Reducing operating time for a catch all tray

I am new to Shapeoko and CNC, so learning more each day.

My first challenge is understanding how to reduce run time for a simple tray. 1"x6"x10" Oak. Creating three pockets each at .45" which leads to run time of 72 mins. This project is set up to run a #201 End Mill (1/4") with the following defaults:

  • Stepover: 0.125
  • Depth per pass: 0.040
  • Plunge rate: 12.0
  • Feed rate: 60.0
  • RPM: 18,000

Is it possible to make reasonable and safe adjustments to these settings?

Or would there be a different way to reduce the overall time vs purchasing another bit?


Extensive discussion at:



During the actual cutting you can increase by 10% increments. You can also edit the tool when you select it with more aggressive parameters. I like to just increase the feed rate by 10% each time and see if the router starts screaming. Remember oak is very hard and stringy. So by increasing the feed rate you can back off any time you like. If you modify the tool settings you can still reduce but I like the feed rate increase.

Some projects just take a long time to cut when you are cutting deep in hard material. If you are using the #201 that only has a .75" cut depth. You can cut deeper but the shank of the bit is rubbing on the top of the project after you get over .75". I purchased a Melin bit that has 1.5" depth of cut. Suggest you get a few of these for future project. I have used that bit to cut out 1.5" treated pine and many other projects that are deeper than .75". I purchases the bit at but there are many other places to buy the bit. This bit is an up cut so it leaves a rough top edge like the #201. I just have not looked for a down cut bit with the 1.5" depth of cut.

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What Shapeoko model do you have ? The max achievable depth per pass is different for a Pro vs a standard Shapeoko.
Starting from the defaults you mentioned, there is probably scope to increase feedrate by 50% and depth per pass by 50% and get away with it on a standard Shapeoko. It may be possible to increase both by 100%, but that would be the probable limit, and your machine will tell you if if does not like it.

(rationale for those values of +50% and +100%: at 60ipm and 18.000RPM on a three-flute endmill like the #201, your chipload is currently 0.001", and from my experience in oak one can push it to 0.002", which would happen if you increased the feedrate by 100%. Trying +50% first sound reasonable. Ditto for depth per pass, in oak I rarely try and cut more than 2mm per pass (0.08"), and I routinely use 1mm/0.04" when I want to play it safe, so 0.06" could be a good middle ground).

That should bring the cutting time below 30min

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I have the Shapeoko Pro XXL with the Carbide ER-11 router. Since I was not 100% certain what I would be running down the road I felt it was better to go with a larger capability and motor.

Thank you all for the suggestions and I will incorporate these into my first trial piece.

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