Cutting MDF

Okay, I am going to cut some 1/4" MDF. What is the recommended feed, speed and step over for this? I have the X Carve 1000 with Dewalt 611 router.

Thanks in advance.


I have had good success with downcut 1/4 2 flute with a feed rate of 95-110ipm

my doc was .125

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I would use a solid carbide .125" 2 flute downcut at 18000 rpm and .25" depth of cut 150ipm
I would suggest you ramp into the cut at about 3 degrees as well

for stepover I would use 48% of the tool diameter for a decent finish

for better finishes anywhere from 20-40% tool diameter

also what type of part are you cutting?


I’m cutting stensil of 50 stars for American Flag.

oh very nice okay yeah so I am assuming that the stars are quite small yeah you should have no problem with those settings

are you going to use easel to program it?

do you have a tool picked out for the job already?

I would suggest a onsrud 57-240 tool

do you have dust collection on your machine?

I will build them in v carve desktop and the import the g code. No dust collection system yet. I have only been at this for about 5 months. I do not think that I have a down cut bit.

What do you recommend Phil? I am still learning the whole speed and feed ipm stuff.

Okay yeah you can program your ramp into v-carve I would suggest a continous spiral ramp down

I would also suggest using some type of vacuum to extract the cuttings so you don’t generate t0 much heat

But I would defiantly look into that Onsrud tool it will operate just fine at those speeds and feeds high quality tooling is your best bet for the long run


I apologize Nick for the way this thread has gone I would love to help you out with your project

if you would like to talk more about it please pm me I would like to share with you some interesting things I have found when working with mdf on the x-carve

Hey Nick,

The great thing about this forum is you will get great information and also differing information. None of it is ever wrong advice but each situation and user is unique on this forum. Some have an X-Carve from 2 years ago and worked on machines for 20 years, and some like myself who have a newer one and I couldn’t tell the difference between a 2 flute and 4 flute bit. Many many other variables come into play.

Info from both Phil and WorkinWoods are coming from a good place… but you are still responsible for researching the information given…

Take a few moments and read this from the help document from Inventables…

About mid-way you’ll find this information …

“While we suggest using Easel’s recommended settings when you are first starting to use your machine, you may feel comfortable adjusting your Cut Settings over time. As a general rule, your depth per pass should never exceed half the diameter of your bit. For example, the depth per pass for a 1/4” (.25") bit should not exceed .125" per pass, the depth per pass for a 1/8" bit (.125") should not exceed .0625" per pass, etc."

Since you were asking how to cut from a “newb” perspective, I think it makes sense that you start a bit slower and work your experience level up to a more comfortable speed for yourself…

Remember… there is no wrong advice. But when advice does differ, it is up to you which to choose.

Have fun Nick… Carve the sh*t outta things!!!


Haha this is hilarious once again. I wonder how long will it take before Phil flags me.

But yeah doc is typically 1/2 of your endmill, but with a stock machine i’d stay well below that. I used to do 1mm passes before my upgrades

Curious if I put my x carve back together with a spindle in a 100% stock config and shoot a video doing the advice I provided can we put this issue to rest?

That’s cool but when I originally gave the advice all the Op said was I have a 1000mm x-carve with dewalt

Never said machine was stock
Never said experience level

Later it was stated that the Op had 5 months with the tool

Personally for me within 5 months I was testing all sorts of things and actually found out that I could do what I suggested purely by chancebecause I programmed a file wrong but it did just fine

I don’t ever assume anyone’s experience level really that does not matter as people that have no experience at all with something can come up with a original idea

The Op simply asked for suggestions and I have him mine I don’t see the problem in that

You guys did see that I asked slots of questions and I look at lots of variables

Like I say speeds and feeds is an art form no one person is right

As far as asking questions about feeds and speeds I know people that have been in the industry for 30years and they still ask questions

This forum has all sorts of experience levels and no one person is right but what makes a good thread is the ability to have civil discussions about a topic and never assume anything

That said, the fact that the poster had to ask at all about MDF should indicate the experience level.

See that’s just it though

Even if you are experience it’s always good to ask especially the tool manufacture as they do the most extensive testing

Even a material like mdf or any material

You have things like

Mdf, ldf, hdf, waterproof, etc

Different brands
Different density
Different paper layer thickness

And everyone cuts a little different

And then there are the tools

Hss, carbide, diamond, coated, uncoated, lubed , etc

Its wise of a person to ask questions that’s how we. Learn

My biggest thing is I don’t want to suggest something and then immediately be told that I am a idiot and nobody do that

Hey @NickShurmantine, I mainly cut MDF with my machine (OG 1000mm, Makita Spindle) and before I upgraded my x-axis beam I was cutting with these setting:

FeedRate - 2600 - 2800 mm/min
Depth of Cut - 1.2mm
Bit - 1/8" single flute upcut
Router speed - 1 (~9470rpm)

I was achieving very good results.

That being said, it took me a while to feel confident in using those setting.

@WorkinWoods’ 's settings my be a bit aggressive, I say more in the area of depth of cut. But, that might work for him, and if you try it, I’d suggest you have a spare bit on hand.

I’d also like to mention I’ve gone and cleaned up this post as much of it started getting off topic.

Please remember in the future to make sure your replies aid the original post, or are inline the the original intent of the thread.