Use WD40 as the cutter lubricant. It washes away and leaves a nice
clean surface. I will cut the tool path twice sometimes but mostly
with my plastic. WD40 is the key.
I would think that WD-40 works, but wouldn’t you have to stand there
over the part and re-spray it several times over the course of cutting
a complete model, as it absorbs into the milled shavings? I guess it
depends on the size of the part. and how much you initially spray.
Lately, I’ve been diluting a concentrate of a water soluable
coolant/lubricant made especially for machining,. I’m not sure it
works much better than regular Windex. I’ve devised a makeshift drip
system out of a covered plastic travel coffee mug, some plastic
tubing and brass valve I purchased at Home Depot. It works
surprisingly well! I can control the flow of the wash from a slow
steady drip to a constant flow, right over the cutting area. I have a
tray to catch the overflow so I can filter the debris out of the used
liquid and recyle it.
Last week one day, I milled 4 two sided models for one client. They
all happened to have tiny lettering, so I had to use a small cutter,
which takes extra time. I also milled a ring that day. With the
windex drip coolant and a light scrub with a toothbrush, they cleaned
up fine. I don’t mean to dispute the efficacy of milling a part twice
to clean out the shavings, but when I have to get work delivered,
milling twice would “gum up” my workflow.
Model Master’s new CNC mills are accessorized with an automated
coolant system. They also have a product called Hotblock which is
silicone moldable and a composite material called Alumilike which has
the utility of a metal mold but cuts easier, can be plastic injected
and holds a sharp edge.
I do not cut brass or any metal. It's not necessary. I'll either
cast the wax and mold it, or cut plastic part and mold that. >
Milling wax and plastic may be good for one-offs and limited
production runs, but over time and repeated use, does a silicone mold
hold the detail and crispness needed for class rings and logo type
jewelry with lettering?
I'm skeptical of those who don't make jewelry yet claim expertise.
I have a new motto about CAD CAM also. "Don't design beyond your
ability to execute." This goes for anyone doing jewelry CAD. Show
me the finished jewelry!! Virtual jewelry is a pretty picture but I
I agreed with that up until last week, when I found out a CAD
modeler I know, has never worked at the bench, yet he has a pretty
decent (and evolving) sense of jewelry construction from years as a
jewelry salesman. So, I guess it’s hard to make generalizations about
My experience has been hands-on in custom design retail environments
where if it wasn’t practical or saleable, it didn’t get made. I
worked for someone who has impeccable production-oriented standards.
I used to resent it because I felt it limited my creativity. I
envied jewelers who had art school training, where the emphasis
included stretching the boundaries of conventional jewelry design.
Now, I’m grateful for every silver prototype that ever got kicked
back to me for not being mold-worthy because I apply the same exacting
standards to the CAD work I do for my clients. (Sometimes, I even get
it right, they tell me) For my own personal satisfaction, I
experiment by modeling the fantasy pieces that I was denied the
opportunity to make at the bench, so, perhaps it all works out in the
Occasionally, I will take a production oriented CAD model and
post-process it strictly to create a nice rendering for my website. In
the CAD program, I’ll shape prongs over a stone or soften the severe
edge of a part that would be polished to a more rounded shape or
even model a bezel down onto a stone, just to make a pretty picture.
It may be superfluous, but I enjoy the creativity of it. I’ve worked
hard to gain the skill to render photo-realistic virtual jewelry
images, and besides, it’s a lot of fun!