When you think of a CNC machine, perhaps your first thought is related to large plywood cutting projects such as cabinets or signs; right? Those are absolutely great applications for CNC, but a CNC machine is also capable of so much more. For example, did you know that you can also cut brass on a CNC? This opens a whole new world of creative possibilities to differentiate your projects. How about adding a decorative inlay into the top of a jewelry box project? Or, can you picture a brass bowtie joint in the top of a walnut slab table? Game changer!
Cutting brass on a CNC is no more difficult that cutting plywood, but there are a few tips for programming your CNC machine that you might need. Also, to better deal with the characteristics of material, there are some important adjustments that must be made to the CNC in order to work properly with brass:
Choose the right bit. The ideal bit for cutting brass is called an ‘O’ flute bit. For detailed work it is smart to work with a smaller radius bit to allow you to produce tight inside corners.
Speeds and feeds. You’ll want to slow down the feed rate compared to cutting plywood to produce better cut quality and for safety reasons. The G-Wizard feed and speed calculator is very helpful.
Depth of cut. Compared to cutting wood, you’ll want to take much lighter passes when cutting brass to reduce the stress that will be placed on the bit.
Hopefully this idea has captured your imagination and you are on your way out to the shop now. When you get back, you can check out some more benchtop CNC videos.