To simply put, bits are the cutters in the toolbox of a woodcutter or maker who wants to do engraving, lettering, or sign making. The CNC routers use bits to form a classified and mind-blowing design or pattern on a workpiece.
CNC router bits have opened up endless horizons of creativity for the CNC machinists to take engraving to the next level.
CNC router bits come in different sizes, shapes, and styles. Likewise, every bit has its specific function. V-groove, ball-nose, end-mill, and fly-cutting are the common types of engraving bits. After knowing the cutting material and your CNC project requirements, you inset a bit to the collet of your CNC router and allows the bit to begin its magic.
Thus, if you’re new to CNC routing and don’t know how to choose the best bit for your CNC routing application, fret not. We’re here to save your back.
Here are my recommended products picked out through amazon you would be interested in depending on your budget…
7 Best Engraving bits for CNC Router Reviews
I have compiled a list of the best but cheaper whiteside CNC router bits available.
1. Freud CNC Router General Purpose Bits
For pros, Freud is not a new name since the company has made its reputation in the mainstream market for introducing excellent bits for CNC machining. But if you’re a starter and are confused about finding a starter bits kit for your CNC project, this 87-208 by Freud is what you exactly need to start up.
You’d be glad to know that it includes deep and sharp V-groove bits for cutting larger as well as tighter letters and details. If you want to add a crispier definition and detail to your CNC engraving and lettering project, this one would save you.
This set remains quite fundamental and is a great choice for those DIYers who get intimidated by Freud’s Artisan Bit set that includes 26 bits for industrial-grade CNC projects. There are up and down spiral bits for cutouts, drilling, grooving, and pocketing. Then, there are ball nose bits for creating a scalloped effect in your carving.
It’s a general-purpose bit set for novice woodcutters and makers, for a good reason. Not only the bits can do engraving on hardwood, but there are O flute bits for cutting through the soft material.
The best part? The bits feature enhanced TiCo Super Density Carbide, Freud’s proprietary, for a premium finish and cutting longevity.
The users have found these bits phenomenal, functional, and super sharp for their CNC applications.
2. Freud 8 Piece CNC Router Bit for Signmaking
Similar to Freud’s 87-208 bits set, the 87-108 bits set also offers an assortment of bits to take CNC routers to the next level. But both sets share some differences. At first, this 87-108 bits set is slightly pricier than 87-208.
Secondarily, the 87-108 is worth considering if you’re particularly looking for a bits kit for sign making. It has two narrow taper ball-tipped bits that you wouldn’t get in an 87-208 bits kit. The later bits kit set is for more general-purpose CNC routers, whereas this one is can do general CNC applications along with sign making.
Like 87-208 bits set, this one also cuts sharply and magically. Thanks to the well-made built quality the company is famous for. These bits have a chromium finish and Freud’s own carbide material for providing 2 times better cutting life.
These bits are also amazing for cutting through hard, soft, and composite materials with equal efficiency and performance. Just be mindful to make appropriate adjustments in cutting parameters to pull off precise results.
Even though this bits set is a bit expensive as compared to any standard router bits, the premium quality of these bits speaks for itself. We hope you won’t regret your decision if you add these bits set to your cart.
3. Freud 20-102 3/8″ V Groove CNC Router Bit
Sometimes, you just want to replace your worn V Groove bit with a new one, or maybe your old bit is not acing the job perfectly, so why not try this ⅜ inches V Groove bit from Freud that can do engraving and sign making without hassle.
Apparently, this carbide-tipped bit has a 3/8″ overall diameter, 5/16″ cutting edge length, and 1/4″ shank diameter for making deep cuts and shallow V grooves with quite a precision.
Like all CNC router bits from Freud, this bit also has Perma Shield coating, which means the bit prevents corrosion and pitch build-up and can last for longer. Getting durability with efficiency is a double threat that you could have with this excellent V groove bit.
Despite being strong bits, these are also a remarkable choice if you want to make signs or add decorative accents to furniture. And obviously, being V-groove bits, you can surely use them for engraving applications.
The versatility of these bits goes on the increase when you find that you can not only use them within CNC routers, handheld routers, and table-mounted routers.
An excellent V-groove bit is the one that can rout hardwood and softwood with the same precision, and this bit nails it down. Whether it’s engraving plywood, hard or soft material, and composite material, this one will save your back.
4. Eagle America Sign Making Router Bit Set
Instead of buying individual CNC router bits for your woodcutting applications, think about buying a router bit set to save you a substantial amount of money. Eagle America 100-3212 6 pieces bit set can be the lifesaver that you need for your CNC projects.
Apart from saving you money, this set is dynamic and gives you plenty of room for precise engraving and sign making within your CNC project.
This set comes with 6 assorted bits including two 1/4″ and 3/8″ 90° V-groove, one 1/2″ 60° V-groove, and three round nose bits in 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ sizes.
This implies that if you want to cut a wider path and want to have larger lettering and details, insert a 90-degree V-groove bit into the collet of the router. On the other hand, for making narrower cuts, lettering, and detailing, its 60-degree V-groove bit is the perfect tool for your requirements.
The good news: well, you can use its round nose bits for doing base relief carving.use three different-sized round nose bits to accentuate the engraving you’ve done on a workpiece.
Like any standard router bit on the market, every bit has two flutes for giving a very smooth finish to your workpiece.
The icing on the cake is when you come across the fact that they are super-affordable.
5. Amana Tool Carbide Tipped CNC Engraving Bits
Amana Tool is another leading name whose woodcutting tools are popular among hobbyists and professionals. Its router bits are high quality and functional. The AMA-129 Zeo Pt. is a well-made 3 Pcs bit set that is an excellent choice for those who have just started CNC machining.
The set includes 3 different size V-groove bits for cutting through several materials including acrylics, composite, hardwood, plywood, plastic, and so on.
You would certainly love the ease of use that these bits offer you. Like any standard V-groove bits they also bear 2 flutes with a standard 1/4inches shank. There are 2 v-groove bits at 90-degree for wider and larger cutting and detailing, and one 60-degree v-groove bit for narrow lettering. Engraving becomes more versatile and flexible when you do it with simpler bits like these ones.
The carbide-tipped bits are well-made and the smooth finish of each bit maximizes the cutting life of a workpiece.
If you think that a 6-pcs or 8-pcs bit set is something more overwhelming for your simple CNC project, then grab this simple 3pcs v-grooving bit set for doing engraving with a cinch. Although this set slightly bears a higher price tag, the premium quality of these bits is worth the price.
6. Whiteside CNC Router Engarving Bit Kit
Whiteside is not as famous as other leading manufacturers of router bits are, but its router bits are nonetheless, the least from its competitors. Many users have found the 401 basic router bit set quite useful and one of the best of its class.
Contrary to standard starter bit sets that typically feature ¼-inches shanks, the bits of this set come with ½-inches shanks. So make sure that your CNC machine features a router that accepts a bit with a ½-inch shank.
Unlike other bit sets that only allow you to use some bits for only once, this bit set offers you a useful assortment of bits to make routing dust-free as much as possible. The cuts would be not only cleaner and more precise, but also there is a hint of sparkle to every cut that the bit would make.
When looking at the quality of these bits, these are definitely going to nail it down. The carbide-tipped blades are seamless and smooth and cut through a variety of materials with no hassle.
A beginner who has just wet his feet into CNC machining would find this bit set a no-fuss product. There is a proper place for storing each bit once you’re done with a certain routing application. Simplicity along with premium efficiency are the hallmarks of this bit set.
7. Freud V Grooving CNC Router Engraving Bit
Due to the superior and first-class nature of its router bits, Freud has made its name third time on our list, for good reason. This bit is another impeccable and premium quality V-groove bits for a couple of CNC machining projects.
Like all other router bits of Freud, this one is also a premium quality carbide-tipped bit that can cut through plywood, hardwood, plastic, soft, and composite materials flawlessly. So if you want to make deeper groove cuts, this one stands the test of time and gives you two times better cutting results.
What makes this V-groove different from Freud’s other standard V-groove bits is its shank size, i.e., ½-inches. With different shank types, you can make better and more defined decorative accents to a furniture workpiece.
Without burning, the bit makes nice cuts and remains sharp for a long period of time. So worry not, you are investing in something that is a true value for your money.
You may not need this bit frequently for your CNC task, but it nicely gets the job done in the first go without a struggle.
Like other router bits by Freud, this bit also bears a Perma Shield coating in red color to prevent rust and signs of wear and tear.
Overall, a nice router bit for engraving, sign making, and veining.
How to Buy Right Engraving Bits for CNC Router?
CNC router is one of the most valuable and versatile tools to be used for woodworking tasks. But when you choose the wrong engraving bits for the CNC router, you cannot see the benefit it can provide. Hence, it is essential to understand the factors you should consider before purchasing a router bit.
Type of the Router Bit
At first, the thing that matters the most for the buyer is the type of router bit. There are many types, and you have to select the suitable one. The correct usage and selection of the router bit allow you to perform your desired task with ease. We will discuss the different types of such bits so that you can choose the right bit according to your needs and materials.
- Straight: For straight and square edges, straight router bits are too good. Straight bits also work well for grooves, dadoes, templates following, and joint working.
- Joinery: These bits are for shaping joints in a router table only. They can cut opposite profiles at the same time if presented in different positions.
- Grooving: Grooving bits are for V-shaped channels, and they can create bird’s mouth joints.
- Lettering and template following: If you want a finished and smoother cut, these bits are the ideal choices. They are suitable for freehand working as well. Lettering and template following bits require a bearing guide or guide bush to perform well.
- Edge profile: With an attached bearing guide, edge profile bits work around the edges of the profile. Smaller bits are to be used freehandedly in a router, whereas larger ones are for the router table only.
- Plunge profile: To add details and designs on a paneled door, plunge profile bits are the most suitable bits. They are best for the situations when you want to cut from the middle of the profile.
- Slotting: Slotting bits are used for joinery cutting, grooves, biscuit jointing, slots, and rebates. The guide bearing is on the arbor.
- Rebating: With a massive variety of sizes, these bits are used for cutting rebates. Smaller diameters are for the smaller rebate, and more significant are for cutting large reimbursements.
- Trimming: Trimming bits can provide you with a perfect flush finish because of the bearing guide. They can trim veneer edges, facings, and laminate.
- Raised panel: They are one of the more significant engraving bits for the CNC router. With a larger diameter, raised panel bits are for wide-sweeping profiles in the center of the doors.
To enjoy the desired results and fantastic finish, don’t forget to adjust the router speed according to the router bit’s diameter. The best way to make correct adjustments is to set lower speeds for larger diameters. The correct router speed is also responsible for safety.
Shank size options are not available for all router users. But if you are the one having a choice, then you should select the correct one. Router with more than one collet lets you choose between different shank sizes.
How the bit will perform depends on the shank diameter. A larger shank diameter can reduce the vibrations of bits during cutting. It is not always the larger shank that will provide vibration-less processing.
Sometimes, it happens with even a larger shank size. But it is recommended to select the larger shank diameter for better and even cuts.
The material you will cut with a router bit is essential to consider before buying a bit. For softwoods, plywood, hardwoods, and even some plastics materials, tungsten carbide tips are highly beneficial.
Solid high-speed steel bit tips get dull with time, whereas carbide tips are much sharper and remain the same for long periods. If you are cutting MDF or particleboard, it is better to go for solid carbide tips as they are on the top for such materials.
It is an expensive bit of material but goes well for fine and even cuts on various materials. Hence, whenever you choose a bit, go for it according to the material type.
Want to buy perfect engraving bits for a CNC router? Consider the process at first. The router’s diameter depends on whether you are going to work freehandedly or on a router table. You can get to know about the bit working through its diameter.
Smaller bits with smaller shank diameters are preferred for freehand working, whereas larger bit heads are only to be used on a router table. Mostly these larger ones are for face profiling and joint creation.
Bearing guided bits is significant to be used when you don’t want to do much. They don’t need a router fence. Moreover, they can easily follow the précised line of the edge. Such bits are suitable for straight and curved edges. The bit will shape the profile, while the bearing will follow the template if you want. There is no need for guide bushes and specialist base plates when you use bearing guided bits. Therefore, it is better to use the bit with the attached bearing guide.
The cut you get from the router bit is because of its part, which is called the flute. There are several flutes on a bit which affects the quality of cut and speed. If the router bit has a single flute, the cutting speed will be incredible, but the finish will be disappointing. On the other hand, with more flutes, the bit will cut slower but smoother. It is good to get a bit with many flutes to have a finished look.
Bits with more than one cutting edge are what you should choose over single-edged bits. Two cutting edges make a bit more capable of smoother cuts. Don’t forget to look for the dust protection shield, as it keeps the bearing clean for fine cuts.
Routing becomes phenomenal when you do it with a high-quality router bit. Otherwise, the whole procedure ends up in frustration and dismay. So to avoid inconvenience, rest assured to get the best bit for your CNC routing application.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for an exceptional starter bit set or a professional who wants to try an amazing and the most valuable bit for your CNC routing application, know your specific need and buy the one that suits your needs the most.
You may also love to read these my reviews and the buying guides…
FAQs about Engraving Drill Bits
Here are a few questions that people used to ask about Engraving drill bits;
What are the Best Engraving bits for CNC Router?
I have compiled a list of the best but cheaper whiteside CNC router bits available.
- Freud CNC Router General Bits
- Freud CNC Router Bit for Signmaking
- Freud V Groove CNC Router Bit
- Eagle America Router Bit Set
- Amana Tool CNC Engraving Bits
- Whiteside CNC Router Bit Kit
- Freud CNC Router Engraving Bit
What to do for the dull bits?
Router bits get dull with time, and some of them even experience this too quickly. You can’t keep changing the bits; hence, you need to sharpen them to maintain the sharpness. You can sharpen them either by hand or with the help of a diamond stone or a file.
Do router bits experience rusting?
Yes, they do. And if your engraving bits for the CNC router face this situation, you need to pay attention. Proper maintenance can save you from this mishap. Always use a tool oil on them when they are not in use; you can also store them separately in corrosion inhibiting bags.
How to get a perfect finish?
First, consider the factors we have mentioned before buying the appropriate router bit. Also, make sure you don’t cut the profile in a single-use. Attempts several passes to get a perfectly finished cut result in the end.
Can we cut straightly during freehand work?
Yes, you can cut straightly during freehand work if you use a bearing-guided bit or a router fence. Else, you will not be able to get an idea straight cut.
Do only expensive bits work well?
No, it is not about the cost especially, when you are looking for a bit to perform an occasional project. Choose the one that matches your needs and working process. Expensive bits are significant to use, but inexpensive ones are also good if you use them correctly. Also, if you are doing occasional work, an expensive one will not be a good option.