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  • Help with CNC Router Bits please?

  • Beej Curtis

    May 15, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Everyone 🙂

    Well, since we have had this machine (10’x5′ Bear Whopper Z90 CNC) we havent stopped! I will post pics later in week of things we have been doing, profile cuts mainly of characters and lettering etc (once we got it all working!!) but I really could do with some seasoned help please.

    We started by cutting with a down-cut, 4 and 6mm End Mill then I realised we had a single/straight Flute bit and read this was great for MDF (as that’s mostly all we have been cutting, plus a wee bit of Foamex 5mm) and once we put the straight flute in it cut beautifully! Problem now is this – we were given lots of bits with the purchase (along with PC, VCarve and Mach 3) and we have no idea what these bits are for!? Which one cuts what material etc, it’s been trial/error and internet searching so far, but it’s difficult to look at some pics on-line and compare to what we actually have.

    I know that in pic where bits are numbered 9, 10 and 11 that 10 is for skimming for our spoil board (yet to do this but will soon to get better performance etc) and that 11 is I think 120 degree VBit (it’s huge!) and number 5 in pic are Ball nose bits for 3D relief (I believe) – pic 7 shows the carving bits but again, wouldn’t know which one best to try? And apart from that we are really not too sure which bit is what etc . . ?

    Any help would be truly appreciated and I will post some pics later in the week of things we have done in past 5 weeks or so. I would really also like to get some some other VBits and I think the norm (having watched some VCarve tutorials etc) are 40 degree and 90 degree for lettering etc, but again, any help there would be most appreciated.

    I will post the images I took today at the workshop below.

    Finally, a suggestion of a great place to purchase new bits from would be helpful.


  • Robert Lambie

    May 16, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Number 7
    are "Engraving" Bits. the trouble with these is if they are not "marked on the side" the diameter of the head/tip. it’s very difficult to set up accurately
    in the software with regards to when milling passes. we would use these for engraving brass, laminates and the like… You can buy a set of these from sites like
    trouble with engraving is that dabbling in it doesn’t make you money, but it’s a great thing to be able to do/offer should it be required…

    Numbers 9, 10 & 11
    I would use on the like of MDF or HDU

    Number 5
    I have never used…

    The others
    look like a combination of single and twin flute bits in various diameters for cutting acrylic, ACM, aluminium etc.
    We really only use
    3mm & 6mm single flute bits for Aluminium, MDF etc
    3mm & 6mm single flute bits for Acrylics, plastics etc
    Both look the very same apart from the "length" of the bit.
    Acrylic/plastic bit is longer
    Aluminium/ACM bit is shorter

  • Beej Curtis

    May 17, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Thanks Rob [emoji1303] Hopefully someone may know what the other bits are for? When we bought the package, it just came with all these bits so its still a bit of a learning curve. Excited about getting more into the actual carving, engraving and more 2.5 D relief stuff…but that can wait at the mo as busy simply cutting profiles at mo.


  • Kevin Flowers

    May 18, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Beeg, how’s it going
    best thing to do is to create a shape & cut the same shape with different bits this will give you a good indication of each bit & more importantly how they cut corners which is important when doing lettering etc. Looking at you bits it looks like your speed & feed rates are not correct & if you don’t get it right you will go through bits. Down Cut & Up Cut are normally for laminated material from composite to veneered boards. You could try these companies for parts 1 advertises in Sign Up Date the other i came across searching for a company i use to use.


  • Simon Worrall

    May 19, 2019 at 12:56 am

    The bits with the rounded tips (5) are for carving.
    A Kevin says, watch your RPM and feed. It looks like some of the bits have overheated.
    Slower RPM and/or faster feed will help.

  • Beej Curtis

    May 19, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Hi guys, thnks for that. The only bits we have used have been 6mm endmill and the straight flute for MDF (which cuts great) but all the others – complete with burns etc as you both noticed – were like that when we got them. Will start tweaking more from VCarve about feeds n speeds etc but the tool we choose is currently set to 12000 and seems like a good speed? We did choose one from the Tool Menu named Pirahna and dint notice it was set 15000 and we it started cutting it scared the life out of us! Hehe…but it did still cut really well. Havent played with slowing down/speeding up in Mach 3 yet either, not sure if you can do that as it actually is running tho?

    Appreciate your feedback so thanks guys, its good fun learning all the new stuff after all these yrs, but really feeling it in the neck and back today after two weeks solid of cutting and painting! Gonna have a special shelf in the workshop for ibuprofen and paracetomols!! [emoji5]

  • Robert Lambie

    May 19, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    I appreciate this may sound like a waste of money but…
    If I was in your shoes. I would bin all the used bits and all the bits you are not "100% sure" on what they are for.

    The thing is, you will have a trial and error process trying to work out what’s what?
    some will be blunt, some will not cut right based on it being the wrong tool for the job and so on… this will waste your time and materials.

    Look at the materials you want to cut daily. like aluminium, ACM etc
    call someplace like and tell them the materials you intend cutting and that you would like the best bit for the job.
    get a
    3mm and 6mm cutting bit for say metals etc
    3mm and 6mm cutting bit for say acrylic etc
    they may also be able to help give you best practice plunge, travel speeds etc etc

    once you know your using the right tool for the job and basic running process it really will help you because your no longer feeling about in the dark and can focus on the creative side of using the machine which is the fun part!

    you should also make yourself a little jig to hold and identify your bits. it’s very easy. you could take a bit of 2×2 wood and drill a row of holes a little larger than the width of the shank on all the bits and sit them all in the holes with cutting bit facing up. then just mark which holes hold what bit. do the same elsewhere if you want one to hold blunt bits.

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