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Thread: Can I cut 3 1/2" stock with my DesktopMax?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Pacific NW
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    86

    Default Can I cut 3 1/2" stock with my DesktopMax?

    Hi, I understand that the max Z height is 5.5 inches. Is there a chance I can cut 3 1/2 inch stock? Say from the aluminum bed surface? (I realize a spoil board would change the math).

    I was hoping to cut tapered table legs (29 inches long) for a dining table build. I was thinking of a 6 inch overall length 1/4 inch shank end mill placed in the collet would do the trick (found a bit on Amazon), but I'm not sure about how thick a stock/piece of wood the DesktopMax can actually cut.

    Thanks for any input.
    ShopBot Desktop MAX, spindle, 3" Indexer, Aspire 9.5, and a big learning curve...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    River Fall WI
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    771

    Default

    I would say you could not cut all the way through the leg, that said if it is a really complex taper (straight/simple you should us a table saw or bandsaw) and you really wanted to use a cnc you could cut part way through and use a pattern-making bit on your router.
    Kyle Stapleton
    River Falls Renaissance Academy
    Math/Technology Education Teacher


    PRS Alpha 96x60 2.2 hp spindle, Double Air drills, 6" indexer, Fein 5 zone vac table
    Desktop w/spindle
    Potter Pen
    Aspire 8.5, Creo 3.0

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Piedmont, SD
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    694

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    1> Would help if you posted an image of the desired leg shape so we can give you more qualified advice, but if it's straight taper, you'll be far ahead utilizing a different machine in your shop, as Kyle stated. Most often, I simply go to the jointer and have the tapers done, clean and ready for cursory sanding in a few moments per leg.
    2> 1/4" x 6" bit is truly scary. I quit using 1/4" for anything over 1" thick solid lumber milling quite a while ago, as results are just not very good. And I'm talking about 3" long bits. The flexing of a 6" just sounds like a disaster. I know, somebody made that bit, so it must work, right? Certainly, if you're cutting 2" styrofoam, but it just no match for solid lumber. A 3/8" is much better, but anymore, I'm reaching for 1/2" diameter up-cut bit for this type of work. ( 2.2hp spindle on a PRS Alpha). Results are much, much smoother, far less chatter/tear out, and fewer passes. Chips can easily build and jam into a 1/4" x 2" deep kerf. At 3 1/2", you run the risk of breaking a bit that diameter and length with the flexing, constant contact with 3.5" lumber as it progresses deeper, and the inevitable packing of chips in the kerf. I cringe to think of the amount of chattering you'll get, if you do make it through without breakage.

    In closing, see point #1

    Jeff

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Pacific NW
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    Default

    Tapered Leg.jpg
    Thanks for all input. If the image uploads correctly, it is a leg with a taper on each inside edge. I was hoping to 1) avoid the ragged edge left with a band saw (and I will need to build a jig) and 2) the CNC is more accurate than my 'handwork'. The taper is ~ only 3 degrees part way up the leg. But since it is not part of any joinery (only there to slim the look of an otherwise chunky leg), then critical measurements are a desire, not a need. So I guess I will probably not use the CNC and stick with the band saw. I'm not sure the template way would help here, as there are two tapers on each leg on an adjacent edge which was to be accomplished on the band saw by rotating the leg 1/4 turn. All input has helped me think this through a bit (it's my first dining table build), so is appreciated.

    I would still like to know the rough limits of how thick a stock can be reasonably be cut on the Desktop MAX.
    ShopBot Desktop MAX, spindle, 3" Indexer, Aspire 9.5, and a big learning curve...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    510

    Default

    I think you could technically fit it under the Max, you're going to run unto two issues:

    Finding a bit with that long of a reach. I THINK I've seen a straight cut bit from Onsurd that could do it.

    Fighting with the Safe Z height and Zero settings. SB3 really likes to bring the Z up without regard for where knowing the "top" of Z is. You can tune this out with a combination of settings between Aspire and SB3, but definitely test with some air cuts first. I've been bitten by the Z hitting the top with close quarters cuts like that.

    PS how are you getting that SketchUp model into Aspire/VCarve?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    gleason, wi 54435
    Posts
    442

    Default

    looks to me like you only need 1.25 inches cut length. put the blank on the table and mill the top with a fluting program to achieve the taper. Bob

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Kennebunkport, Maine
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    4,210

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    I think Bob has the best way to check out Carolina with the Fluting suggestion.....Possibly even check the Moulding Toolpath(?), but I have little experience with that.
    Scott P.
    2013 Desktop/spindle/VCP 10
    Maine

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    86

    Default

    Hi Eric,
    re SketchUp and Aspire, 1) do your Job Setup 2) click Import Vectors 3) click on desired Sketchup file on your computer ( .skp) and open it. You should see similar to the photo I uploaded here
    4) click on the desired boxes (or leave alone, I usually just open up what has already been checked as in the photo. 5) click ok. Then I just move the pieces I want to profile onto my job space.
    Hope that helps.sketchup file example.jpg

    I was thrilled to find this capability out, and I have used it to cut curved parts out for some furniture builds that have SketchUp files. Way more accurate for me and quicker than a band saw or router and template.
    Last edited by carolinasmith; 02-20-2020 at 11:08 PM.
    ShopBot Desktop MAX, spindle, 3" Indexer, Aspire 9.5, and a big learning curve...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Pacific NW
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    Default

    Thanks All for your thoughts. I think I will stick with the band saw and jig since I have no experience yet with the fluting tool path (I did look at the video on it) and I didn't grasp how I might do a taper/slope/angle with it. Sounds like a good thing to learn in the future...

    If there were only one taper per leg, then I could easily see doing each 1.75 thick piece and gluing two together, but there are two tapers per leg off of an adjacent side, so for my current skill set, that means the band saw and a jig, I think.
    ShopBot Desktop MAX, spindle, 3" Indexer, Aspire 9.5, and a big learning curve...

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