1/4" shank, is it too limiting?

How many feel that being limited to 1/4" isn’t a big deal? I’ve always tried to use 1/2" bits with my router so I have a lot of them. This is mostly based on how much flex there is in the shank. When it comes to small narrow bits it’s not much of a problem. 1/4" though means being limited to what spoil board bit you can use for example. I have one of the CMT ones that’s 1/2" with the replaceable inserts.

I still have a few months to go before I get my woodworker. I’m at the point where I’m trying to decide what I want for a router/ spindle. If 1F does come out with an 80mm mount I would get it but I’m not sure if they will. Never using a CNC router before maybe it’s not that big of a deal so I figured I would ask.

Is there a speed hit to maintain accuracy or is it not really something to worry about? My plans are for hardwood but I could venture into milling aluminum. A part of me thinks I should just get a Harbor Freight Bauer throw away trim router and us that and decide later. But I like the idea of setting it up once the way I will want it (which is most likely a water cooled spindle).

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So far I see no need for a larger shaft. Flattening aside I am generally wanting to waste an area less than 0.25 anyways as it is more dust/chips to clean up and more material wasted on profiles. You can find 1" surfacing bits to increase the speed of that operation as well. I like the idea of a spindle but honestly the makita has been adequate so far as I learn as it decreases the complexity.

Personally, I don’t feel it’s limiting. I would have a different opinion if I was focused on an industrial workflow.

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This is my first CNC, and like you had a nice collection of 1/2 inch bits for my router before buying the 1F. I have some fairly beefy ones that I only use in my router table as well.

I’ve found so far (my limited experience only) that the 1/8 compression bits do a better job of cutting profiles than the 1/4. I’ve ended up reserving the 1/4 bits for hogging out material.

The 1F holds that spindle very rigid - way more than you could by hand, or even in a router table setup. To me, it seems to really improve the output with the smaller bits as a result. Right now, I don’t find the 1/4 inch shank size a limitation.

I’m interested in the 80mm mount, but dragging 220v to the CNC would require running new electrical - so it isn’t something I’m going to be undertaking for a while.

120v is kind of a problem. I have a 1hp dust collector that I’ll be using with it (much better than a shop vac). Where I’m planning on putting the 1F all the 120v outlets are on one 20 amp circuit. Between it and a router that’ll be about 15 amps. Adding in the 1F and I’ll be close to the limit. OTOH I have a 240v outlet right next to it for my planer which I don’t see using at the same time. Because the DC is a lot quieter than a shop vac running a spindle would mean that I could use the 1F in the middle of the night without waking anyone.

I very much prefer a real dust collector to a shop vac - so much so that I went to the trouble of modifying someone else’s design so I could get a 4" dust hose connected. I built my shop with woodworking in mind, so I have a couple of 20A 110V circuits that allow me to run the CNC and the dust collector on separate circuits.

I want to upgrade my dust collector now - so I can run something else with the 1F at the same time. That’s going to mean a new 220v circuit. I seem to be caught in a never-ending upgrade cycle…

I wanted something for my bandsaw. My big DC was far more than it needed so I picked up a cheap Harbor Freight 1HP dust collector. It’s light and easy to move and once I removed the plastic guards that would plug up it works great. It’s very quiet. Most of my tools are 240v so I have several 20 amp and 30 amp outlets as well as a 40 amp for the planer.

With the wait for the 1F I’m doing what most here probably are doing or did while waiting. I’m trying to decide what sort of table I want to build for it along with what the spindle. Today the wife was pushing to add the laser for it.

Alex - I’ve never had an issue. In fact, you can’t find some of the smaller bits in 1/2" shank. Given the size of the machine, I find myself using 1/8" and smaller bits frequently. If you plan on doing a lot of bulk removal with larger diameter bits, then 1/2" might make sense. But even with my 1.5" Amana and 1/4" shank I’ve not seen a problem. Though I only use it for mild surfacing with the CNC. I would want a 1/2" shank if I were doing a lot of heavy removal on a live edge slab or something.

0.02

-Tom

It’s definitely limiting. Many form bits don’t come with a 1/4 shank. Hopefully someone will start selling mount that fits full sized routers so I don’t have to make my own or buy a spindle.

Dr.Al
I did pick up a 220 volt spindle,the side benefit is that you can use up to and including 3/8” shank bits.
Dave