Advice on this maze

Hi. I’m trying to create a maze from a piece of pine. This is how it’s turning out:

[attachment file=34569]

My question is what is the best way to clean this up? I did a lot manually, but it’s still a bit messy. Should I slow down? Sharper bit? Different wood? It seems to be worse in two spots that correlate with the top left and bottom right. I’m guessing that has something to do with the grain of the wood as well as the rotation of the bit.

Plywood is not super milling friendly. Solid woods tend to come out much better.

To clean up what you already have If you just use an orbital sander it should take care of most of that quickly.

For the next one, use roughing passes to get it to depth but leave some material on the walls something like 1mm. Then do a full depth finishing pass that should leave the best finish. From there you will have to try conventional or climb milling to see what works best with your bit.

A downcut bit also helps a lot with keeping the top surface clean, because it cuts down instead of pulling up and ripping the surface, but if you cut all the way through would make the bottom look like that.

1 Like

A sanding block would get rid of the hairs pretty fast. A downcut bit would do wonders, just don’t plunge more than about 2mm with a downcut bit. IIRC, I have the plunge angle at 40 or so for EstlCAM on my downcut bit.

That’s plywood, right? Switching to a solid wood would help too.

Besides the plywood comments, which I agree with wholeheartedly, pine is very soft. It will give you furry edges. Try using poplar. It is one of the softest of hardwoods but will hold it’s edge far better than pine and wont break the bank. Bit size looks good for that project.

Thanks all. It is a pine board. It’s not plywood but it is spliced together so the advice is probably sound. I figured it was the wood since it’s a new bit and I’m cutting fairly slowly.

I’m going to try MDF and see what happens, only because I have some. I’m going to try and find some other boards. We have a specialty wood place nearby but I think that means $$$$. I don’t have a lot of woodworking experience so this is all new.

Oh wow, it looks like plywood.

In the future, use a thin scrap piece on the top of the maze and cut thru it to the primary lumber.

1 Like

I almost suggested that. @Fingerss, Have you tried that?

I’ll try that. I wonder if a piece of foam board would be enough to work. It may not be but I might try it anyway.

Using MDF I sanded it and it looks pretty good. It still failed in the end but I learned, so that’s good. I think I burned up my bit.

Maybe even some 1/8" hardboard.

I do it all the time. I work with a lot of exotics and the last thing I want is surface splinters. you will need to make sure you plunge thru where the scrap stops and the primary starts all in one go. I use a soft pine or poplar as a scrap layer. I learned it while cross cutting on a router.

OK, so apparently the answer was don’t use a crappy bit! The bit I had was a cheap one. I didn’t know any better but it was cutting really, really bad. Since I didn’t know what a good bit cut like I kept on using it until it started to burn the wood.

I purchased a new 1/8 bit and it cuts MUCH nicer! Night and day. The new bit requires hardly any cleanup. I’m going to try the cut again in the same wood to see if I have better results (I should.)

Also, I took another look at the pic and I concur it does look like plywood. This was because the lines from milling with the crappy bit combined with the grain made it look that way.

1 Like

Can you put up a picture of what you were using so we know what not to get?

I realize you’ve found a solution, but just throwing this out there anyway.

Another option would be to use a bit that doesn’t hit both sides of the paths (like a 1/16th bit).

You can then have it do climb milling (climb will create better edges than conventional milling). This will be possible because the bit will be working on a single side rather than both at the same time.

With a smaller bit you would also then have the option to do a roughing pass along with a finishing pass (cuts less on the sides during finishing pass).

I’ve also cleaned up edges on ply by doing initial cuts then running a V-bit along the edges.

http://www.harveytool.com/secure/Content/Documents/Tech_ConventionalMillingVsClimbMilling.pdf

I’m really embarrassed to say.

https://www.harborfreight.com/5-piece-m2-hss-router-bit-set-43695.html

Keep in mind, though, that this was pine…

Lesson learned.

Thanks, I’ll take a look at this. I made the piece just big enough that it would take 2 passes. The first roughs it out and the second goes through and cleans everything up. That worked well with a proper bit.

It says clearly in the description that those are “high quality”. So that’s obviously not the problem.

Well At least someone tried them, now we know for sure.

Sorry for the delayed response. I use that in a lot of my router work. This isn’t far off from router work. That and cutting finger joints.