CNC router bits form a critical part of the operation while working with the Desktop CNC Mills for tasks like cutting, engraving, and pocketing. They govern the processes essential to the operation of the routers you can employ and the sophistication of your ultimate designs. Since CNC routers come in a wide variety of models & specifications, you'll need to choose a distinct router bit that's most suited for the job at hand.
While it's not hard to pick out the best router bits, some factors must be considered first. So here is a comprehensive guide to purchasing appropriate CNC router bits for your manufacturing operations. Let's dig deeper.
Top Factors to Consider Before Buying Suitable CNC Router Bits
Although cutter bits are engineered by their manufacturers carefully, picking the perfect one still takes some analysis. The appropriate choice of a bit depends on several factors.
The projects you are looking to work on play a significant role in deciding router bits. Different tasks call for various kinds of bits to be utilized. For instance, if you are doing smooth contouring and finer detail passes or intricate patterns like 3D carving, then the ball nose spiral end mills might be the finest option for you to go with. These CNC router bits have rounded ends, enabling them to generate smoother curves that would not be able to do with bits with flat ends.
On the other hand, V groove engraving router bits could be handy for creating signage featuring lettering and other modest detailing on a level surface. You also have the option of selecting numerous V groove angles when it comes to the production of grooves with varying depths.
Decide what you will cut or engrave, a wooden material or a malleable metal. The types of materials that you intend to cut or engrave to some degree influence the selection of the CNC router cutters. Carbide comes in a variety of grades that are suited for use with a variety of materials. The bits or even the CNC router itself could get damaged if the CNC end mills were used incorrectly or not in the appropriate manner.
CNC router tools, such as diamond router end mills, need higher hardness and better endurance to cut through strong materials like stainless steel and granite. While engraving softer materials, such as softwood or styrofoam, may demand engraving router bits with a standard hardness and strength, such as carbide CNC carving bits.
Feed and Speed Rates
When cutting through material, the feed rate indicates how quickly the equipment will travel the router bit through the material. It is essential to set the feed rate precisely to achieve a high-quality cut edge. The standard units of measurement for feed rate are inches per minute or feet per minute. The speed rate refers to the speed of the spindle and gets measured in revolutions per minute (RPM).
The feed rate and the spindle speed are interconnected. By elevating the spindle's revolutions per minute (rpm), it is potentially feasible to cut at a quicker feed rate. Similarly, if you cut at a feed rate that is too low or with a spindle rpm that is too high, there is a concern about an overheated router bit, which could result in the workpiece being either melted or burned.
Chip load pertains to the amount of material removed from a workpiece by a bit during each revolution of the bit. You must have a bit that has the appropriate chip load because the accuracy of your job will suffer otherwise. Bits with larger chip loads are preferable since small chips don't get removed as fast, causing heat to build up. This heat can cause your bit to get damaged, and fewer precision cuts are the consequence. Please note that the use of proper lubrication and cooling systems also plays important role in the heat management.
Diameter & Length
CNC router bits with greater diameters are recommended because they provide increased toughness and greater durability for the tool. Similarly, longer bits are more prone to bending and breaking than shorter bits, so you should always strive to pick the shortest bit possible and avoid using extremely lengthy CNC router bits. As a rule of thumb, the cutting length shouldn't be any longer than 4 times the diameter at the very most.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, you might further need to consider the brands and characteristics of the CNC router bits. When selecting CNC router cutters, it is best to go with those that come from reputable manufacturers since only they can guarantee the superior quality & reliability of the parts. If you purchase the CNC milling bits from certain smaller workshops, you risk getting a knock-off version of the real deal.
Additionally, if you are just starting out with CNC engraving and seeking a multi-purpose bit, you can select two-flute spiral bits. They offer the capability of cutting a wide variety of materials such as plastics, metal, wood, and foam.
There is a wide collection of CNC router bits to choose from, each delivering its distinct processing outcomes. As a result, the CNC router bits you use will matter greatly depending on your processing needs. Thus, it would be best if you prioritized choosing the appropriate equipment as it ensures top-notch final results, lessens wear on the equipment, and extends its useful life.
About the Author:
Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights to various blogs on CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.