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Worried about max. practical depth of cut

Posted by AndrewG 
Worried about max. practical depth of cut
April 26, 2018 06:54AM
Hi - I am a furniture maker in the UK, mainly making chairs from a small workshop (we are talking UK small not US small!) and am interested in how I can apply the growth in affordable CNC to my small business. I think Handibot might be the gateway for me getting CNC flexibility into my small shop.

I use the Leigh FMT extensively for chair joints. With a 2.5HP 1/2" router and specific bit it cuts very quickly, but set up between joints is slower particularly when building a batch of one. The Handibot mounted with a vertical workholder and custom Fabmo app would cut all mortise and tenons ideally with a single 1/4" bit. However the smaller router seems to be an issue. Not the power but the router bits, I would need a depth of cut of at least 40mm (1 5/8") and 25mm (1") seems to be the normal max for 1/4" spiral cutters.

For other applications I can see that CNCing the profile in a 1/2" or so, then bandsawing out the part and using the CNCed edge against a bearing to flush rout to a full depth on a router table might be a good compromise (no templates). Even so not being able to cut a full 2" depth is a limitation...am I right?

Looking for the right first application (and some encouragement) before taking the plunge.


I will have to agree with you that the cutter length limitation is going to be an issue for what you're doing. I will occasionally cheat and let the shank of the bit pass into the cut I'm making (this of course only works with a 1/4" bit) ... but I'm never really comfortable with it.

You are not the first person to ask about using 1/2" bits--in fact, a few months ago, I built a handibot using the next size up DeWalt -- 2.25HP so that I could use a half inch bit. I've been using it around the shop so that I can evaluate how the extra weight affects cut quality and speed. So far I have been pleased--but I do not plan to make the change to our retail handibot in the near future.

Our smallest tool with a 1/2" collet would be the Desktop (24"x18") It has been recently redesigned in a way that would allow you to position the board vertically under the tool and remove the decking to complete the kind of cut you're talking about. The desktop has a router option that is much cheaper than the industrial spindle model.

Hi Brian,
Thanks for the clear information. Interested that both the desktop and desktop max now allow end milling. This is an option widely lacking from most small CNC routers available in the UK. Guess I will need to tot up how ruinous the shipping and tax will be to buy, it is a bigger step to take into CNC. Will be interested to hear the feedback from putting a 1/2" Dewalt beast into the little Handibot.

Meanwhile I will continue to watch the development of Handibot and think about the 'killer app' that will justify buying one. As an ex-manufacturing engineer I really admire what you are doing both with the product and how you think about the future of manufacturing, both your own and your customers'.

Best wishes
Thanks Andrew!

It's always good to get requests like this--when I'm working on a personal project it can be very tempting to take advantage of one of the larger tools we have in the shop here--but I always try to find some way to adapt the handibot to the job so that it might be as convenient as the large tools.

Here's what I'm up to with the larger router right now--it wasn't really needed for this application but it was a good opportunity to test the tool as part of the production process for an upcoming handibot accessory:

Re: Worried about max. practical depth of cut
August 18, 2018 04:12PM
i am working on this project for my dad.
Has anyone run into a problem with automated depths?
I've been having some problems with controlling the handibot cutting depth. I use Vcarve pro and when I submit a job and the handibot cuts it out multiple times it's depth varies. Sometimes it'll cut the same depth, other times it cuts too light, and way too deep.
I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. I haven't changed the depth on the Vcarve pro files, so I don't know why it's cutting the depth irregularly.

This is my first time using a CNC, so any advice would be really appreciated.

Thank you,
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