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CNC Wood Routers Basic Tips

When using CNC wood routers, there are a few things you need to know in order to get a great end product, minimise waste and care for your tools.

CNC wood routers

If you’re at all unsure about which bits and mills to use for your application, speak to us at Stoney CNC and we will use our expertise to help you choose the best tools.

Choose the right tool for the job

Bits and mills are the bread and butter of CNC wood routers, so if you’re using them for woodworking it’s important to know the difference; to the untrained eye they can look very similar but they do very different jobs. A bit is designed to bore or drill into the wood, creating a vertical hole. Mills are used for horizontal carving and cutting. Using the correct tool for the application is essential for getting the right cut.


When choosing bits and mills, it’s important to select high-quality materials. This ensures that your tools will last a long time and produce good clean cuts in the wood, giving you a much better finished product. Carbide is a popular choice as it is hard wearing and produces quality cuts, though depending on your application you may want to consider other materials as well.


Bits come in a wide range of sizes for different applications. Small bits cannot cut very deep and have a tendency to break if used to drill larger holes. Selecting the right size is key to ensuring not only a quality end product but also to keeping your tools in good condition. Using them incorrectly, as with most things, will shorten their useful life. Choose one with two flutes for most applications, as this will remove waste material getting it out of the way and keeping the temperature down.


Mills come in three basic types: Downcut, upcut and compression. At its most basic, use a downcut mill if you want a smooth top cut, as it pushes the removed material downward. This is most often used for applications like making hardwood furniture.

An upcut mill pulls waste up and out, ensuring a smooth bottom cut. This is most often used for general purposes for removing a lot of material at once, and also for sculpting in 3D.

A compression mill gives both top and bottom cuts a smooth finish, as the flutes run in both directions at different points along the tool. This type of mill is perfect for thin plywood or other pre-laminated woods.

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