CNC router tools and bits

CNC Router Tools & Bits Buy Guide

In the world of CNC routing, the choice of tools and bits is crucial for achieving precision and efficiency. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about selecting the best CNC router tools and bits for your projects. From understanding the different types of bits to knowing what to look for when purchasing, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions.

CNC Router Tools & Bits

CNC router tools and bits are the cutting components used in CNC routers to shape and carve materials. These tools come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, each designed for specific applications. The right selection of tools and bits can significantly impact the quality and efficiency of your work.

Types of CNC Router Bits

  • End Mills:
    • Flat End Mills: Used for cutting flat surfaces and pockets.
    • Ball Nose End Mills: Used for 3D contouring and carving, as they produce a rounded edge.
    • Bull Nose End Mills: Similar to flat end mills but with a rounded corner, useful for producing rounded edges on flat surfaces.
  • V-Bits:
    • Ideal for engraving, chamfering, and V-grooving. They come in various angles, typically 60 and 90 degrees.
  • Straight Flute Bits:
    • Used for cutting straight lines with minimal fraying. Ideal for woodworking.
  • Spiral Flute Bits:
    • Up-Cut Spiral Bits: Pull chips upward, providing a clean bottom edge. Ideal for deep cuts.
    • Down-Cut Spiral Bits: Push chips downward, providing a clean top edge. Ideal for thin materials.
    • Compression Bits: Combine both up-cut and down-cut flutes, providing clean edges on both sides of the material.
  • Specialty Bits:
    • Engraving Bits: Designed for detailed engraving work.
    • Corner Rounding Bits: For rounding edges and corners.
    • Surfacing Bits: For flattening large surfaces and spoilboards.

Factors to Consider When Buying CNC Router Tools and Bits


The material of the bit is a critical factor to consider. Common materials include:

  • High-Speed Steel (HSS): Suitable for cutting soft materials like wood and plastic.
  • Carbide: More durable and suitable for cutting hard materials like metal and composite materials.
  • Diamond-Coated: Ideal for cutting abrasive materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber.


Coatings can enhance the performance and longevity of the bits. Common coatings include:

  • Titanium Nitride (TiN): Increases hardness and reduces friction.
  • Titanium Carbonitride (TiCN): Offers better wear resistance than TiN.
  • Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC): Provides excellent wear resistance and reduces heat buildup.

Flute Design

The flute design affects the cutting performance and chip removal. Common flute designs include:

  • Single Flute: Ideal for cutting soft materials and ensuring efficient chip removal.
  • Double Flute: Provides a balance between cutting speed and finish quality.
  • Multi-Flute: Suitable for cutting hard materials and achieving a smooth finish.

Shank Size

The shank size should match the collet size of your CNC router. Common shank sizes include 1/8″, 1/4″, and 1/2″. Ensure that the shank size is compatible with your machine to avoid issues during operation.

Cutting Diameter

The cutting diameter determines the width of the cut. Choose a diameter that matches the requirements of your project. Smaller diameters are suitable for detailed work, while larger diameters are ideal for bulk material removal.

Maintenance and Care

  1. Cleaning:
    • Regularly clean bits to remove resin and debris buildup using a bit cleaner or solvent.
  2. Sharpening:
    • Sharpen bits as needed to maintain cutting efficiency. Some carbide bits can be professionally sharpened.
  3. Proper Storage:
    • Store bits in a dedicated holder or case to protect them from damage and keep them organized.

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