Sounds like hyperbole, I know, but it’s a very straightforward and somewhat conservative list. If you haven’t tried G-Wizard, I’d expect you to be skeptical. If you have tried it, and even better, if you own it, you may spot some tricks in the list you’re not taking advantage of.
But in general, you likely regard it as a very powerful tool that’s easy to use.
Feeds and Speeds are one of the Hardest Topics for CNC’ers to Master
Some time ago we asked our readership what were the hardest things in CNC to master. Here’s what they said:
As you can see, Feeds and Speeds ranked the #1 hardest thing to learn by a wide margin. The thing I think about when I read over the list of problems G-WIzard can solve for you is that Feeds and Speeds requires knowledge about a LOT of different sub-topics. All that stuff works together.
With that in mind, it isn’t hard to see that Feeds and Speeds should be the hardest topic to learn. If you want to learn it all, we are here to help. As some of the world’s foremost experts on Feeds and Speeds, we’re in a good position to help. I highly recommend our Master Class on Feeds and Speeds if you want to become an expert.
The Master Class consists of 19 lessons delivered once a week on Fridays via email. Each one takes 15 or 20 minutes to go through.
Or, you could just pick up a copy of G-Wizard Calculator. It knows pretty much every topic covered in the Master Class inside and out, and it will guide you through finding the very best Feeds and Speeds for your CNC projects without your having to have all that specialized knowledge.
Let’s dig into that list of problems G-Wizard will solve for you:
56 Problems G-Wizard Calculator Will Solve
1 ** Which tool to use
First, note the double asterisk (**). That indicates that G-Wizard is the only Feeds and Speed Calculator that can solve this particular problem.
Deciding which tool to use is a problem that comes along right up front. It can seem obvious, until you start getting into all the special cases:
- Do I need to spot drill that hold or not?
- Should I use a form tap or a cutting tap?
- Do I need parabolic flutes on my twist drill?
- Should I be using a serrated roughing end mill?
- Would I be better off cutting this wood with a downcut spiral end mill? (It can help avoid splintering)
And on and on. G-Wizard’s CADCAM Wizard feature will suggest appropriate tooling for you. You can even set it up to choose from a list of the tools you actually have on hand.
2 Adjust for Cut Depth
Most tooling catalogs give you Feeds and Speeds tables. Why aren’t these good enough? After all, nobody knows more about the tool than its manufacturer, right?
Well, they do know quite a lot, but tooling catalogs are a lousy form of communication. So lousy, that they don’t give a straight answer on your Feeds and Speeds. Rather, they give ranges of spindle rpms and chiploads. They may give a few guidelines for how to judge where you cut falls within the range, but most of it is left up to the reader to figure out on their own devices.
Now take G-Wizard, on the other hand. It always gives you a specific feedrate and spindle speed. No more ranges, no more guessing. And it is quite good at adjusting for various Cut Depths and Cut Widths.
3 Adjust for Cut Width
See #2, Adjust for Cut Depth. It’s the same with Cut Width.
4 ** Find optimal combination of Cut Depth and Cut Width to maximize MRR and minimize cycle time
This is straight up magic, and G-Wizard is nearly the only product on the market I’ve ever seen that does it well. SolidCam’s iMachining is the only other. If you don’t have SolidCAM and you’re expecting your existing CAM software to do this job for you, I’ve got bad news. Our annual CAM surveys consistently show that CAM does a lousy job with Feeds and Speeds.
We surveyed our customers to see what benefits they were getting from G-Wizard Calculator and were shocked by their feedback. They said they got:
- 56% longer tool life.
- 46% faster cutting speeds with commensurately shorter cycle times.
- And they saved 94% of the time they had been spending calculating feeds and speeds.
It’s no wonder we have so many happy customers. A lot of those gains trace directly back to this particular optimization feature, which no other Feeds and Speeds Calculator has.
I do want to mention how this magic trick of optimizing the cut works. G-Wizard employs proprietary AI machine learning algorithms to figure out this thorny problem.
This video describes the process:
5 ** Eliminates Tool Rubbing
Tool Rubbing is one of those everyday hazards that you can run across without even realizing that it’s eating your tools!
Simply put, rubbing occurs when you feed a tool too slowly. This results in the tool shaving too shallow of a chip. When that happens, the tool rubs along gouging out the material instead of cleanly slicing it off. The result is a lot of friction, which translates to heat, which can dull your tool quickly.
G-Wizard understands the geometry of tool rubbing, calculates when the onset can start, and gives a straight-up warning when it is a risk. Our Tortoise Hare slider is calibrated so that “Full-Tortoise” is as slow as you can go without rubbing.
The end result is you just don’t have to worry about Tool Rubbing–G-Wizard has your back.
6 Compensates for Chip Thinning
Chip Thinning is one of several geometric effects that G-Wizard automatically compensates for.
Chip Thinning works like this:
Note the blue versus the red chip. When you make shallow cuts, the chip is much thinner than for deep cuts. This difference is very important, but the “simple” feeds and speeds formulas don’t figure it in at all. G-Wizard does, and it makes sure you’re getting the real chip thickness that calculations call for, even on shallow cuts.
7 ** Includes both Roughing and Finishing Passes
I’ll bet you take a roughing and a finishing pass (sometimes called a spring pass) most of the time when CNC’ing. The benefits for accuracy and surface finish are well worth the extra fussing around. G-Wizard will automatically compute both a roughing and a finishing pass if you’re using CADCAM Wizards.
If you want to use the Tortoise-Hare slider, it will manage the tradeoff in chipload versus rpms to be better for finishing or for roughing, depending on how far left (finishing) or right (roughing) you are.
8 ** Plans entry method for CAM Toolpath: Plunge, Ramp, Helix
Most CAM Toolpaths require an entry method to get the tool down to its final cutting depth for a pass. There are 3 common methods:
- Plunge: Just plunge the tool vertically to the desired depth
- Ramp: Ramp the tool down gradually
- Helix: Move the tool down while making a helical motion.
G-Wizard understands all this. It will recommend an entry method, and it will compute the proper feeds and speeds you should use while making that entry.
9 ** Will recommend coolant or mist as needed by material
I first became aware of this problem when I started working with the CNC Router crowd. Most of them are not equipped with either flood or mist coolant. This resulted in a lot of issues when they started cutting aluminum.
You see, aluminum wants to weld itself to your cutting tool. Its chips have an actual chemical affinity for the material your cutting tool is made out of. If it does successfully weld itself on, you’ve got a mess and likely a broken tool and a destroyed workpiece.
So, G-Wizard warns you that you really need to look into some kind of lubricant, at the least, a mister.
10 Automatically scales back if you exceed your machine’s HP limits
This happens all the time, especially on hobby-class machines that start out horsepower limited.
G-Wizard won’t just tell you the cut you’re attempting exceeds horsepower limits. It will actually scale back the feeds and speeds to fit within your machine’s horsepower limits.
11 Can adjust to a spindle’s power curve
In fact, G-WIzard will use your machine’s spindle power curve to determine the horsepower limit at the rpms being contemplated for the cut. Plus, CADCAM Wizards can adjust feeds and speeds to take advantage of a place on the curve that has more power if that helps the Material Removal Rate.
12 ** Automatically scales back if you exceed your machine’s rigidity limits
Smaller, hobby-class machines often have rigidity that is far less than industrial-class machines. G-Wizard is capable of adjusting feeds and speeds so that cutting forces stay within the rigidity limits of your machine. This can greatly increase accuracy, increase tool life, and general save a lot of wear on tear on lighter weight machines.
13 Automatically scales back if you exceed your machine’s maximum feedrate
CNC Machines all have a maximum feedrate that you cannot exceed. G-Wizard will scale back the feedrate to keep within those limits.
14 ** Adjusts for Material Alloy and Condition
Most Feeds and Speeds Calculators will have a database of Materials. The difference is in size and scope. G-Wizard’s database covers 1232 materials. It has hundreds of wood species as well as a great may different metal alloys and conditions for those alloys (e.g. hardened, annealed, and so on). We regularly add new materials when users request them.
G-Wizard has the most complete database of materials of any Feeds and Speeds Calculator I have seen.
15 ** Can calculate a chamfer pass
Our CADCAM Wizards can automatically figure all the parameters (Cut Depth, Feeds & Speeds, etc.) needed to run a Chamfer Pass. These passes are very commonly used in CNC, so automatically figuring out all the details can be a real time saver.
16 ** Automatically compensates for Tool Deflection where possible
Tool Deflection is one of the great hidden hazards of CNC. It is relatively easy to cause a tool to deflect too far, where too far is the amount needed to trigger excessive tool wear, chatter, and poor surface finish. Until recently, machinists had no good way to even determine how much tool deflection they were getting.
Now, only G-Wizard provides automatic optimization of cut parameters to eliminate tool deflection as a thread. CADCAM Wizards will automatically minimize tool deflection by tweaking Cut Depth, Cut Width, and Stickout. The Feeds and Speeds Calculator offers a variety of “speedometer” icons that will tweak the value they’re next to until Tool Deflection falls within allowable limits.
There are Speedo icons provided for Cut Depth, Cut Width, Stickout, and the Tortoise-Hare slider, so you have total flexibility when attacking tool deflection.
17 ** Will recommend tool stickout and can warn of excessive stickout
I’ll bet that unless you’ve read some of our articles on Stickout (the distance from tool tip to bottom of tool holder), you’ve never thought much about it. The reality is that stickout is important because of its impact on tool deflection. The more stickout, the greater the likelihood of excessive tool deflection.
In fact, so few people worry about this important parameter that I was able to put together a bunch of bloopers where famous YouTube CNC experts were running way too much stickout.
CADCAM Wizard will recommend the ideal stickout for any cut you program into it. Feeds and Speeds Calculator has a Speedo button that will optimize the maximum stickout that keeps tool deflection under control.
18 ** Handles 9 different tool coatings
Tool Coatings can radically affect the performance of your cutting tool. Thankfully, not only can you specify 9 different tool coatings, including PCD diamond, but G-Wizard will also give its choice of the ultimate coating for the material you’ve selected to work on.
19 Handles 11 Endmill Flavors
G-Wizard has built in an unprecedented number of tools that it supports–more, by far, than any other Feeds and Speeds Calculator. The Tool Type is selected from the Tool Menu by first selecting the overall type and then selecting a Tip Shape.
G-Wizard includes support for the following end mill Tip Shapes:
- Serrated Rougher (also known as “Corncob” Roughers)
- Ballnose End Mills
- Lollip End Mills (for undercuts)
- Chamfers and Countersinks
- Corner Rounders
- Router Downcut End Mills
- Router Compression End Mills
- Router Straight Flute End Mills
If there’s a tool type we’ve missed, let me know and I’ll see about adding it.
20 11 Indexable End or Face Mills
We give you all of the same Tip Shapes for Index End or Face Mills.
21 2 Twist Drills
We provide both Normal and Parabolic Flute Twist Drills, as well as providing for HSS, Cobalt, and Carbide tool material.
22 ** Indexable drills, Spot Drills, Center Drills, Spade Drills, and Gun Drills
We cover Indexable Drills, Spot Drills, Center Drills, Spade Drills, and Gun Drills.
We cover reamers.
24 Form and Cutting Taps
We cover Form and Cutting Thread Taps.
25 1 Thread Mill
We cover Thread Mills
26 2 Boring Bars
We cover Boring Bars for lathes and those used on mills in Boring Heads.
27 ** 1 Saw/Woodruff Cutter
We cover slitting saws and Woodruff Cutters.
28 ** We Will tell you when cut depth is too deep for a slitting saw
Yup, based on proven formulas, G-Wizard will tell you how deep a cut you can make with your saws.
29 ** Annular Cutter (Rotabroach)
We cover Annular Cutters, also called by their brand name “Rotabroaches.”
30 ** 5 Turning Tools
We cover the 5 most common kinds of Turning or Lathe Tools including:
- OD Turning
- Boring Bar for ID Turning
- Parting Off Tools
- Single-Point Threading
- Grooving Tools
31 Can adjust feeds and speeds for Helical and Circular Holes and Bosses
G-Wizard has special “Mini-Calcs” that optimize Feeds and Speeds for Helical Interpolation of Circular Holes and Bosses.
32 ** Can adjust feeds and speeds for ramping
G-Wizard has a special “Mini-Calc” that optimizes Feeds and Speeds when Ramping.
33 ** Can adjust feedrate to minimize vacuum pop-off
Among several other features especially designed for CNC Routers, G-Wizard has a Vacuum Pop-off Calculator.
The problem that often comes up when using a vacuum table or vacuum fixtures is that if too much cutting force is used, smaller parts can be popped loose. This generally ruins them, so it is a problem worth solving. G-Wizard will limit the feeds and speeds to keep those cutting forces below the threshold that will pop parts off.
34 Can compensate for HSM and Trochoidal Tool Paths
It’s hard to be competitive these days unless you’re using these constant tool engagement style tool paths. But, feeds and speeds are hard to calculate. Nobody has specified any formulas for it. Until now. G-Wizard has proprietary algorithms that work great to produce Feeds and Speeds for these tool paths.
35 ** Can adjust for Through Spindle, High Pressure, and Programmable Coolant Nozzles
Premium Coolant options can make a huge difference to your feeds and speeds, yet, as far as I know, only G-Wizard factors it in. You paid a small fortune to add these options to your CNC Machine, so you should have a Feeds and Speeds Calculator that can take advantage of them.
36 ** Cheat Sheet will recommend which parameters to change to achieve desired outcome
This one is particularly useful to beginners, but can help experts organize their thoughts too. The idea is you look up in the cheat sheet what you’re trying to accomplish and it tells you which parameters to tweak.
THe cheat sheet looks like this:
So, for example, we can see that a number of choices are listed under how to achieve Shorter Cycle Times.
37 ** Will tell you whether to use Climb Milling or Conventional Milling
This is one very few CNC’ers know or understand. The average CNC always Climb Cuts, and the average manual machinist will always use a Conventional Cut. But there are times when it is more optimal to Conventional Cut or Climb Cut, and G-Wizard will tell you which one is best every time.
38 ** Will warn if your spindle’s min rpm is too high for the cut, and will suggest how to work around the problem.
This is most often a problem for CNC Routers and other machines that have very high speed spindles. Often the minimum rpm you can run these spindles at is quite high. Whether its due to trying to cut harder materials or to using larger diameter tooling, you may discover your spindle won’t go slowly enough. G-Wizard will recommend a workaround and it will warn you of the problem.
39 ** Will tell you when you need a peck cycle or parabolic drill based on hole depth for twist drills
When drilling deeper holes, there are many tricks of the trade. One of them is to use a parabolic flute drill. Another is to use a peck cycle. G-Wizard will tell you if either is recommended.
40 ** Will tell you the best twist drill point angle for your material
Different materials may have different optimum point angles for twist drills. G-Wizard will keep you on top of this valuable information.
41 ** Will tell you if the material is not compatible with PCD tooling
Some materials are not compatible with diamond coatings. Iron will dissolve the diamond, for example. G-Wizard watches for these cases and proactively warns you to avoid them.
42 ** Will tell you when you should drill a pilot hole
Not every hold needs a pilot. G-Wizard knows which ones do and which ones don’t and will tell you.
43 ** Will tell you when material is too hard to form tap
Form Tapping has many advantages over Cut Tapping, but it fails if the material is too hard to be formed.
Guess what? G-Wizard will tell you if that’s the case.
44 ** Will recommend a peck depth
Yes, G-Wizard will recommend a peck depth when it suggests peck drilling.
45 ** Will tell the best drill size for a reamer
Drill size is something to be mindful of when using a reamer. G-Wizard will tell you straight up what the right drill size is for your choice of reamer.
46 ** Will warn when you should’nt use the centerline of your cutter
There are various issues associated with cutting right down the centerline with a cutter. G-Wizard will try to keep you from doing that.
47 ** Will warn to use less than 4 flutes in non-ferrous metals
It may seem like second nature to the Pros, but beginners are often unaware that you can’t use end mills with more than 3 flutes in non-ferrous metals. So G-Wizard warns them.
48 ** Will compensate for effective diameter on ball noses and such.
If you use a ballnose cutter at a Cut Depth of less than the radius of the ball, it behaves like a cutter with a smaller diameter. G-Wizard will automatically compensate for that.
49 ** Will compute Feeds & Speeds for Plunge Roughing
Plunge Roughing is magic for lighter weight machines because they are much stiffer in the Z direction than in X or Y. Hence plunge roughing forces all the cutting forces to be in the Z direction right where your smaller machine is most rigid. Just one problem to solve, Feeds & Speeds, and G-Wizard will take care of that handily.
50 Includes Tool Inventory management features
G-Wizard has built-in a powerful set of Tool Inventory Management features. Using them will enable you to track exactly where every tool is in your shop.
51 ** Will manage your ToDo list for you using Pomodoro time management
It is so handy to be able to access my ToDo list on G-Wizard, and the Pomodoro Time Management technique makes me super productive with my time.
52 ** Includes a full range of Geometry Calculators
Machinists are constantly called on to solve various kinds of geometry problems, it seems. These handy calculators simplify and speed up the process of solving most geometry-related problems facing machinists. Here is the list of Geometry Calculators that are builtin to G-Wizard:
- Right Triangle
- Oblique Triangle
- Bolt Circles
- Dovetails: Measurement with pins
- Tapers: Includes a list of standard tapers you can plug in
- Chamfer/Drill: With special calculators for center drill, spot drill, twist drill, and countersink
- Circle Chords
- GD&T True Position
- Distance Between Points
- Polar / Rectangular Coordinate Conversion
- Turner’s Cube Dimensions: Fun one!
- Fits and Tolerances: Sliding Fits, Press Fits, and all the rest.
- Gage Block / Sine Bar: Tells which blocks from the set make up a given size. And for the sine bar, what is the length and gage bar stack up to make that length.
- Ball Gages: Calculate all sorts of interesting things when you drop a ball bearing into a hole.
53 ** Includes Full Featured Thread Calculations
By default, you get all manner of information about standard UNC, UNF, ISO, and NPT threads. If you purchase our inexpensive Thread Calculator module, you get a plethora of additional thread families plus all sorts of additional features.
54 ** Includes Many Quick Reference Resources for Machinist
Machinists need access to a variety of Reference Materials. Included with G-Wizard are the following:
- Drill Chart showing all the standard sizes of Twist Drills and End Mills.
- Fasteners Chart with data on Socket Head Cap Screws, 82 Degree Flat Head Cap Screws, 100 Degree Flat Head Cap Screws, and Metric Flat Head Cap Screws.
- Weights and Volumes for all standard sizes of structural steel. You can choose the material as well as add cost information to calculate price quotes.
- Thermal Expansion Calculator
- Electrical Page with Ohms Law Calculator and Resistor Color Codes chart.
- Servo and Stepper Motor Sizing Calculations for DIY CNC’ers.
- G and M-Codes
- Hardness Calculator with conversions between all standard hardness measures.
- Tool Rigidity Calculator
- Chatter Calculator: Can you tell you what spindle rpms will minimize the chatter.
- GD&T symbol reference
- Notebook so you can add web pages to your reference materials
This was one of those times where I just blasted through the article non-stop until I was finished. Man, my fingers are sure sore!
But I’ve lived this story for the last 10 years. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with G-Wizard. I wouldn’t want to be CNC’ing without it, and there are over 24,000 paying customers for the product.
It’s not done by any means. I am always adding some tweak or the other to it, usually based on customer feedback. If you haven’t already, I hope you’re try our free trial. You won’t be sorry!
Get Better Feeds and Speeds.
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Bob is responsible for the development and implementation of the popular G-Wizard CNC Software. Bob is also the founder of CNCCookbook, the largest CNC-related blog on the Internet.