Suitable Bits for Materials

As a newbie in the CNC world, I am having some troubles using the right configurations/bits for cutting certain materials. Having a list of commonly used materials, and then a list of suitable bits beside the list would be a huge help for beginners like me. I know there’s tons of sites out there that have list of certain bits that needs to be used on materials, but I thought having a thread or topic here would be a huge help.

A few questions off of my head:
-Typical RPM/IPM using Easel and the stock rotary tool that came with the basic S2 package for cutting aluminum? HDPE? Acrylic? Pine? Typical Feed Rate? Depth per Pass?
-Proper cutting bits for commonly used materials?
-Any preferred rotary tool upgrade for the stock rotary tool? Brands?

If you guys have any links that can answer these questions, please do leave a comment.


I can’t answer all of these questions, but default recommended feed rates and depth per pass are provided in Easel when choosing HDPE or acrylic as your material (or any of the other materials in Easel). We also plan to greatly expand the number of materials in the future. For acrylic and HDPE, I’ve had good results using a fishtail bit like this one.

The spindle that comes with X-Carve is also much more powerful than the stock rotary tool that shipped with Shapeoko 2. You could upgrade to that, or you could use this quiet cut spindle.

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This is 1/4 6061 aluminum which was cut in .10mm passes at 125mm/m with a Destiny VIPER 3 flute aluminum endmill and also a 1.58mm 2 flute endmill to bore the holes. The 1.58mm was run around 65mm/m with a .10mm spiral downcut. A 3mm 45 degree chamfer bit did the finishing. All was cut with a 400w 48v quiet spindle. The Shapeoko does not like to cut much deeper then about .10-.15mm in Aluminum in one pass. It takes a while but large pieces can be done with ease if you take shallow cuts. I buy most of the endmills that inventables does not sell from here or here and both have done very well. Just keep in mind that a smaller endmill (.50mm or less) can not cut at the same speeds as say a 1/8 (3mm) bit can.


Wow that is the most beautiful aluminum milling I’ve seen come off a shapeoko, that looks amazing!

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Thanks! It just takes time to let the OKO do the cuts without rushing it.

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That’s very nice.

+1 for drillman1 as a tool supplier.

Amazing work! That part looks beautiful.

Thanks! I mill a great deal of aluminum on the Shapeoko 2

The Chamfer bit does an amazing finish.

That is the finished product after being anodized in house.

This is the next challenge for the Shapeoko. Limited edition mount for SEEMECNC’s showroom printers.
This will use the 3mm VIPER bit and a 1mm 2 flute endmill for the inner cutouts. Should be super fun to chamfer also. The Shapeoko does a great job in aluminum if you program it right in CAM and give it enough time to make the needed cuts.

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Hi, i try my first aluminiun cut today and i broke mi mill, can you send me a link of the mills you are using please?, and congratulations on that work looks great!

I checked and currently he is sold of the bits I use. I buy from and buy the 1/8" 3 flute Destiny Viper aluminum endmill. Currently he is sold out but he should have them back in stock shortly. Please make sure you are not taking a cut depper than .15mm and no faster than about 100mm/m feedspeed. I would say that you would have the best results if you start out at around a .1mm cut and no faster than about 75mm/m. also make sure your plung speed is under 15mm/m if you can set that also. Also make sure your endmill is JUST touching your stock. if it is pressed into it at all you will make a cut deeper than .1mm and your bits might break faster. Can you share the cut and speed you were trying at before? I will help you as best I can to cut aluminum on the Shapeoko. Also what alloy were you cutting if you know? Thanks!

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Tks! i try whith the Esel aluminiun speed default .1mm 127 mm/min, but i thing it happen what you said, the home was not a real 0 so at the firs cut it broke miy mill, it was a 2 flute 1.43 mm for dremel Any way today i install my makyta router so tomorrow i wil try again on aluminium, i have a mill from the seller you recomend but im not shure if is ok for aluminium y just try today whit playwood and it was fantastic. its a tow flute 90 deg from kyocera i wil try to upload a picture. , the Al im triying tu cut its 1100 2mm plate. Any advise are welcome. TKS! i hope my English are correct, its not my language. sorry

Thanks for the reply Jeff! And thanks to all of you guys who are posting their work! Please keep on posting em! This is going to be a huge help for people who are just starting to venture in the CNC world! :smile:

Your English is just fine. I see that your first try was with a 1.43mm endmill. or that size you need to slow the feedrate down to around the 40mm/m-65mm/m range. I would start at 35 or 40mm/mm and then try it from there. The new endmill you show is a 1/4" so it should run at the 100-125mm/m range OK. But I would start at the 75mm/m range and work your way up from there so you can get a good feel for how the bit is cutting and how your aluminum is going to react to it. Also taking too fast of a cut with a 1/4" bit will slow down the spindle too much and cause other issues with your cut. So try something around the .1mm cut depth and a feedrate around 75mm/m and see how that goes. Remember that with the Shapeoko it is not really about cutting fast in aluminum. It needs time to work through the cuts in metals.

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What RPM did you use on the 6061 aluminum? Also, what was the diameter of the Density Viper end-mill?

I run the 400w DC spindle I use at full RPM due to it not having as much power in lower RPM ranges. It is not a brushless motor so it suffer a bit of power lose at lower RPMs I have found. The end mill I mentioned above is the 1/8" (3.17mm) Viper end mill from Destiny with the Stealth coating on it. I love that end and use it on most of my projects if I can get away with such a large sized end mill. I have only had a single issue with such high speed RPM on the 6061 and it was with a 1.25mm end mill in 1/4" stock, if I did not stay right on it and clear the chips, it would gum up and break. But it was a very narrow and deep cut so that was a huge factor.

So is the max speed of the spindle about 12,000 RPM? I’ve got a Dewalt DW611 with a fixed RPM of 30,000. I haven’t tried any aluminum yet but want to soon. With such high RPM maybe I’d be better off with a 1 flute cutter.
I’ve been doing printed circuit boards so far and the high RPM is good for that. Even 2x as fast would probably be good for PCBs.

just got this guy in today. got to get my control PC back up and running then i’ll run it through its paces.

i got some really nice Niagara bits but i accidentally ordered 3/8 shaft -_-
any suggestions on how to get a 3/8in shaft into my x-carve?

Big hammer? :laughing:


The collet is only .365 inches, your bits are .375. This is what we call a difficult problem.