What bits should i start with?

New to Shapeoko XXL using Makita router and looking to buy a handful of bits to start with. Primary material will be wood, secondary is plastic.

Which bits would you suggest starting with that won’t break the bank but will give me a good variety? Prefer amazon for ease of ordering/shipping if possible.

I’d suggest start with some simple and always useful 1/4" and 1/8" spiral upcut like the carbide 201 and 102 and then buy chamfer, compression, ballnose or whatever else as your projects actually need them.

Wouldn’t I want downcut’s if wood is my primary material? Just basising this question off the Shapeoko Wiki.

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If you want to get clean cuts on the top surface of woods, especially things with veneered faces like MDF or ply then yes, you’d want a downcut at the top surface, but not at the bottom (opposite problem) and not for the initial cuts as you want chips to come up out of the cut.

Using a compression or downcut for a light finishing pass makes a lot of sense though, I keep a Yonico 3310-SC (cheap on Amazon) for finishing passes on birch ply. (a compression cutter has upcut at the bottom and downcut at the top but needs to be run deep in the material to work, at least deeper than the upcut portion).

Take a look at this thread for more;

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List at:



Ive recently been using an Amana single flute HSS downcut and is affordable, and quite sharp. It outperformed a carbide single flute in polycarbonate by a huge margin.

A down-cut also really helps when your material is flexible or workholding isn’t great. Compressions also won’t cause lifting but you’ll have to cut minimum right past where the up/down meet.


I won’t use HSS endmills again in Baltic Birch though!


That wasn’t from cnc use right? Also what kind of sfm are we looking at?

I’m not suggesting anyone run hss at 30k or anything like that.

If you are cutting through down cuts leave less fuzz on the top. Since the project is setting on the spoil board you get less fuzzies on the bottom but they are still possible. Depending on your hold down method down force will not try to lift the work. There is a place for both up and down cut bits.

As Liam said plastics seem to work best with single cutter bits.

It was on my router table @ 8800 RPM - 1152 SFM (trying to get thick chips). Odd that Amana says “Max RPM = 18,000” for both the 1/4" and 1/2" endmills - but they (like Onsrud) seem(ed?) to like 18,000 RPM for almost everything! I once pressed them on that for their carbide router bits because one of our router tables has a 27,000 RPM fixed speed router (they said they should be fine). Freud and Whiteside always had speeds more in line with “How to Choose the Proper Speeds for Router Bits”.

Maybe HSS endmills need lower SFMs when cutting (certain?) metals because they’re less tolerant of heat than carbide? What about cobalt (M42 HSS)?

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