Build me a quality "starter" end mill set

I am new to CNC, routers (at least the non-internet related ones), and endmills. After dropping the 1/32" bit and smashing it, and then leveling issues trashing the one bit I really liked…I need to figure out what I need to have a reasonably stocked set of end mills to get my “shop” ready to carve just about anything.

Right now, my main focus is cutting Catan boards, mostly out of 1/8" Baltic Birch ply. Though I’d like to also use non-ply good wood to create some stuff as well. Maybe even acrylic, but that’s a “future” need.

Right now I have 3 bits from the basic starter set:
1/16th fishtail
1/8th spiral upcut (I think)
1/8th ball

I broke the straight flute one and the 1/32.

I just ordered (without asking for help, stupid) the following from drillman1 on ebay:

Honestly, the last 2 I ordered because they were under $5 and wanted to try and “fill up” a flat rate box with a few extra goodies. I could/should have got more to fit in the box, but I didn’t know what I was doing.

So, I’d like to get enough end mils to really ensure I have at least one decent mill for just about anything, with backups of some of the more important ones (why I bought a 5 pack of what I think would be something I’ll use a bit).

So, with say $100 to spend on ebay (preferrably with a single shop like drillman1 to combine shipping costs) - how would I get absolutely set up with enough end mill options to make my head spin and be ready for carving the most popular types of items.

I don’t have a 3d type program yet, so carving wildly awesome curved pieces isn’t a necessity at this time…but welcome if there’s money to spend.

Can you guys come up with a “package” that all good noobs would need to really get going?

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Small comment: straight flute gives almost no tearout on plywood. I think upcut bits gives a lot uglier edges

Guess some people are too busy laughing at “quality” and $100 in the same thread :smile:

I’ll agree though…I only had a few cuts on that straight flute and it was definitely the best one for the plywood I had.

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Also seems to be the best for acrylic. Maybe a trend? :smile:

No, definitely not laughing. $100 is not bad investment. In my opinion, spend as less as possible. You will run into several issues anyway. If you break the bit for non settled machine failure, at least you don’t waste high $. You’re correct, you purchased couple bits you don’t need at the moment, but who knows what will you carve in near future. Only one consideration, you may buy V-bit 60 and 90 degrees. You will need it. Not for Easel so far doesn’t support yet, but when you start mastering Gcode sending, you will need it.

At $4.50/ea, even if I don’t use them much…they’re not an expensive purchase.

Still, any recommendations for what else to buy? drillman1 only has 3 flute straight one, and at $10-20/ea @Inventables, I’m finding it a little hard to spend that money on something that as you say may end up breaking due to my own testing around and not knowing feeds/speeds and other critical bit breaker things.

I say best investment before start pulling your hair, upgrade your spindle. As you can see on this forum, we do have serious problems created with Stock Spindle. When you have solid and flawless running spindle, you can use your existing bits for every carving need. Just my opinion.

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Alan, you may have posted this a year ago and I’m just about to start with my cnc journey recently and I need your good advice. I want to do fishbone chairs and other sorts of furnitures. I would also like to be able to make passive sound amplifiers/phone docks on reclaimed wood, and I’d like to be able to carve fine details on wood also, as intricate as this

my x-carve comes with the dewalt spindle and I bought a 1/8" collet kit in inventables so i can use smaller bits… but I did not buy any bita just yet as… like you, i dont want to regret buying any bits I dont need, or worst, buy bits that wont fit. your reply is much appreciated.


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Hi Mike,
Like you say, I always buy equipment I like, but buying unnecessary bit always bugs me.
All I use is the bits came with the machine. Those are very smart pics by Inventables. If they break, I’ll buy same one from Drillman on e-bay.
Addition to that, I purchased one .75" surface cleaning bit for waste board, several V carving bits and three different size of engraving bit all from Tools Today which is Amana Tools.(Last forever)
As I can see on the picture is looks like engraving bits you need.
I totally agree not buying unnecessary bit.
So what happens if someday you need to carve complicated 3D releif, this time you buy Tapered ball nose in couple different sizes.

Thank you for the reply Alan, would you mind sending me the links tocthe bits you are recommending? ai’d like to be sure that I’m buying the right stuff…

wow! thanks. this is very thorough.