Must have cutting bits

Hi, I’m going to start my first project on my X-carve soon. Ive got the Dewalt 611 spindle and i bought the High speed steel 2 flute upcut 1/4" bit with my X carve kit.

To start with i’m just cutting curved shapes out of plywood and maybe some oak. what would people recommend is a good selection of bits to have? A friend has asked if i can cut some brass sheet for him at some point what type of bit should i use for that? Mainly i plan to be working with wood.



Well, I haven’t tried cutting brass yet so I can’t speak to that, but for wood, I’d suggest sticking with solid carbides if you can, they’ll last a lot longer and take a lot more abuse in terms of heating. For general bits, this is the set I use.

1: 1/4" Upcut Spiral - This bit will be your workhorse! It will do profiling, pockets and most other work with ease. As long as you do not need excessive detail, this one will do it.

2: 1/4" Downcut Spiral - This bit isn’t quite as chip-clearing as the upcut, but tends to press your workpiece against the wasteboard instead of climbing, and results in very nice, clean cuts. Excellent for plywood or finishing passes, this is another workhorse.

3: 1/8" Upcut & Downcut Spirals - More or less a smaller version of #1 and #2, used for smaller parts, with the same general notes. These let you cut out smaller pieces. Have to be more careful with the feeds, though, as it’s a smaller bit. Still very robust.

4: 1/16th Upcut Spiral - Great little detail bit, the ‘fishtail’ ones are superb for clean work in lettering and soforth. Be gentle with it, this bit breaks easily.

5: 1/4", 1/8" and 1/16" Ball Nose - These will be used for 3D profiling. If you’re not doing 3d work, you do not need these at all. If you are, they are absolutely necessary. Again, go careful on that 1/16th bit, it’s fragile.

6: 1/4" 60-degree V-point - If you have V-carve, this is your workhorse again. Will do almost any kind of V-carving quickly and well!

OPTIONAL: I don’t use this one but very, very seldom since I have a good planer, but if you don’t, a 3/4" two-flute “straight” router bit might be very handy for you. It’s good for planing and leveling the top of your workpiece, and cutting to thickness. Your X-Carve needs to be VERY square and straight to get good results from this bit, as far as I can tell, since the width means that even a slight miss-alignment will leave a slight step between cuts. It makes a good wasteboard cutter too, for setting up precision sub-wasteboards.


Amazing post, Dan. Consider it bookmarked. Its amazing how much you can learn about CNC and electronics and such when putting the machine together, but then be completely lost on bit uses. They’re in a league of their own with feeds and speeds.

1/8" and 1/4" straight 2 flute bits, this things are a thing of beauty! I’ve been using 4 flute upcut spiral and when i tried the 1/8 straight flutes i was shocked at the finish quality! if you have the DWP611, you can use straight flutes just fine without needing extra air blower or anything.

I do use a 1/8" straight quite a bit as well, although I tend to use the downspiral a bit more. The straight bits work just fine, though, and they’re somewhat easier to acquire as router bits.

Four flutes is quite a few for the high speed of the DeWalt, I generally use single or two-flute bits for that reason. Too many flutes, and you’re rubbing instead of cutting. Builds a lot of extra heat.

Question: My v-groove bit is 90-degrees. IT was literally a random decision from what was available at the store. I’m very happy with the quality of its cuts. That said, should I be using a 60-degree v-groove?

The answer is simple: It depends!

For instance, I use a 90° v-bit for most text work and some graphics. However, there have been some items that I needed to use a 22.5° v-bit for a single-line text along with a graphic on a plaque. I use 90°, 60°, 45°, 30° or 22.5° depending on the subject and appearance I want.

BillArnold has this one pretty well nailed down. It depends strongly on your usage, and others will be very handy as well!

If I could only have one, though, it’d be the 60-degree bit. It just seems to (for me at least) hit a real sweet spot between detail ability and size. You’ll develop your own preferences as you go, too. I have a 90, a 60, a 45, a 30 and an 11 myself. Of those, I’d say in order of use, it goes something like:

60-degree - 50%
45-degree - 20%
90-degree - 20%
30-degree - 8%
11-degree - 2%

The two steepest just don’t seem to work well with V-Carve for me, the toolpaths go crazy stab-happy with Z motions trying to control the width, and the results turn out badly. I really only use them for single-line stuff and very fine lettering.

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kindly show samples for each bit use with labels on each one of them.
also the bit size entered on easel.