Knowing the Difference between Fishtail, Ballnose and V-Carve Mills

Milling cutters

If you’re preparing to use your CNC machine for some milling projects, the first thing you need to do is buy some good cutting tools. To start out with, you will need a set of reliable cutters for a reasonable price. If you are a newcomer to milling, it’s best to start out with end mills made from high speed steel (HSS) to begin with, as they are less costly and more forgiving. You will also need to know the difference between different types of end mill, for example, fish tail, ball nose and V-carve mills.

Fishtail End Mills

A fishtail end mill has a flat end, so it will produce a flat surface with a clean edge on thin materials. You can also use it to make pockets with flat bottoms.

Ballnose End Mills

A ballnose end mill has a round tip and will produce a path with curved edges. Ballnose end mills are often used for 3D contouring because if you’re cutting layers in several steps, they will reduce the risk of creating jagged steps. You can also increase the step over amount and use a ballnose end mill to cut a wide path with curved edges.

V-carved End Mills

V-carved end mills, sometimes called engraving bits or v-bits have a short pointed end and are used to produce v-shaped paths with a sharp bottom. These are commonly used for detailed sign making and are available in many angles and sizes. The most frequently used angels are 30, 60 and 90 degrees.

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