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Top 5 end mill for your PrintNC and DIY CNC

I have compiled a top 5 list of end mills for the PrintNC and other cnc routers based on various reviews and experiences across forums such as and the PrintNC discord

#5 Solid carbide end mill 2 flute – Compression

end mill Milling Cutter Woodwork Up Down Cut 2 Flutes Spiral Carbide Milling Tool Cnc
Dreanique carbide compression end mill 2F 5$ – Aliexpress

What is a compression end mill?

A compression end mill has a up-cut flute geometry from the tip to usually about 1/3 of the cutter length at which point it converts into a down-cut flute. The advantage is that the end mill, when used properly, will give you a nice clean top and bottom finish on your work piece. Producing a chip-free surface that is perfect for cabinet and furniture parts.

Which materials can I cut with a compression end mill?

Compression cut spiral end mill bits are excellent for melamine, plywood, laminated wood, MDF and solid wood.

#4 Solid carbide end mill single flute – Up cut (general purpose)

end mill up cut Aaaaa Single Flute Spiral End Mill 3.175 Shank Spiral Aluminum Mill Cnc 3d E
Dreanique carbide up-cut / general purpose single flute end mill 2$ – Aliexpress

What is a Up-cut endmill?

Up cut end mills are great for all standard milling and material removal. These end mills for wood pull the wood chips up and away from the tool path which helps prevent tool breakage and extends the life of the bit. When you are looking for a general purpose end mill you will find an up cut end mill. This can be used for not only finish cutting but also as a roughing end mill. Also available in multiple flute counts such as a 4 flute end mill and more.

Which materials can I cut with a up cut end mill?

Up cut 2 flute end mills are the most common end mills you will find. This general purpose geometry is especially suited for:

  • Soft Metals (Aluminium, Copper & Brass)
  • Plastics (ABS, acrylic, HDPE etc)
  • Aluminium Composite Materials
  • Wood (although usually a down or compression cutter is more suitable)

#3 Solid carbide end mill 2 flute – down cut

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Dreanique carbide down cut end mill 2F 3$ – Aliexpress

What is a Downcut end mill?

Downcut end mills are made from solid carbide with a right hand cut, left hand spiral. This causes the end mill to pull the material down while cutting, preventing lifting. Downcut end mills will reduce fraying, splintering and chipping the top of your workpiece.

Which materials can I cut with a down cut end mill?

Down cut end mill bits are especially useful when routing material such as melamine and plywood. As it leaves a perfectly clean edges on the top face of the work piece.

#2 Solid carbide end mill 2 flute – ball nose

end mill Dreanique 1pc Carbide Ball Nose End Milling Cutter 2 Flutes R0.5 r4.0 End Mill R
Dreanique carbide ball nose end mill 2F 4$ – Aliexpress

What is a ball nose end mill?

Ball nose end mills also known as corner radius end mills, are used for milling contoured surfaces, slotting and pocketing. A ball end mill is constructed of a round cutting edge and used in the machining of dies and molds and other 3D structures. These are also available in taper end mill and micro end mill formats.

Which materials can I cut with a ball nose end mill?

Ball nose end mills can be used on materials such as:

  • Soft Metals (Aluminium, Copper & Brass)
  • Plastics (ABS, acrylic, HDPE etc)
  • Aluminium Composite Materials
  • Wood

It is primarily used for cnc’ing of smooth 3D structures and shapes.

#1 BAP300R

end mill BAP300R Bap 300r Tool Holder Right Angle Milling Cutter Cnc Boring Bar Carbide Milling C 1
BAP 300R surfacing / roughing square end mill 6$ – Aliexpress

What is a BAP300R?

The BAP300R is an index style facing / roughing cutter. It utilizes replaceable (commercial) inserts to cut materials. These inserts can come in various kind of materials and finishes. The most popular being the PCD (Polycrystalline Diamond) APKT1135 insert which allows mirror style finishes even with hobby machines such as the PrintNC

Which materials can I cut with the BAP300R?

The BAP300R is an index style milling cutter. Therefor with the correct insert you can cnc mill any material.

The PCD (Polycrystalline Diamond) APKT1135 insert in particular is aimed at aluminium milling.

2022 09 14 16 31 04 Apkt1604 diamond milling cutter insert APMT APKT 1135 PCD Aluminum alloy end mil
PCD (Polycrystalline Diamond) APKT1135 insert – Aliexpress 7$

Which end mills should I guy as a beginner?

Whether you just bought a Stepcraft D840 or build your PrintNC / IndyMill , my recommendations is to get the following end mills to get you started.

Make sure you get a sufficient amount as it is easy to break a few when you are just starting out…

Type of end millDescriptionQuantityLink
2 flute solid carbide up & down cut end mill
/ compression end mill (woodworking)
Sizes 4mm. 6mm, 8mm1-3 of each5$ – Aliexpress
2 flute solid carbide down cut end mill (woodworking)Sizes 4mm, 6mm, 8mm1-3 of each3$ – Aliexpress
1 flute solid carbide end mill – general purpose
(aluminium / plastics)
Sizes 4mm, 6mm, 8mm5-10 of each2$ – Aliexpress
2 flute chamfer end mill 90 degree – general purposeSize 4mm1-2 pcs4$ – Aliexpress
2 flute ball nose / ball end end mill – general purposeSize R0.5 , R2.01-3 of each3$ – Aliexpress
Table of recommendations for end mills for a starter cnc enthousiast

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Hi, My name Is spikee and I'm the Author of this post.
I have been active on various cnc communities over the past few years.

On this website I share tips&tricks, reviews and intresting resources relating to diy cnc and cnc router topics.

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