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Thread: Insert Cutters

  1. #1
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    Insert Cutters

    I just bought my first (hobbyist) CNC machine and started looking a V bits.

    I will be using a spindle so have the option of 1/4" or 1/2" shanks.

    I figured a 90, 60 and 45 degree bits as starters.

    I was looking at the Amana insert cutters, on Amazon, but started reading the reviews and many complained about the difficulty of aligning the replacement carbide inserts.

    Thoughts, thanks.

  2. #2
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    I use mainly Whiteside router bits and v-bits for my Avid 4x4 with spindle. I do have a few Amana, but none with replaceable inserts. I did take a look at the Amazon reviews for these and based on those reviews I would probably steer clear. Depending on what materials you intend to machine with these v bits, there may not be any great advantage (cost savings) over non-insert bits.
    David

  3. #3
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    I have the Amanna insert vee bit set...one of the only "sets" I've purchased...and it's been a very good investment. I also use one of their insert cutters for spoilboard maintenance and processing small slabs. I've had zero issue with aligning new cutting surfaces, but I have not had to do that much. The set includes 120, 90, 60 and 45. For these, I do recommend you opt for the .5" shanks as they are a very beefy piece of tooling and can benefit from the extra support. You may also use them for things like miter joints on flat stock which can result in deep cuts. Again, the heavier shank will be helpful for that.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    The only insert bit I have is a CMT spoilboard bit. Everything else are mainly Amana bits (because Tools Today has free shipping and usually the bits show up the next day). I didn't look into how much of a cost savings there will be by switching to insert tooling since most of what I use is end mill bits.

  5. #5
    I too have the Amanna sign makers kit. I have had to replace the inserts several times with great results. The key to getting the inserts to seat correctly is cleaning. There can be lots of build up on bits. Make sure you clean all residue before you replace the insert and you should not have any problems.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth Thomas View Post
    I too have the Amanna sign makers kit. I have had to replace the inserts several times with great results. The key to getting the inserts to seat correctly is cleaning. There can be lots of build up on bits. Make sure you clean all residue before you replace the insert and you should not have any problems.

    Kenneth, have you tried resharpening the inserts? If so, any luck with that?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth Thomas View Post
    I too have the Amanna sign makers kit. I have had to replace the inserts several times with great results. The key to getting the inserts to seat correctly is cleaning. There can be lots of build up on bits. Make sure you clean all residue before you replace the insert and you should not have any problems.
    That's a very good point...a lot of fines get packed into places while cutting, so thoroughly cleaning while swapping or flipping inserts, as the case may be, is important.

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    Bob, I bought the insert cutters specifically to avoid sharpening/replacement. I'm sure you can touch them up with a diamond stone to get a little more life, but given they need to literally be identical to be balanced and cut well, "sharpening" isn't something I'd personally pursue.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    I have a feeling the reviews your reading with regards to "aligning" inserts are coming from people who really dont have a clue or are over-thinking. There is no "aligning" of an insert. It registers against a face, pin, or some other feature and is then further registered with the screw. They are made to be able to be swapped out quickly mid-run if needed without changing a thing or re-zeroing your work (perhaps unless your working to a thou or two and have to worry about wear compensation). Wear compensation is very uncommon in any of this type of work.

    Take the reviewers with a grain of salt. Have several insert tools here from Amana and others from a 5Z 3.5" spoil board cutter down to very small engraving tools and swapping the inserts is mindless. Paying for some of them on the other hand kinda sucks (especially the 5Z spoil board that I cant locate alternate source for inserts) but the live and cut quality are bar none.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Falk View Post
    Kenneth, have you tried resharpening the inserts? If so, any luck with that?
    I have not. Half the time I end up breaking one. I would also be concerned that sharpening it would not make it index correctly.
    A man can never have enough tools. Now where did I put that hammer?

  10. #10
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    Mark, I agree. I have found them to be "foolproof" because of the relationship between the insert tooling and the carrier. The can only go on in one exactly place and way.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    Thank you, think I'll probably get a set.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    That's a very good point...a lot of fines get packed into places while cutting, so thoroughly cleaning while swapping or flipping inserts, as the case may be, is important.

    ----
    Bob, I bought the insert cutters specifically to avoid sharpening/replacement. I'm sure you can touch them up with a diamond stone to get a little more life, but given they need to literally be identical to be balanced and cut well, "sharpening" isn't something I'd personally pursue.

    Jim, there is a video on YT you might watch.....he lightly touches up the inserts..... Probably not a long term solution, but for a few sharpenings it might "stretch" the use of the insert.

  13. #13
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    Yes, a lite honing is no issue for almost any tooling. But you don't want to be removing metal the way you might for a "real" sharpening.

    The major benefit to this insert tooling is that you can change out the cutting surface whenever it's the right thing to do so you always have a sharp edge, or so that the cutters you used for abrasive MDF can be switched out for nice sharp ones for that important solid stock operation. (I've actually done this with my spoilboard cutter when I needed to surface a small slab and rotated back to the "more used" knives for maintaining the CNC surface)
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 11-27-2021 at 5:02 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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