Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ordered my new Avid 4848 today with all the bells and whistles.

I first want to thank the group for helping guide me through a steep learning curve on CNC and getting my most "bang for the buck" rather than just running to a retail shop and picking up a "off the shelf" hobby machine.

I've worked through the various control software questions, Water cooled versus air cooled spindles, and on and on. I am very grateful for your advice and opinion on these subjects.

Now, I'm down to waiting on the machine (10-week lead time right now) and I thought I would move into the next series of questions on bits

For my regular router table work, I have used 1/2 inch bits to make projects. I've been a strong believer in Whiteside router bits as they are much more of a heavy-duty industrial type of bit versus the big-box store variety. Now that I am moving into the CNC arena, it appears to me that most of the spindles are using 1/4 inch diameter bits. I have some but usually for my trim routers, and pattern bits. Likewise, I use Whiteside almost exclusively.

But in the CNC world, I do know that Whiteside does offer some CNC type of bits but have a limited variety. It appears to me that Amana seems to be the "premier" CNC bit folks and they have quite a variety. I see that I can buy sets for $200 to over $800. I somehow believe that a huge selection of bits is not the most efficient use of my money. I have watched videos on the Vectric site and from what I can tell, I will need something like this to start:

A couple of end mill bits, maybe a smaller and a mid-size?
A couple of tapered ball mill bits smaller and mid?
A v-bit?

I don't want to invest money in something right now that will get seldom if any use right now, but I would rather invest in maybe multiple copies of the same bit (after all, I'll probably make some boo-boos) and won't have to wait on a replacement bit.

I would like to gather the wisdom of you folks who are doing this since you know much better than I do. I just don't think that a set with things I might not use will be efficient use of the funds I have (spent most of them on the machine and accessories) left over.

Again, thank you for your help!

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,625 Posts
Mike, seems you're on the right track with individual vs sets. Buy what you need when you need them...much better use of your money...

When others chime in, I think you'll get the same answer...

Congrats on your purchase...
 
  • Like
Reactions: MikeSibley

·
Administrator
David - Machinist in wood
Joined
·
4,361 Posts
Agree, definitely, don't buy a set. I thought when I started that every bit needed to be 1/2" shank and bought up and down cut 1/4" spiral Whiteside bits and they performed as good as I expected. Then I read about compression bits and that the shank being the same size as the bit is a good thing so I tried it for my Longworth chucks. I bought the Whiteside 1/4" compression bit with 1/4" shank and just new it was going to break if I pushed it past 100 ipm, but it didn't.

Using that bit I am now cutting the full depth of 1/2" BB in one pass at 175 ipm but have cut faster with no issues. Matter of fact, if you go to my YouTube channel you'll see a video of an accidental cut at 600 ipm with no hesitation from the bit or the machine. I'm now on my fourth bit but the first three still cut pretty good. I use those on 3/4" Walnut and Maple where I need a clean cut but if there are a few fuzzies it won't matter because the piece will get sanded, edge rounded, etc., but on the Longworth chucks I need the cuts to be clean as a whistle right off the machine so I use a bit for about 3-4 months and then get a new one (but I cut a LOT of Longworth chucks!).

V bits I have a variety - several different diameters of 60° and 90°. For my 1/8" downcut I have a 1/4" shank Whiteside but the first 1/8" bits I bought were a cheap set of ten 1/8" shank Chinese carbide off eBay for about $15. I figured those would get me through the learning curve. I broke the first one in the first 10 seconds of running the CNC - LOL! I broke another one jogging and hit a clamp. I'm still using the third bit and I bought these four years ago.

For surfacing the spoilboard I have a 1.5" diameter flat bottom two-flute bit and use it on the MDF at 18k rpm and anywhere from 200 to 400 ipm.

David
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
Whiteside is good but you might also want to keep Onsrud in mind. Their bits have gotten good reviews and their CS department is 2nd to none. If you call and ask about feed speed vs cut depth they'll have an answer for you. They are one of the leading CNC tooling suppliers to the aerospace industry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
Now that I am moving into the CNC arena, it appears to me that most of the spindles are using 1/4 inch diameter bits.
That's mainly due to two things.
1) 1/4" spiral bits cost 1/4-1/3 what 1/2" bits cost.
2) Few machines have enough power to really utilize 1/2" bits.

But 1/2" bit's will often give a better cut with hardwoods than 1/4" bits.

Unless you are getting a crazy good deal, there's not really a reason to buy bit's in advance, other than maybe a few extra straight bits. Buy what you need, when you need them. And never buy sets, unless you like paying for things you'll never use.

What you need depends greatly on what you'll be doing. V bits for v carved lettering. Ballnose for 3D carving.
And there's no reason you can't use standard carbide tipped bits, which are a LOT cheaper than carbide spirals.

It appears to me that Amana seems to be the "premier" CNC bit folks and they have quite a variety.
Amana's insert V bits are very good, and easy to get. But they're spiral bits imo are not on par with the premium spiral bits from Onsrud or Vortex Tool.

At work I just bought 4 Amana 1/4" Spektra bits. Cutting 3/4" baltic birch in 3 passes, I snapped two of them within an hour. Switched to a Vortex bit that had been resharpened, and have been using it for two weeks.
I've been running $150,000 machine for over 20 years, and have broken less than a dozen bits in that time, so there's something up with those bits. But I did get good results from a 1/2" Spektra compression bit I tried. It's a whole lot harder to break 3/8" and 1/2" bits than it is 1/4" bits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Again, the A-Team provides great advice! I wasn't aware of the Onsrud or Vortex bits, so I'll check them out. Like I said, I've used a lot of Whiteside but I am new to this. Doesn't sound like Amana are as impressive as touted. I wonder why the cnc manufacturers seem to all sell the Amana, particularly in sets? Maybe the amount of profit or price point.

I ordered all the collets from Avid and I think that is 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8. I have never used a 1/8 bit nor a 3/8. I'll see what I can find out from these other manufacturers.

Thanks guys!

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Question: Is the Avid CNC spindle capable of powering a 1/2" shank bit?

Also, I looked at the Onsrud and Vortex. Onsrud must sell through dealers instead of direct. I just don't know what I will need to begin with other than an end mill and ball nose, preferably tapered. Is there a common thought about sizes? I understand that it depends on what you are cutting, but if I got a 2MM tapered ball nose and had a large area without a lot of detail, it might take it a month to cut it where a larger ball nose might be more appropriate. I know it depends but maybe some of you have a suggestion for 4-6 general size/type options.

I would be heartbroken if I broke a $100 bit versus a $20 bit.

Edit: Am I being too much of a pest for you guys?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,380 Posts
Toolstoday.com
Precisebits.com - also known as Think and Tinker
Bits & bits
Hartvilletool.com
Drillman on Ebay -- drillbitsunlimited.com

My cuts are almost exclusive 1/4" shanks:
1/8 and 1/4 end mill. (1/2 or 3/4 for skimming the spoilboard)
1/8 and 1/4 ball nose
30, 60, 90 degree Vbit (don't really need the 30 at first)

Anything else, just buy as you need them.

I also have someone who sharpens most of my used ones for about $7.

Just my .02 worth.
 

·
Administrator
David - Machinist in wood
Joined
·
4,361 Posts
Question: Is the Avid CNC spindle capable of powering a 1/2" shank bit?

Edit: Am I being too much of a pest for you guys? No
Yes, it will work with a 1/2" shank bit if the spindle you're getting has an ER20 collet. Are you getting a 2.2kW or 3kW spindle? Either way, yes. You will have to adjust your feeds/speeds according to the bit and material anyway regardless of shank size.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, it will work with a 1/2" shank bit if the spindle you're getting has an ER20 collet. Are you getting a 2.2kW or 3kW spindle? Either way, yes. You will have to adjust your feeds/speeds according to the bit and material anyway regardless of shank size.

David
2.2 KW spindle and yes, I'm getting the ER20 collets. But only 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8. Maybe I should stay with the 1/4 and 3/8?
 

·
Administrator
David - Machinist in wood
Joined
·
4,361 Posts
It will come with a 1/2" collet but I use my 1/8" often. I have a set of 14 collets but I've only used four of them (I think). The photo below was right after I built the CNC and I've added a fair number of bits since this photo, including the compression bits and more V bits. This is also the bit holder for my router table; I don't use the ball bearing bits on the CNC.

Games


David
 

·
Registered
Mike
Joined
·
3,959 Posts
Mike you might check but you might be getting 1/8", 1/4", and a 1/2" collet. Most of the bits you will use will have those size shanks.

Not too many 3/8" shanks out there but they do make some, I have one or two I found cheap.

For specialty work there are a lot of different sized shanks available and you can buy sets of collets that fit the ER20 collet so you can use just about anything you can find BUT don't worry about that because you will probably never need anything except the collets you are getting with your spindle.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MikeSibley

·
Registered
Joined
·
377 Posts
I do a lot of work that requires smaller bits. I read more complaints about people breaking 1/4” shank, 1/8” spectra bits than any other bits. I buy most of my 1/8” bits from eBay seller “Drillman1”https://www.ebay.com/str/carbideplus. I have yet to break one, and I do not baby them (200ipm feed in MDF, 150-175 in Baltic birch ply). You can get 5 of them for the price of 1 Amana. And they are US made Kyocera brand (made in North Carolina). I also get up and down spirals endmills and spiral v-bits (1/4” shank) and from the same seller, I have 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°. They cut with a shearing action that I believe leaves a better finish than the scraping action of most v-bits.

Most of my tapered ball nose used for 3D carves are from Precisebits https://www.precisebits.com/applications/woodcutters.htm but they also have other bits such as the spiral endmills. A friend of mine has been testing a 4 inch long 1/2” dia downcut spiral from them at speeds up to 800ipm with good results. Comparing similar bits from Kyocera and Precisebits (like the 60° spiral v-bit) shows them to have virtually identical geometry and grind quality.

Finally, I succumbed to trying some cheap ($5) Hozly brand 1/8” compression bits, and have been very pleased. The photo shows 1/2” Baltic birch straight off the machine, no sanding and no tabs (chip packing holds cutouts in place).

I have used more expensive Amana, Whiteside and Onsrud bits, and have no complaints other than price. In a home hobbyist environment, some of these less expensive brands are producing more than acceptable quality cuts and bit life. Don’t feel that you can only buy the expensive ones.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, you guys are great! I appreciate the advice. Once I started looking, I figured I could spend almost as much money on bits as I am on my machine if I am not careful!! Well, sort of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Thanks, you guys are great! I appreciate the advice. Once I started looking, I figured I could spend almost as much money on bits as I am on my machine if I am not careful!! Well, sort of.
I'm a bit late on a reply here but I agree with the others and buy what bits you need when you need them. I bought a 1/4 kit when I first built my CNC with 90 degree v bit, 60 degree v bit, upcut, downcut, straight flute and compression. It was a pretty good kit and I use a few of them to this day still aside from the 60 degree v bit. Check out Centurion Tools, they are another good supplier with good customer service.

The only time I'd recommend either a kit or buying a few general bits is if you don't have anything specific your trying to make.

Another thing I would recommend is a feed and speeds calculator. While I would say this isn't totally necessary, I find it is much better then guessing, and you can clearly see and hear the difference when using it. G-Wizard is the feed and speeds wizard that I utilize, and it's not specific to routing, if you have other machines.

Have you put any thoughts into CAD/CAM software? Do you use any CAD programs? What work are you planning on doing with the CNC?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
After I get the machine, I plan to just play with it for a while and I am sure that I will make some boo boos. I like to make things for family and friends, Ultimately look toward helping my wife repair antique furniture

I plan to use Aspire.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MEBCWD

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm always skeptical and consider that you get what you pay for, but wanted to float this question. On Amazon, ER20 1/2-inch collets vary widely in price. There's the Amana for $20 and a no-name for $8 and another for $11. I have had an issue on one of my regular router collets not wanting to hold the bit. I am assuming it is because of manufacturing tolerance issues with that particular collet. Is your experience that name brand is better than Chinese import stuff?

The last thing I need is for a bit to come loose and plow something that I have been working on all day.

I know that I'm constantly questioning things but you folks are all that I have to understand the best method of moving forward. If I ask too many questions, just ignore me!
 

·
Registered
Retired old fart working with wood
Joined
·
186 Posts
I get most of my bits from Tools Today.

The Amana tool database can be uploaded into Vectric Vcarve software.

I order the solid carbide, they have a long life span and stay nice and sharp.

I also order the carbide dipped, which cost less.

When I 1st got started, I tried the cheap Chinese End Mills.

They melted down very fast, use once, then throw away.

A real waste of money for me there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MikeSibley
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top