What do I need to buy?

(Ammon Mills) #1

I just got my Nomad for my classroom, and am ordering material for it for next year. I’m going to need cutters, but am not sure which ones I should get. Which should I purchase first, and which will I not need until I’ve really learned how to use the thing? It’ll be easy to buy them from Carbide3D, but is there another place you’d recommend that is more cost effective? Any other advice is greatly appreciated.


(William Adams) #2

From: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Endmills#Nomad.2FShapeoko_2

  • five 2-flute 1/8" straight endmills (such as the #102 endmills from Carbide 3D [9]
  • two 2-flute 1/8" ball end endmills (such as the #101 .125" Ball Cutters from Carbide 3D)
  • two smaller straight endmills (say 2 mm or so) (such as the #112 0.0625" endmills from Carbide 3D)


  • V-carving bits (say 30 and 60 degrees) — these are excellent if doing text

Further options at:

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(Ammon Mills) #3

You sir, are a saint. Thank you very much. My shopping cart got really expensive all of the sudden.


(William Adams) #4

Just trying to help.

There’s a bit more on endmills at: https://docs.carbide3d.com/support/#tooling-support



I will ask for several other information points, that may help with other things you might need:

What school level and subject area (middle, high school? tech training/science/ other?)

What types of things do you anticipate machining?

What types of material do you anticipate machining?

What software (or are you looking for suggestions there, as well)?


(Ammon Mills) #6

What school level and subject area (middle, high school? tech training/science/ other?)
-High school CTE (tech and pre engineering)
What types of things do you anticipate machining?
-various student designed parts, ADA signage plates, models
What types of material do you anticipate machining?
-Renshape, wood, a little aluminum, acrylic, hdpe
What software (or are you looking for suggestions there, as well)?
-For CAD, we use mainly Rhino3D and a little 3Ds Max for other projects. I’m going to try to learn the Carbide software some time this week.

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(William Adams) #7

For Rhino3D will you be using a built-in/bundled CAM option:

or will you be exporting an STL and using the bundled MeshCAM license? For the latter, see the tutorial: https://docs.carbide3d.com/tutorials/2-meshcam/



You might want to add some 1/8" shank drill bits to your tooling list. Especially useful for things like nameplates and signage, where well located mounting holes don’t show, but poorly located ones stand out.

For many jobs, they don’t need to be a particular size, but just to spot/pilot holes to be drilled out to size on a drill press or with a hand drill. I use a 1.0 and 1.5mm drills a lot, which is about the easy limit for the Nomad in most materials. Any drill much larger than 2.5mm can be a real headache (though I do use 3mm for dowel pins), I also have smaller ones for circuit boards and fine work. These are available from most industrial suppliers, and other sources.

I generally mill holes larger than about 4mm to size.

With good CAD/CAM (Rhino definitely qualifies with the appropriate CAM plugin), you can go deeper into specialty mills, as well. These are not starter tools, but, for future reference, you might want to look at and be aware of:

  • lollipop mills (ball end with the ball larger than the shank) which will let you do things like chamfer a bottom edge or go slightly past vertical to an overhang or mild inset in the side of a part.

  • Thread mills

These are tools that will let you do things that are otherwise very, very difficult.

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(Ammon Mills) #9

You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for all the information. I’m going to have a busy summer!



Getting away from the focus on cutters:

You might want to get extra wasteboards, and keep in mind that they are consumable. I have a lot of them in various states. I drill them for dowel pins to align parts for second side operation, mill pockets to support parts, resurface areas that need to be flat, glue and tape work to them, and so on. Don’t be afraid to use them up.

I keep a bag of 3mmX20mm dowel pins on hand for alignment tasks (alignment holes when mounting work, aligning parts for assembly, stops in in the wasteboard, and so on). Why 3mm? the Nomad is (just) capable of turning a drill this size in MDF. The exact size isn’t critical, but I have found 3mm inexpensive and convenient.

Look into a sea-of-holes plate. It replaces the stock bedplate and wasteboard and allow you to hold work with clamps, cams, directly screw down, and so on. Very handy. I use one for maybe half of the work I do on the Nomad, and about as often on the manual mill.

Do you have a dust extraction setup? It is a good idea for most materials, and dead important for some.I have not bothered with a shoe, as I don’t want to add the load to the carriage and have more things in the way (I have done a number of things that bypass the nominal envelope of the machine by careful path planning and clearance control), but I have a port in the machine side to draw the small particles.

Feeler gauges and magnification (optivisor, jewelers loupe, etc) are handy for setting zero. I keep a loupe and feelers at the machine with the setup tools. Even on a machine with a touchplate or edge finder, you sometimes need to eyeball it in. I ground an old tool to a point (like a pencil) with a 0.10mm flat at the end for setup purposes. Takes away the worry of crashing the tool with a bad jog and gives a clear visual x-y center of the spindle.

Magnification is also handy for checking tools. When a tool gets dull or microscopically chipped, moderate magnification is the only way to really see it.