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Carbide (micro) endmills for inlay work. Cheap vs expensive.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rôckhewer, Dec 22, 2017.


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  1. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    So I completely understand the get what you pay for concept.
    And anybody shopping for small carbide end mills has seen the 10 for $5 sets on eBay from Hong Kong Etc... Vs the 1 for $20 bits for sale domestically.

    I'm specifically referring to the small sizes for fine detail and sharp corner clean up such as .8 mm or .03" (or smaller) size with the little plastic depth stop.
    As I get more into CNC inlay cutting I know I'm going to be snapping quite a few of these little suckers until I nail down optimal speed and feed rates. (Peviously done by hand or via laser)

    I understand that there are different grades of carbide... but for these tiny bits...
    Are the expensive bits really that much better?
    Or are they just highly marked up versions of similar products made overseas anyway?
     
  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Rock, I really think you should buy both.

    Advice is great, but seeing is believing.
     
    Rôckhewer likes this.
  3. Rôckhewer

    Rôckhewer Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Owner/Builder- RockHewer Custom Guitars LLC
    Well I have some nice ones...some really good 3 flute carbide from a place called "Think&Tinker" ...but now I need more... and dropping $100+ on just a few bits...(that I just know I am going to snap most of) :banghead: ...just doesn't sound very fun...:confused:
     
  4. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    normally what you get from ebay pac-rim econo tools is often barely even C2 carbide and often has questionable geometry regarding rake and clearance angles. i've seen some of these guys with the face clearance angle actually backwards. coating wise who knows?

    if you go domestic like Fullerton, SGS, Micro100, Harvey and/or an ISO registered (or equiv) vendor your geometry is correct, your coating choices are advanced and numerous, and the tools will just last longer provided your toolpaths/feed/rpm are good and your machine is rigid enough and your spindle it solid with minimal runout.

    but if you're kinda new to cnc micromilling i'd suggest you roll the dice and practice with the cheapies to nail down your feeds and speeds and machining strategies then upgrade to better tools.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
    pcake, Rôckhewer and charlie monroe like this.
  5. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    My brother is a master tool and die maker. He tells me that you should ensure that tooling cost is covered in your bid.
    We work in the same building, I am in Operations, but I know enough to be dangerous. I don't think My bro or I could add anything to what @Arie X has said above.
     
    Rôckhewer likes this.

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