"Test Board" or "Sample Board"

Has anyone taken a large piece of wood and just made dozens of sample cuts with different bits and mills at different feed rates and speeds to use as a reference later?

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Kinda.

However

  • it’s more effort than it is worth, as a) the ballpark starting point for feeds and speeds for a given tool in a given material can be established with a limited set of rules (pretty much just a target chipload), and b) stock material is never quite the same and it is often worth experimenting with the actual stock you will be cutting anyway.
  • One can change the RPM and feedrate dynamically during a single test cut to figure out where the sweet spot is. There is a nice process over at PreciseBits about such an approach, it’s faster than testing a given number of feedrate/RPM values
  • the number of combinations of endmills + material types is so large that you would likely often end up with “that one combination you don’t have a reference cut for”

That said, I think this (experimentation) is still an excellent way to learn about feeds and speeds and what a Shapeoko likes.

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