The Basic(But Complete) Guide of CNC Router Bits
The Basic(But Complete) Guide of CNC Router Bits
You can use a CNC router for various different projects. Typically, this machine is used for milling, drilling, or cutting multiple materials. When used correctly, you can see stunning results that are impossible to recreate by hand or through other manual machinery.
Plenty of elements and technologies make up a CNC router, but one of the most important aspects is the bit. CNC router bits are critical to getting your rig working effectively. In fact, they can be the difference between a final design that looks pretty good, and one that’s absolutely perfect.
The question is, what are CNC router bits and what should you know about them? This can be a complex topic that throws up lots of additional questions, and it’s easy to get bogged down if you’re a beginner.
So, we have created this basic (but complete) guide that tells you everything you need to know about CNC router bits:
- What Is A CNC Router Bit?
- How Are CNC Router Bits Constructed?
- What Materials Are Bits Made From?
- What Are The Advantages Of CNC Router Bits?
- What Are The Applications Of CNC Router Bits?
- CNC Router Buying Tips
- Speed Tiger Suggested Router Bits
Due to the versatility of a CNC router, you can come across many bits of different designs that serve specific purposes - more on that in the next few sections.
What is a flute?This is arguably the most important part of a CNC bit as it relates to the cutting power of the tool. Teeth is the term used to refer to the cutting edges a bit has, while flutes are the grooves formed between each tooth. The teeth will do the actual cutting while the flutes help to remove the waste material and get it out of the way, preventing any jamming.
Generally, there are two main flute types:
- A straight flute, which is parallel to the body of the bit. It will hit the material perpendicular to the direction of rotation, providing a less smooth finish, but it can be used at a higher speed.
- A spiral flute moves along the body of the bit and twists around. This is what a typical drill bit might look like. It always stays in contact with the material and provides a much smoother finish. You can also split spiral flutes into two additional categories: upcut or downcut. An upcut flute will have a clockwise spiral that pulls material away from the cutting surface. A downcut bit will push material down while it cuts, using an anticlockwise spiral. Upcuts tend to leave a smoother finish at the bottom and rougher at the top, while downcuts do the opposite.
- It’s also possible to get something called a compression cut, which provides the best of both worlds. A compression cut bit will have a standard downcut with an upcut tip.
Your CNC router bit will usually come with a flute classification:
- 1-flute bit
- 2-flute bit
- 3-flute bit
- 4-flute bit
What are CNC bit tips?As mentioned before, the tip is the end part of the bit. You can have all sorts of different tip types depending on the application of the bit. Three of the most common include:
- Flat tips
- Ball-nose tips
Generally, these are the top materials you should look for when purchasing a CNC router bit:
- High-speed steel (HSS)
- Solid carbide
- Solid tungsten carbide
- Polycrystalline diamond bits
- Carbide tipped bits
Most bits you’ll find will be either HSS, solid carbide, or carbide tipped. The latter provides a combination of the two, giving you a steel body with carbide at the end. It’s deemed a more cost-effective way to harness the strength of carbide.
- More flexibility with your projects
- More accurate designs
- A long-lasting bit that doesn’t break
- Better finishes - and a wider range of finishes
- Improved speed on your cutting projects
- Complete automation during the cutting process
- Drill bits
- Milling bits
What are drill bits used for?Drill bits are used in the same way that you would use a manual drill. They drive down into the material and create holes in the surface. These are extremely useful when you’re looking to cut holes ready for screws or other applications.
What are milling bits used for?CNC milling bits have lots of other names. They are sometimes called end mills, carving bits, or engraving bits. Their purpose is to move laterally across your workpiece material. As a result, they can carve pieces out and create really accurate and stunning designs.
This gives milling bits so many different applications during your project. You can use roughing end mill bits to remove a lot of material at once, or you can use face mills to provide a smoother material surface, almost like a sander.
All in all, CNC router bits can be used for drilling, engraving, creating joints, surfacing, and so much more.
- How much will it cost? Usually, your budget will determine the type of router you purchase. If this is a hobby, you can find cheaper routers for just a few thousand dollars. If you need one for business use, it is worth investing in a more expensive one with greater capabilities and the ability to handle heavier workloads.
- How big should it be? Again, this depends on your use of it. If you only want something to use as a hobby, pick a small router that can fit in your home or garage. These days, you can buy mini CNC routers or ones designed to fit on a benchtop.
- What is the duty cycle? This refers to how long you can operate your CNC router. A 100% duty cycle means it can operate for the entire specified duration. Let’s say this is 20 minutes. If the duty cycle was 50%, it would only operate for 10 to 20 minutes. Naturally, your duty cycle requirements depend on the projects you’re working on.
- What motor should I pick? Normally, you have to choose between a servo or stepper motor system. Servo motors have 4-12 magnetic poles, while stepper ones boast 50-100. The more poles the better, as this means your machine will be more accurate and precise.
- What CNC bits should I use? This is entirely dependent on your projects and what you will use your CNC router for. However, always ensure that you pick a bit that’s made from one of the materials listed earlier. Also, consider what you are doing and what bits will make sense for your jobs. The likelihood is you will need both drilling and milling bits for most project designs.
Here are three products we highly recommend:
① ISEU Carbide Spiral Router Bits Up Cut CNC Router Bits - Constructed of Micro Grain Carbide, this bit is perfect for very hard materials. Resistant to wear and with high cutting performance, it’s ideal if you’re working on wood, aluminum, copper, MDF, or various forms of steel.
② ICARVE Carving CNC Router Bit Set - Engraving CNC Router Bits - Also made of Micro Grain Carbide for optimal performance and perfect for chamfering, carving V grooves, detail carving, and profiling. Works very well at high speeds on many materials.
③ ISEUD Carbide Spiral CNC Router Bits - Up Down Compression Bit CNC Router Bits - A compression bit that offers the best of both worlds. Exceptional at working MFC, MDF, plywood, hardwood, and softwood. The cutter is made from Micro Grain Carbide to make it very durable and resistant to wear, giving excellent performance time and time again.
To check out our full collection, click here.
|About Speed Tiger|
Speed Tiger is a professional manufacturer of Carbide Cutting Tools and offers OEM Services, having rich experience in producing carbide cutting tools and processing consultants for more than 24 years.
Established in 1998, Speed Tiger specialized in the production of precision carbide end mills, drills, turning tools, thread mills, and other tungsten carbide steel customized cutting tools. Speed Tiger crafts cutting tools at extreme nanometer precision +-2㎛ to the exact, enabling to achieve professional cutting quality.
Visit our shop to find out more, or check out our solution to continue learning.
Master Guide of CNC Milling: Process & Application Posted 2023-06-07
End Mill Cutting & End Milling - Technical Guide Posted 2023-06-07