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Getting the best possible results from your CNC machine covers a lot of ground. To begin with, there are several different goals we might be trying to optimize for:

- Best Material Removal Rates

- Maximizing Tool Life

- Good surface finish

You'll need to decide what your priorities are among these three, as different techniques emphasize each goal and you can't necessarily get great surface finish, maximum material removal rates, and the best tool life all at once.

In this series of articles, we'll go through some CNC Cookbook recipes that help you optimize for your goals, whatever they may be.

pocket milling


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Table of Contents

Here are the articles available for maximizing your CNC machining productivity.

signifies the most popular articles in each section if you want to skip ahead!

Basics Every Machinist Should Know

Basic Concepts for Beginners: You gotta start somewhere!

Chiploads, Surface Speed, and Other Concepts: Key concepts and terminology.

Calculating Feeds and Speeds: How do you calculate your feeds and speeds? (Hint: Use a state of the art Speeds and Feeds Calculator)

INFOGRAPHIC: Why you need a Feeds and Speeds Calculator

Toolroom vs Manufacturing Feeds and Speeds: Do you know the difference between toolroom and manufacturing feeds and speeds?

Coolant and Chip Clearing: Best practices for coolant and chip clearing on the mill.

What Now: My CNC Won't Go Slow Enough or Fast Enough? CNC Router and DIY users especially, check this one out. These are workarounds for cases when you can't get to the right feeds and speeds because your machine can't feed fast enough or turn the spindle slow enough. It's a blog post, not part of the tutorial, but it can really help.

Is Carbide Always Faster? If your machine's spindle won't go as fast as carbide can in softer materials, maybe HSS is the answer. Let's put together what we've learned so far and explore it further.



Turning Down the Heat in a Cut: Reducing heat prolongs tool life.

Dry Machining: Yes, you can machine without flood coolant. Often, it's even better.

Tool Deflection Control: Critical to Your Success: Are you in control of tool deflection, or is it something that just happens?

Cut Depth and Cut Width for Pocketing: How to choose these to maximize tool life and MRR's.

Climb Milling vs Conventional Milling: There are times when Conventional is better!

Toolpath Considerations: How is your CAM program treating your tooling?

Why Use a Single Flute Endmill? Another one for CNC Router users, though regular mill users may find it useful. This is a blog post, and not directly part of this series.

Ballnosed Tools and 3D Profiling: This is a great guest post to our blog on how to choose a stepover when 3D profiling.

How To Choose a Stepover: Thoughts on how to optimize your stepover when 3D profiling for best finish and shorter toolpaths.

Twist Drill Feeds and Speeds: Delving into the considerations for twist drill feeds and speeds.

V-Bits, Dovetails, and Other Exotic Cutters: Finding feeds and speeds for these less often used cutters.

Parabolic vs Standard Twist Drills: Deeper holes require different tool geometries.

INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Ways Geometry Affects Your Machining and What to Do About It


High Speed Machining: Tool Engagement Angle, Trochoidal Milling, Peeling, and all that Jazz.

Dealing With Chatter When Milling: Fixing Chatter via Rigidity or Tuning Speeds and Feeds.

Carbide vs HSS and Chatter for Small Mills

Micro-Machining: How to avoid breaking those tiny little cutters.

Advantages and Pitfalls of Rigid Tapping

Button Cutters, Copy Mills, Bullnoses, and Toroidal Cutters: Good discussion of these tools and their feeds and speeds. This is a blog post and not directly part of the Tutorial series.

Long Reach Tools, Thin Walls, and Other Rigidity Challenges

Milling Tough Materials

Using a Cutting Knowledge Base to Beat Manufacturer's Recommended Feeds and Speeds


CNCCookbook Blogs Posts Relating to Feeds and Speeds: Lots more in-depth information in bite-sized posts.

10 Tips for CNC Router Aluminum Cutting Success: Take these shortcuts and skip a lot of pain.

Tips for Getting the Best CNC Milling Surface Finish: And the truth about mirror finishes.

Feeds and Speeds for Fly Cutters and Manual Mills: Tips and tricks for using G-Wizard with Manual Mills

7 Software Excuses for Bad Surface Finishes: It isn't just about Feeds and Speeds.

Maximizing Material Removal Rates

Tips for Longer Tool Life

Recipes for Increasing Workholding Rigidity

Recipes for Toolholders and Tooling

CNC vs Manual Cutting Speeds: Why is CNC so much harder to figure out?


A Quick Video Course in Feeds and Speeds


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