Thoughts on the Dewalt 611: "Good Lord, I have made a sawdust machine!"

I have (mostly) completed my build an made a couple of carves using the upgraded Dewalt 611.

My initial thoughts and experiences:
The spindle is about as loud as a shop vac. The “wine” of the bit cutting is much louder. Loud enough that I wear ear protection. Loud enough that I could hear it outside my (detached) garage, but not inside the house. So apartment dwellers, even with a super quiet spindle, build an enclosure and/or sound proof your workroom. (Packing blankets hung from curtain rods on the walls maybe?)

The cheep collet adaptor I got didn’t work. No Mater how much I tightened down the bit slipped. I switched to a different adaptor and it worked fine. Though the adaptor I am using uses a set screw to hold the bit in place so who knows what the run out is on it. A higher quality adaptor or 1/8" collet for the 611 are on the upgrade list.

Initially I used an extra long 1/8" bit I had from my old CNC.
Cutting a simple nameplate project on some scrap pine using the Easel Defaults for MDF.
It worked fine, no problems.

Next I had a large MDF project to try out, 2ft x 2f.
Realizing that the stock settings would take forever I decided to push things. I set the carve depth to 2/3s the bit diameter and the feed speed to 100 in/min.
Bad idea. The router handled it just fine, but the high speed and cut depth caused the unusually long bit to noticeably flex when doing a initial cut across the full flute diameter. Yikes! Not good, but I kept going keeping a close eye on things.
Good lord does the Dewalt spray sawdust EVERYWARE. It’s internal downdraft keeps the cut area free of chips beautifully, by spraying it all over.
A dust shoe or air flow diverter is a must!

It got the first layer done (in about 20 min?) and then did a rapid move to start on the second. As it did so it make a weird shuddering, thudding sound and the Y axis shuddered but didn’t move, losing indexing and cutting the second layer a full 4 inches off. Crap!!

First cancel the print, the figure out what happened. I had already increases the gShiled current pots so that probably wasn’t it.
The rails were covered in sawdust! Pullies and V wheels choked with it. I had been so mesmerized watching the bit I had not noticed the rapid build up!
Plus the belts, which had been tight were now laughably loose. What the? They were fine this morning.
Bust out the shop vac and clean up the sawdust. Then re-tighten the belts. A bit extra tight, “tuning” them to a higher pitch when plucked than before. (“E” maybe?)
Change out the extra long bit to the 1/8" that came with the kit. And tweak the easel settings. I do things in metric, keep the cut depth to 3mm but slow the feed rate to 2000mm (around 80in)
Resize my project to fit my remaining MDF ( a little shorter piece)

Second try…
and we are craving!!
The shorter bit and slightly slower feed rate are perfect, no defection and cuts like a dream… but so much DUST! I do not want to vacuum for the next 2 hours, so while it is running I search my supplies for something I can improvise into a temporary dust shoe. I grab a big PVC fitting and trim it with a dremel to fit around the spindle. Cut some leftover vacuum accessories and tape the ugly thing together. Slipping it around the spindle while it is cutting (crazy!) and tie wrapping it in place.
It is not very effective. Maybe 40 of the sawdust is sucked up, but it is acting as “wind break” so that most of the dust is not being sprayed directly onto the rails. I keep watch and vacuum periodically. But the tighter belts are holding.
2 hours later we have a successful print!!

(A jumbo version of a pendant I am 3D printing to give out as party favors)

I love the 611. More than enough power to cut fast (as long as my bit can take the load)
If Easel was smart enough to slow down during cuts with the full flute diameter I could cut even faster.
Dust collection is a MUST (I wish Dyson made a shop vac)
Rail shields are a good idea. With proper dust collection in place it may not be needed, but they are easy enough to make. Plus they can be customized with the shop or machine name :wink:
Get in the habit of checking the belts before every carve. it isn’t hard, just a quick “pluck” for “tune”.

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Nice work, almost perfect. Like it, but I don’t know what program you’re using, you need to consider Large Area Cleaning on your tool path. You were use same bit for whole pocketing. I can see lines true. I’m using Vcarve pro, on pocketing operation I’m choosing much larger flat surfacing bits like .5" straight flute or similar. It cuts your time in half and gives you lot better flat surface. For the Dust problem, I have shitty Harbor Freight 2 1/2 HP dust collector I’m attaching the my X-Carve for slow and shallow cuts. When I have more dusty and fast carving, I’m switching to Craftsman XSP 6.5 Peak HP shop vac. That god giving Craftsman vac has unbelievable suction power. But you must consider building Dust Shoe to your machine first. Health is the first, you don’t want to kill your lungs.

This was done with Easel using a single 1/8" bit.
I also have VCarve Pro, but am having a little trouble figuring out chilly pepper, which I am using as a g-code sender.

I wanted the sign cut and painted for the party on Saturday, so it was more about seeing if I could get something done. As well as a chance to finally get carving! :wink:
So being under some time pressure I decided to just try it with Easel.

I also noticed that with the cut depth and feed speed I was using, as it would clear out a pocket area the very thin remaining parts of MDF would “chip” out. Fortunately this was only happening on areas that were to be removed anyway. But the “chipping” made an even more noticeable cut line texture. I am assuming doing a rough cut first and better tuned cut parameters will help. Probably reduce my cut time as well. :smile:

A dust shoe is next on the must have list. Though I will probably have to make do with my old shop vac for a while.

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Nicely done! That was almost exactly my choice of phrase when I ran my first cuts with it, I called it a “chip generator.”

Works awesome though, doesn’t it? :smiley:

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Check this out. Zero Dust. A bit pricey but worth it. Dewalt DWP611 Dust Shoe

I got my Harbor Freight 2hp dust collector assembled and installed ($170 with with coupon, thanks @AlanDavis) . It really tames the sawdust machine!

If anyone else gets one trust me when I say step one in the assembly is to throw away what they generously label as the “instruction manual” It is not just vague, or difficult to understand it is outright malicious. It tells you to use bolts you don’t have to put nuts on bolts that don’t need them and to assembly most of the machine in the worst possible order.

But once you throw away the manual and think about what the parts all do, then put it together in a way that makes sense it is not very difficult.

I measured the dust collector at about 90 db standing right next to it which is about 20db quieter than my shop vac was.

The collector has 4 inch ports, but I did not have any 4 inch hose and HF was all out of the hose kits, so I went to Hone Depot and Lowes looking for a 2.5 inch to 4 inch adapter. No luck. I could find them online but it would take too long to get them. So I made one out of .75 inch MDF and it works great

It slides right over the 4 inch port and then the 2.5 inch hose fits snugly in the inside hole.


nice @AllenMassey. You’ve certainly hit on one of the big advantages of getting into this CNC world…make the freaking part yourself!! I really just want a 3D printer so that I can prove that I can make something and then immediately cut it down, in reverse. :smile:

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