Feed rate, plunge rate and depth per cut

can someone please explain me what do you mean by feed rate, plunge rate and depth per pass in simple practical way. I am trying to carve a design on a piece of wood but I cannot determine what should be the setting for it as easel setting is too high for m project. Every time I carve, i guess it too much stress for the bit and because of that it changes its path and carves somewhere else. Can anyone please explain these terms to me in simple and practical way so I could know what factor i need to change.

Thanks everyone!! :slight_smile:

1 Like


Additional read a few of these articles:

More important steps:
Have you calibrated and adjusted the power of your stepper motors?

Simply Put:

Feed Rate is the speed that your bit travels in the X and Y directions while cutting and is measured in either Inches per minute or MM per minute. This will vary a great deal based on the material you are cutting / Bit size / depth of cut.

Plunge rate is simply the feed rate but applied to your Z axis. How fast your bit lowers down into your material before beginning X and Y movement to cut.

Depth Per Pass is how deep your bit is lowered into the material you are cutting for each pass. Example: You have 1/2 inch thick material and you plan to cut it all the way through. If you set your depth per pass to 1/2 inch it will take one pass to cut it out. That is not advisable for most material as it produces too much strain on the machine and can break you bit. If you set your depth per pass to 1/16 inch then it would take 8 passes to make the cut all the way through but you will get much better results.

Settings to get good results is a balancing act of getting all three set properly. There are feeds and speeds calculators available but if you use them I recommend that you be ultra conservative with your settings. The x-carve is a hobby machine not an industrial beast. That said you can achieve amazing results even when carving hard materials.

Hope this answers your question.



I’d like to double underline this in letters made from tears and months of frustration.