What beginner CNC bits should you buy?
The first bits you should purchase of course are the bits you will use the most. This will vary on your CNC goals but for us, we do a little bit of everything! In this blog, we talk about what bits you need after you finish assembling your CNC and a brief summary of how to use them. The machine we use these bits on is an Inventables X-Carve and will work for a Shapeoko as well. If you're uncomfortable using custom settings simply use the numbers that are provided for you by the programs Inventables and Carbide provide you, then work towards learning the meaning of the settings and adjust to your needs.
The three bits we use the most in order.
The numbers below are a good starting point for pine or plywood. (these numbers will most likely be lower with harder materials) With experience, you will be able to cut faster and more efficiently but it's crucial that you learn your machine and bits before you try and push its capabilities. Breaking machine parts and bits is not fun and not cheap!
1/8 Down cut
We use our 1/8 down cut bit the most. Its a great all around bit for most smaller designs and cutouts. It works perfectly for engraving and cutting out objects or signs and we love to use it for the roughing pass to shave some time off of a carve. We make a ton of small signs such as plaques that we put on our feeders and for most of these plaques, we use a 1/8 down cut for engraving the sign its self and cutting out the shape the sign will be.
Feed Rate: 50+
Plunge Rate: 20
Depth Per Pass: .05
Spindle Speed: 2
This is the bit we primairally use. It is pretty pricy but they last quite long time. We have found that one of these will out preform several of the competitors bits. The price reflects the quality and we highly reccomend these. The #46225-k has a 13/16 channel which is the depth it can cut upto. if you do not plan on cutting through material that is around 3/4 you may cut a shorter channel bit.
Amana Tool #45199 Solid Carbide Straight Plunge
This bit is a more affordable alternative it will run at a similar speed but doesn't leave as clean of finish as a spiral down cut bit.
60 degree V-bit
The V-bits are the second most useful bits in our shop. They come in several different degrees and do a wonderful job engraving signs and other small details. The degrees we use on a regular basis are 45 , 60, and 90. the 60 degree is a great all around bit and can be used for most of your v bit needs.
Feed Rate: 40
Plunge Rate: 20
Depth Per Pass: .04
Spindle Speed: 1 (DeWalt 611)
Amana Tool RC-1148 Insert V-Groove 60 Deg
This bit is a great all around v-bit that works for a majority of beginner v-bit needs. The initial purchase of this bit is pretty pricey but you are able to replace the blade which is an amazing feature making it worth the price!
Amana Tool 45705 Carbide Tipped V Groove 60 Deg
This bit will carve the same way as the bit above but does not have a replaceable knife making the initial purchase cheaper but once the bit is no longer good you must buy a whole new bit.
1/4 Down cut
This is also a very important bit to have in your arsenal because it's great for removing large amounts of material as well as cutting out large sheets of items. The larger bits aren't used quite as often simply because they are big and work better for removing material, but they do really help to shave time off of a cut and time is money! The 1/4 down cut bit is twice the size of the 1/8 which allows you to remove more material at a faster feed rate. If you need to engrave a cavity in something or have to do numerous cut outs you be glad you have this bit!
Feed Rate: 70
Plunge Rate: 15
Depth Per Pass .08
Spindle speed 3
46202-K SC Spektra Extreme Tool Life Coated Spiral Plunge 1/4
This is the bit that we use for removing large amounts of material or for cutting out numerous items.
Amana Tool 45208 Carbide Tipped Straight Plunge High Production 1/4
This bit is a cheaper alternative and works well for removing larger amounts of material. May provide slightly less of a clean cut.
When starting out on a CNC use the provided speeds or stick to the numbers above until you thoroughly understand your machine and bits. All machines and bits are different but will run at similar rates. You will be able to push more expensive bits slightly faster than cheaper bits. The Shapeoko is a more rigid machine designed for the more serious hobbyists/business owners and will also run at slightly faster rates than the x carve. Always start slow! When using a new bit or trying something new on your machine start with a slow setting and a slightly lower depth per cut. If something happens you will be able to stop the machine a lot faster and possibly save the piece you are working on. Stay safe and always do your research and continue to grow your CNC knowledge. These bits are not required nor is it required to use Amana, these are just the bits we use and trust. You may use whatever brand works best for you. Feel free to click on the photos above to use our affiliate link to buy your bits. Ask any questions below in the comments or follow along on Instagram for more tips!
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