What machine tools should one buy?

I know this has been discussed many times before and I’ve been reading all I could fine but I’m still unsure on what bits to purchase for my soon to arrive Shapeoko 3. I’m new to CNC and all that it entails so I’ll explain my main purpose for using it. I plan on #1, drilling aluminum effects pedal enclosures to mount the switches, potentiometers etc. #2, engraving the labels such as “volume”, “gain” etc. and #3, putting some type of (very simple) art work on the enclosure. So what type and size of bits or should I say end mills do you fellas recommend? Also, I’m assuming I will most likely break a few do to inexperience so are there decent priced sets that work well? And back to the artwork and engraving. I would like to paint the engraving as well on some enclosures. The enclosures will have been already powder coated.

Thank you for any help you can give!

There’s one suggestion for aluminum here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Endmills#Non-ferrous_metals

I used some Kyocera bits from drillman1 on my calipers which were cut and engraved of aluminum: http://www.shapeoko.com/projects/project.php?id=154 — worked fine.

For Al, I would start with the old standby 2 flute, ZrN coating. For non Al alloy use AlTiN coating.

For Al alloy, look for 45 degree helix angle or variable helix angle. These help with machining metals.

If you really get into Al Alloy, I would serious look at Onsrud single flute Al Alloy end mills… but definitely not until you’ve got some experience. For when you want to push things to edge and go for fancy finish quality.

Square end, ball end. Save corner radius (“bull nose”) for later.

0.125", 0.250" for sure.

Order only from known, quality sources.

Buy end mills in duals or quads, especially the smaller ones… It’s easy to break them.

I’m not much of an engraver. @WillAdams points to some good stuff.



Al alloy (e.g. 6061) can be machined dry. Lubricant - and how to use it - is a good idea. We can discuss them.

Good info, thank you Mark!

Thank you William, I appreciate the help.

Might want to see the FAQ: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/FAQ#Assembling

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