New to CNC looking to make a shaped cutting board

Hello everyone. Looking to make a cutting board this week in the shape of Pennsylvania. I’m very new to the CNC community and just wondering what’s the best bit to use to accomplish this task? Looking to use walnut probably with manual dewalt 611.

Thanks for your help

How thick is the Walnut and will the cutting board be a regular (side grain) or a end grain?

Sorry that was my fault with wording. A CNC machine


Regular and 1 1/2" thick.

I meant my spindle was manual. Like I I said I’m very new at this. Learning and reading as I go. Just trying to dive in

Any type wood bit could cut it, but you will need a long bit about 2 1/2" (wood, little for play, in the collet). The more Flutes the better cut but the higher cost. But if you plan on rounding over the edge then the less sanding if the cut is not so clean.
I would consider the way I do it (and others), make the plan in Easel for cutting the full 1 1/2" deep, when your done hit the “Simulate” button, if too many hours consider cutting 1/2" or so deep and finish the cut with band saw or jig saw, then use a router with a flush trim bit.

Good luck and have fun


Hey Sean

So there are many things to consider when selecting a tool for the job at hand

To name a few:

Machine capabilities
Spindle/collet size
surface finish
work holding

One thing to consider is the diameter of the tool versus the thickness of material being cut

A general rule of thumb is that you do not want to go more than x4 times longer than the tool is round

so if you have a 1/4" shaft/cutting diameter you generally dont want to go more than 1" in cutting length 1.25 might be okay

With the x-carve that you have you need to go slow and reduce to your depth of cut to something around .060" or less for the tool to operate correctly

So here is the end mill that I would recommend for you:

well honestly I dont have a tool recommendation for you just yet

finding a 1.5" long flute length tool for cutting wood is not so easy because a tool that long will tend to break very easy

Couple questions:

does your design allow you to cut 1 side and then flip the material and cut the other?
do you have a picture of the design?

I would love to make a video on this topic for my YouTube channel if you or anyone else would love to see this please let me know

Honestly I’ve just started out. I don’t know if easel will let me flip. Here is a pic of what I’d love to do. Also I love how everyone responds and gives great advice!


Oh yeah thats 1 reason why I like this forum everyone is wiling to help eachother out its one of the better forums that I have ever come across

So for this project we can flip it all we need is a reference edge easel does not do this automatically but it is pretty easy to do in easel

So start out by cutting on the top side down to .75" then mirror the image and reference off of the same egde flip the stock and then cut the stock to a depth of .75" this will give you a combined depth of 1.5" and if you need to place tabs in the file to hold the item in place then you can do so on the mirror image tool path shown here:

I hope that helps let me know if you have any questions

doing this will allow you to use a shorter length tool since you are limited on the capabilities of the dewalt router which only accepts a .25" shank tool if you had a router capable of a .5" shank tool you could easily get a end mill that was long enough to cut to 1.5" depth

This poor guy. You will easily find a .25" bit long enough to cut this out. No flipping necessary. If your machine is particularly unstable, then instead of just cutting around the profile, make a pocket (a new outline, .4" outside of your current outline) and mill out this “pocket”. It gives the bit room to breathe and remove chips.

Put your tabs (that hold the piece in place when you cut through it) on the FLAT parts of the state for easier sanding.


ehh I just think using a tool like that you are asking for trouble I think in theory the x-carve could do it but your asking for trouble. plus it will take forever to cut your going to turn a 45 minute job into 3 hours trying to step down at .040" or less and then mill out pockets for chip evacuation

longest tool I have used in wood on the x-carve was a 1.25" tool cutting 1.125" material and once it gets down to around .5" your fighting the chip evacuation situation all the way down to final depth

I remeber when I was doing that project I would have been time and money ahead just cutting the top side at .107" doc down to .75" aka 7 passes

and then flipping the stock (about 20 seconds)

and then cutting on the bottom side the same way

if you set up your reference you will have a clean edge without any wasted time and material

also if you are finding your having issues with chip evacuation use compressed air to follow the tool and blow the chips out

I just find that a stock x-carve is going to flex no matter what you do so the easier you can make life on the machine the better quality work your are going to produce

1.55" Depth Pocket, .25" End Mill, .1" depth of cut, .4" pocket around the vector, 60" per minute = 43 minutes. 1 hour at 40 inches per minute.

.1" should be very reasonable for a stock machine.

If he flips the stock, he will need TWO reference edges and some very, very careful stock measurements, Precise initial zeroing, and will still have a funky edge that will be difficult to clean up along that river. No problem for you or me, I am sure… but that sounds like bigger trouble for a beginner.

Of course, I am pretty aggressive with the x-carve after a couple years experience, following several years using a rattle-trap MDF machine that also would have jittered and shuddered its way through providing a nice wavy finish.


So I think I am going to make a video about double sided cutting for my channel cause I think that this is a great topic of disscusion

I am not sure what you mean by 2 reference edge I guess in theory its 2 edges so yeah here is a simple item that I made for my x-carve to allow me to always reference off of 1 corner of the material

I screw or bolt that down to the spoil board then just but the stock up against it. so no mater where you initially zero the x and y it will always be in the same spot just as long as you butt it up again your positive stops

and really since the stock will be over size you can set your x and y where ever you would like really the only one that needs to be close is the z axis zero and probably the paper method will work for this although touch plate is preferred.

Also the only down side to this is that your stock needs to be square on all 4 sides but a couple quick cuts with the table saw should take care of this no problem

curious what do you mean about funky edge along the river? if you just flip your stock and don’t change the x and y zero your mill will line up perfectly along the original edge. I would be more worried about the machine flex which will cause a funky edge and the only way to change that is to make the machine more rigid

I always pushed my x-carve to its absolute limits I can’t tell you how many times I have literally rattled the machine apart from pushing it to hard lol

I don’t mean to start an argument here I am just curious about this topic neither of our ways are wrong just 2 different ways and opinions on how to accomplish the same thing


have any suggestions about your way for when I do the video

Maybe explain your entire process with all feeds speeds, etc and I will try it exactly like you specify

I am thinking that I will do this test in a 1" thick foam instead of wood the only difference

I do exactly the same thing. But I make my zero hole with the bit I will be using. That way if something goes wrong midway or on the flip, I can manually snug the bit back into the hole and re-zero. You have two reference edges there. But I don’t flip unless absolutely necessary. And usually, regardless of precision - there is a noticeable ripple where the two depths meet. Unless, perhaps you are using an aluminum refernence edge and mlling aluminum. OR you have edge planed your reference edges prior to milling, you will see a mark. I guess there is always a chance it is perfect.

do you think that a more accurate way of finding you original x, y, and z position in case anything goes wrong is to use the machine inspector within easel?

So after you home the machine
then move the machine to the x , y , and z zero you record the numbers and then no matter where you start you can always start again in the same place

like for example g1x8y10x1f150 enter that every time you start the project and never need to zero again

I don’t use Easel. But it is my understanding that it relies upon mechanical switches that have proven to be very accurate for positioning. I don’t think any of that matters though when you lose steps, power, etc. But it is way faster to move your bit manually, snug it into a hole, and re-zero. The bit only fits into the hole one way. :slight_smile:

I should caveat all of this by saying I don’t use Easel or the Arduino. I use Gecko control and Mach 3. Which might be a little easier (you just click zero x, zero y).