Roughing Bits

I am doing a lot of 3D carving. I use a cheap 1/4" two-flute spiral bit for my roughing passes. The cuts aren’t amazing but it works. Has anyone tried a better, dedicated roughing bit for this type of work?

Something like this:
https://www.vortextool.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=10&CFID=25357517&CFTOKEN=e5de85e1e40b6f71-2597F432-99B9-BA71-9799473ECC2B2448

I’m told (by guys who run industrial super machines) that those bits can cut 2-3 times their diameter per pass, no problem. Not sure if my little X-Carve can push that hard but it sure would save me time to get a bit that can remove a lot of material quickly for my 3D carves.

Here’s a video of the roughing pass of a dinosaur head in mahogany using a cheap carbide 1/4" 2 flute spiral, just for reference;

The vortex tools are very good. But removing lots of material per pass takes a lot of power on the spindle and a lot of rigidity in the frame, regardless of how good the tool is.

Have you done anything to stiffen the frame?

Hi Allen,

Yes, I have stiffened my X axis with aluminium lengths sandwiched between the makerslides. Looking to brace the Y axis next. Is that a worthwhile upgrade?

If you have the 1000 then I think it is very necessary.

What stiffening method has been most successful for the Y axis?

This Angle Iron mod looks really nice

I have only one angle bracket in the center and it is fine. BUT - I like this angle iron approach better because of the potential for chip containment.

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Because the X-Carve isn’t a 10 ton behemoth, the general guidance we users have come up with is to keep the cut depth half of the bit diameter or lower. Even when stiffened, the machine generally won’t support much more than that because of spindle power, belt drive, and lack of stiffness.

As for Y axis bracing, I made 3 braces for each side and integrated a mirrored acrylic belt dust shield in the design. It’s nice and stiff and works well for me. Y Axis Braces and Belt Dust Shield