I bought a CNC mill recently to prototype PCBs with a turnaround time on the order of hours instead of weeks. But I've been having a hell of a time getting the isolation routing to come out clean.

After a long story, it turns out the V-bits I've been using are just poorly machined! Inspection under a microscope shows all kinds of issues. It's so bad I'm tempted to write a blog post about it, if anyone's interested.

On a related note, anyone have a good source for quality CNC tools in the US? 😀

Apparently the ones I bought off the internet are garbage. If I'm lucky, 3 out of the 10 bits will actually be usable for isolation routing.


@cuchaz From what I know the cheap ones online tend to be used ones from factories. Keep that in mind when searching.

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@gudenau That would explain a lot.

Although the biggest defect I'm seeing is the bits aren't very true. Meaning the cutting tip of the V is very off-center and cuts a much wider and rougher path than it's supposed to.

Is that a typical wear pattern for a used bit?

@cuchaz I don't know, I have done very little research into the topic. Some of the cheap ones could just be rejects or poorly made as well. There is a lot of ways for things to get into the supply chain, especially for an individual consumer.

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