The Bit Builder gives users the ability to add new or custom configure existing bits. This will allow for ultimate control over all the speed, feed, and spindle settings for every bit. Custom bits can be stored globally in your system or are stored on a project level. This means if someone designs a project with a specific bit setting and they share that project, the bit setting will come automatically with the project. 

Glossary

We need to establish some baseline terminology as the terms below are used to describe other functions within the software.

  • Global Bits – A global bit is a bit that is available to any project.
  • Project Bits – A project bit is a bit only available to the project it was configured within.
  • Cleaning Pass – A final pass on a vector cutting operation to create a smoother finish.
  • Carving – Carving is describing the rastering of 3D carvings. This is produced by taking many small passes with the carving bit, building the 3D image one line at a time. This uses bitmapped based imagery.
  • Cutting/Vector – A cutting operation can be lines, circles, splines or any other number of geometric vector elements where the bit follows the path of the line. 
  • Region – a closed vector shape.

Editing and Adding Global Bits

In Designer, under the Board Setup tab, find the Edit Bit tool to open the Select Bit dialog.

Select Bit Dialog

The select bit dialog will display a list of bit categories with the appropriate bits within them.

When you select a bit within the list, information about that bit appears to the right. This information can help you identify important settings without opening the bit for editing. There is also a notes field when information specific to the bit can be stored for reference.

At the top of the select bit dialog you can select a material to narrow the choices of bits.

From this dialog, you can also Add, Remove, or Edit bits. 

  • Adding a bit is creating an entirely new bit to the list. 
  • If you click Add with No Bit selected, you will get a blank bit template. 
  • If you have a bit selected and you click Add, it will copy the settings of that bit to use as a template.
  • Editing a bit makes changes to that bit and will be applied in all instances of that being used in projects. 

Note: It is not advisable to edit global bits unless you are certain you want those changes to be applied globally. 

Edit Bit Dialog

When adding or editing a bit, the edit bit dialog will open and allow you to change the settings for that bit. The fields are defined below.

Designer Bit Builder
Designer Bit Builder

Bit Name

Define a name of the bit. It is advisable to list the size, type, and usage.
Example: 1/8” Cutting Bit Soft Wood

Tool Type

This is the category of the bit. 

Profile dimensions

The dimensions that define the bit’s geometry. The dimensions correlate with the profile image.

Max Depth/Pass

This is the maximum depth the bit will be allowed to cut in a single pass.

Cleaning Depth

This is the depth the cleaning pass will cut (when cleaning pass is asked for in a function the software will leave this much depth to be cut at the cleaning feed rate)

Cleaning Feed

The feed rate to cut the cleaning pass.

Material

A material may be assigned to a bit by selecting from a list or adding a new material by selecting the + icon.

Machine

This is for defining which machine the bit is configured for. 

Notes

This is a section where information specific to the bit can be stored for reference.

Feeds and Speeds

Feeds and Speeds describe how fast the cutting truck is traveling (feed) and the RPM (speed) of the cut motor. The feeds are defined at different depth levels linearly, meaning they gradually ramp up or down to the next defined depth feed rate.

Carving

Carving feeds define how fast the bit is traveling during each raster path at various depth levels. Each quality level can be defined. 

Stepover

This defines how far the next raster line moves. It is described as a percentage of the bit’s diameter.

Cutting/Vector

Cutting feeds define how fast the bit follows the path of the line at various depth levels.

Feed Calculation

Absolute Depth 

The feed will be dependent on the total depth of the workpiece.  This allows for using bits that get much wider as they go deeper.

Relative Depth

This feed is calculated based on the actual depth of cut not the total cut depth. This allows for taking multiple passes at higher speeds since it is only working with the amount of material it is encountering.

Spindle Speed

The RPM speed of the cut motor.

Plunge Rate

The plunge rate is a feed rate specific to when the bit is first plunging into the workpiece. 

Restricted Bit Functions

Certain tools within the software are restricted to specific Tool Types due to the nature of their functions. These tools are described below.

Carving Bit

Under the Carving Tab is a tool called Carving Bit. This tool changes the raster carving bit that is used within a project. It is restricted to only the Tapered Ballnose and Ballnose Endmill tool types as they are the only bits used for rastering.

Cut Path

The Cut Path tool under the Vectoring Tab is for creating tabbed cutouts. It is restricted to only Endmill bits.

Edge Rout

The Edge Rout tool under the Vectoring Tab is for assigning a routed profile to a project’s edge. Only Form bits are available for this function.

Drill Tool

The Drill Tool under the Vectoring Tab is for creating drill holes. It is restricted to only Endmill bits.

Keyhole Tool

The Keyhole Tool under the Vectoring Tab is for making keyhole slots and is restricted to only Keyhole bits.

Non-restricted Bit Functions

These are bit functions that don’t restrict the types of bits that can be assigned.

Select Bit

Under the Vectoring Tab is the Select Bit tool. This tool allows you to assign any bit within the library to a vector path.

Vector Group

Vector Group under the Vectoring Tab is for assigning centerline and pocketing bits to vector shapes.

Pocket Region

Pocket Region under the Vectoring Tab is for assigning a pocketing bit to a vector shape.

Configuring A Project Bit

Within a project, when assigning any bit to a function, there is an option to Configure. Configuring opens the Edit Bit window and automatically makes a copy of the bit selected. This new bit and any edits made when configuring it are only saved within the project which it was configured. 

This is especially useful when experimenting with different feed and speed settings while developing a project. 

Saving and Sharing

The bit is saved with the project, so if shared or sold to another it will retain that bit configuration.

You can also add a configured bit as a Global Bit by accessing it under the Edit Bit tool under the Board Setup tab. Select the bit and click the Add button. From there, simply click save and it will be added to the Global Bit list.