My daughter’s birthday is just around the corner, and I wanted to make something meaningful for her.

She has a favorite saying which goes like this, “Believe and Something Beautiful will happen”. I found a nice looking font and used that to write the letters.

She also adores the “Hello Kitty” cartoon. I also wanted to impart some wisdom from the scriptures in the message.

So far, I had bought a few pieces of 1 mm diameter end mill bits which I dared not use since my very first attempt at using it. The very first one that I tried got broken off immediately when it touched the work piece. The work piecw was a phenolic board, which was a hard material. I was quite heartbroken at that first attempt.

Since then, I decided to do some research first before attempting my second try.

And that brought me to the subject of chip load, speeds, and feed. I noted that people had been machining fine objects using all sorts of materials, even hard objects like steel.

How did they do it without breaking their tool? What I found out was that tool manufacturers do publish recommended data for their tools, but because the situations may differ, the machinists had to try them out and adjust along the way.

Well, I have taken that advice, and plucked up my courage to increase the speeds for the feed and the plunge. And I reduce the depth of cut. Luckily I did not break the tool this time. That’s good progress for me. And as a bonus point, I could do the engraving more quickly with minimum tool wear. As my experience with cutting the material increases, I might gradually deepen my depth of cut so as to reduce the overall time of engraving.

This attempt to engrave a birthday message served several purposes:

  1. Tested engraving for 1 mm diameter tool, cutting to a depth of 1 mm without breaking.
  2. Tried out the effectiveness of the anti-backlash nuts for the x and y axes. They worked well. The engraving was done with acceptable precision.
  3. Tested engraving on spray painted masonite board. The results were beautiful.