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Drilling possible?


I have not found any reference to whether the Maslow CNC can use a drill bit as tool for drilling holes, maybe someone can enlighten me?

I’d mostly use it to cut plywood for DIY loudspeaker cabinets, and also need the holes for the speaker mounting bolt holes and other alignment holes accurately drilled.

Here is a link to speakers I built for myself a few years ago as example, a friend milled & drilled the wood for me:



I have not seen this done on the Maslow but I have on other systems. As long as you are moving in Z only it should be fine. If you put lateral torsion you will probably break the bit.

Thank you


I see no reason to not drill. A gcode providing x/y movements on safety hight, and z for the drilling, you are done. A router bit like the 2-flute I’m using can do the job, but you might consider a tool change with a drill-bit if you are drilling allot. With the 2-flute I would go in and out 3 times in a 18mm ply, to remove the chips.


The tricky part is that you can’t really use a drill bit with a router because drill bits require a chuck to accommodate the different size bits, while routers use collets which are just for one size of bit. That will be the case with any CNC machine


see this -

Thank you


Right, I know about pecking when drilling, I was more concerned whether the Maslow would be stable enough with the downward force of the fdrill bit, but I suppose once you have a Z axis, and milling pockets etc., the same would apply, and that does not seem to be a problem from what I can see.


The smallest holes I’d need would probably be 1/8", and I’m sure I can find a 1/4" to 1/8" collet reducer of some kind if I look around hard enough.


unless you are drilling exactly the right size holes :slight_smile:

1/4" or 1/2" holes are pretty useful. If nothing else it clears material so that
you can
go in with a router bit to enlarge them without running into the problem of the
center of the router bit not cutting well in a plunge.


If all you need to do is drill and all holes are the same size you could use a drill on the sled instead of a router.
But it would make more sense to just use a router, it’s way more capable and it allows you to cut different diameters with just using one bit


Thanks for all the replies, so the next questions is:
Say I used a 1/4" tool to route a bunch of stuff and I need some 1/8" holes - how does it handle changing the tool without losing alignment?


Accurate homing, careful toolchange, patience and understanding the machine and the software to some extend.

Now that did not really give you an answer. Though i hope this guideline will help you understand the answers that follow from people who have more experience then me.


Another option to accurately locate holes with your sled is to install a drill bushing a known offset from the center of the bit ( say X6.0 Y6.0 ) and program the sled to move to that location and pause ( allowing you to drill the hole ) and then continue with the profile routing


I’m told as long as they are 2 separate tool paths with the tool size defined MakerCAM will prompt you to switch tools. As long as it’s the same file it should handle it fine.

Thank you


I don’t think anybody’s done a comparison yet, but at the low speeds and high spindle speeds a 1/8" bit might work just fine for everything. Use a center cutting endmill.


My approach for this is to use the ‘Define Home’ button and to create two separate files, one for each tool, using the same starting point and ending point for both files. I move the router to the position on the stock I want to start from and define that as ‘Home’. I run the quarter inch tool job, then unlatch the router motor from the base on the sled, swap out the bit for the eighth inch one and re-install it. Then I load the the eighth inch job and run it. Because they both use the same home point, the router moves to that point to start the job. If I want to move the router between the jobs to look at the first cuts, I can use the ‘Home’ button to return to my starting point.


Do you find much difference in DOC or feed rates between eighth and quarter inch bits?


If you’re asking me, I’m really only using the eighth inch bit to peck holes :smile:.


If you use two different sized tools the machine should automatically pause and request the next tool when it finishes with the first one. When the machine is between tools you are free to move it around and adjust the z-offset for the tool length. When you press continue it will lift and return to cutting. I haven’t tested it with every CAM software but I know it works with Gcode from MakerCAM.


I use “drill” operations regularly on my machine. I actually am just having the router peck a center mark with an engrave bit, that way I can drill the hole with a hand drill or drill press after. There’s no reason you couldn’t put an 1/8" bit in a collet adaptor and drill out a pilot hole that way. The Z-axis is pretty slow using the fixed router base, so I’ve never had any trouble with the sled lifting while drilling.

As far as tool changes, I’ve just made two separate programs and run them one right after the other using the same home point. I haven’t tried what @Bar is suggesting programming the tool change into one file. I was not aware I could set the Z-offset mid-program like that. Now I will have to try that :smiley:


If your Z axis has at least double the minimum required travel and is rigid, you can add a drill mount onto the router at an offset position. Run the router routine first with the drill removed. Back the Z axis all the way out, pause to mount the drill bit just over the surface. Now, you can run the drill routine. Be sure to add the amount of offset to the Gcode. For drilling, Z axis movement stops and reverses after the drill bit exits the backside, but before the router bit enters the front side.