors to check for subtle changes to warn of upcoming issues/maintenance

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Similarly, there was a company flacking electronic monitoring of power draw by appliances which claimed that it could detect a device beginning to fail — the brushless Makita apparently has in/outputs for this.

I guess you could put transducers on the frame of the Shapeoko at different/strategic locations and measure amplitude and frequency of the vibrations. You could have a controller adjust speed and feed if possible or make recommendations through a display to increase or decrease those parameters. This could be a nice project for those Arduino enthusiasts.

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I think Vince has basically discovered that higher RPM based feeds give him the best finish because it forces resonances up to higher frequencies likely with lower amplitudes. Lower frequency resonances probably are more detrimental to finish quality.

Probably little need to experiment much, if you can run at higher RPM, and a suitably higher feed.


So just max out RPM as long as the machine can handle the associated feedrate ?

Then what’s the deal with the oldschool surface speed equation that calls for a specific RPM depending on the surface speed that a given (metal) material likes best ? i.e.

RPM = (SFM x 3.82) / Diameter

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I believe that SFM has to do with thermal characteristics — how much heat is generated by friction, how much heat can be carried away by a given chip.

One thing I really think we need to work out is what the optimal toolpath strategy for machines is (presumably adaptive clearing / trochoidal milling) and how that affects this sort of thing — there being a separate HSM calculator at: http://brturn.github.io/feeds-and-speeds/ seems to underscore this dichotomy.

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Well, I’m not prepared to provide a unified theory of speeds and feeds at this point.

Although my feeling is that many of the historical suggestions relied on machines that had lower spindle speeds and were also substantially more rigid than the SO3.

And I personally wouldn’t just run the router at maximum speed, I’d likely balance the RPM with noise tolerance and feed rate comfort, but shooting for a higher RPM than is often suggested.

I sure hope I’m not sidetracking your work here, though, I’m just providing some personal theories and honestly I probably should have kept my mouth shut and allowed you to carry on on your own unified theory rather than possibly contaminating it.


There was an interesting thread on this started by @The_real_janderson not long ago. Does SFM Matter?

Your thread, here, is most interesting, can’t wait to see a Unified Theory of Shapeoko 3 Speeds and Feeds.

Meanwhile, my current approach is to leave my speed at 30k and adjust other parameters until it sounds nice, haha, calibrated ears.


I 100% agree with this approach. crowd-sourcing will be very complicated, especially with everyone’s machine at varying levels of modification. Providing a reasonable value to start with and let the owner push from there gives flexibility to the user and the creator of the source of knowledge (yourself in this case).

Also, to the SFM argument, it just seems like that doesn’t necessarily matter to what we do. Like @Vince.Fab mentioned, we run more Datron-style milling with high RPMs and a focus on chiploads rather than SFM.


by all means do provide your theories and experience, I am basically still just a newbie trying to find my own way through the hazy topic of feeds and speeds, and trying to make sense of the multiple bits of wisdom scattered around here!
I like my router as quiet as possible and I’ve been running 99% of my jobs between 12 and 15k, but that was mostly out of convenience, and I now realize I should go and check the high RPM territory for a change.

I just re-read that thread, I read it earlier but it did not stick. Bottom line as I understand is “sure, you can have a look at SFM if you want to, but you can just as well ignore it and you’ll be fine in most cases”.
Very interesting that your baseline RPM is 30k, yet another hint that I should look at changing my RPM habits.

I’ll continue my quest for the “Oversimplified view of feeds and speeds that can still be good enough for newbies that refuse to take numbers for granted”


I see SFM as ballpark data point.

Long time established numbers that get you within range of what should work.

Most companies offer it with their tooling.
When in doubt aim for this if you have nothing else to go off.

The thing is our machines are not built uniformly. RPM and feedrates can reach pretty decent speeds but the rigidity is seriously lacking out of the box for alloys. So you scale back accordingly till you’re see finishes that work.

You may find your machine can’t even hit the SFM numbers before even being able to make a cut. Physically impossible with the stock or modded hardware. Again, just a place to start or aim given nothing else to work with. I find SFM to be helpful particularly with drilling where data can be scarce.


I for one am also looking for the Shapeoko cookbook. I want to stand on the shoulders of the pioneers.

I find it interesting that our software, Carbon Create does not have some tables of F&S based on the material we want to mill, the database has fixed values that you can change manually. Even VCarve has fixed F&S and the values are not material and machine specific well maybe not exactly machine but a range like machine levels that could be selected.

F&S is a major factor in the results you get but it seems that everyone has their own recipes and F&S are at the intersection of engineering and art form. I was reading from the CNC Cookbook where they state that chipload is not an important factor for beginners but …

Chipload: Beginners can ignore this. Others may use it to make sure they’re in a familiar range or to specify the chipload based on Manufacturer’s Recommendations for the specific brand of cutter you use. G-Wizard is fairly conservative, so again, Beginners can ignore it.


If we were to try to do this scientifically, then what would we even measure, besides broken tools and finish quality? Tool/cutting temperature? Noise? Vibration? Gantry deflection?

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Don’t get me started on Carbide Create’s default values :slight_smile:
The fact that it still has Nomad-style RPMs as recommanded values for some materials after all these years is beyond me. The look on my face when I first saw the “4687 PM” and had no clue what to do with it back then, with my Makita router starting at 10.000RPM

I agree that beginners can safely ignore all of this and go with the recommanded settings, I know I did. But sooner or later there is the urge to understand


Honestly, I would not even go that far. Finding a deterministic method that gets me a cut that sounds good, looks clean, and does not take ages, every time, would be more than enough.


This thread is a great read… It did make me feel better that I’m not the only one who doesn’t know the way to calculate F&S but it also made me feel hopeless in that NOBODY knows (or agrees on) the right answers. I am a relative beginner, but one thing I think I can add is that “fastest is better” is definitely not always true… In cutting some aluminum recently (building a computer case) we had the spindle of the dewalt going top speed (our thought being aluminum is harder than wood… faster must be better) and we had what I’d consider reasonable feed rates, and the friction got to the point that we were melting the aluminum out of the way instead of cutting it… We resorted to cooling it with WD40 while cutting, which helped, but we didn’t actually get GOOD cuts until I saw someone recommending spindle speeds even lower than the dewalt would go, so we ended up cutting at the lowest spindle speeds, and got much better results, and were even able to increase feed speed. Sorry I dont remember any of the details of the feed speeds, but they were not based on anything but trial and error…

My only other comment is that I can’t wait to see what might come out of this thread in the end, and I caution not to let a desire for perfection get in the way of compiling a useful table that may not be 100%… There are so many reasons listed in this thread that show why the answers will be different for everyone (different build qualities, different mods, etc) that having one number that is best for everyone is impossible… Having a living document of what range works with what is probably the most that could be expected.

Thanks for sharing all your hard work and I’ll try to take better notes next time I try something so I might someday have useful information to share too…