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IndustryArena Forum > Hobby Projects > Hobby Discussion > Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case
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  1. #1
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    Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    So, under another thread I had an epic adventure of fixing up an old 3040 CNC engraving machine with an enclosure. It is an air cooled spindle with no coolant. Now I am thinking of all the projects I can accomplish with the machine and one of them is to cut a simple watch case out of 316L. In your opinion and experience, given the right selection of cutters/ feed/ speed, it is even remotely possible to do?

    If not, I will not venture down this road but if it then I will try all avenues and break as many cutters as financially possible to achieve this feat. All advise is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    Take a look at this site to get an idea of the feeds and speeds that work https://www.easyspeedsandfeeds.com/316l-ss .If you are too far removed from the optimum rates and you have no coolant,it may be an expensive and frustrating endeavour.

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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    Hi R,

    Thank you for the message. I checked the site and also did the same calculation here (as I'm a metric user): https://littlemachineshop.com/mobile/speeds_feeds.php

    From what I can see, the machine technically can do it as it spins at a max rpm of 20000. I should be using a carbide endmill as the suggested speed is 7280rpm with a 2mm endmill and I really should try to keep the speed as high as possible as the spindle is aircooled and I don't think it will be advisable to run it at 2430rpm if I use a HSS endmill? Anything else I'm missing here?

    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    Take a look at this site to get an idea of the feeds and speeds that work https://www.easyspeedsandfeeds.com/316l-ss .If you are too far removed from the optimum rates and you have no coolant,it may be an expensive and frustrating endeavour.

  4. #4
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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    I tried to lay a trail of clues... You have very little chance.Too much speed and no coolant makes it unlikely.A mill at a fraction of the speed and with flood coolant would get the job done.High speed machining of metals is a fairly specialised branch of machining.

  5. #5
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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    You might be able to do some fancy engraving on your watchcase with that machine, if you're not too particular about how it turns out. But if routers could make things out of stainless steel, why would anyone spend a lot more money on milling machines? That spindle won't have much torque at 7280 rpms, but milling stainless needs lots of torque. Get lots of those carbide cutters...
    Andrew Werby
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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    Quote Originally Posted by routalot View Post
    I tried to lay a trail of clues... You have very little chance.Too much speed and no coolant makes it unlikely.A mill at a fraction of the speed and with flood coolant would get the job done.High speed machining of metals is a fairly specialised branch of machining.
    Oh my bad! Totally missed that, honestly thought you believed there was a chance and was trying to point me in the right direction, didn't realise that it was a way to cushion a blow. Thanks for the advise either way.

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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    You might be able to do some fancy engraving on your watchcase with that machine, if you're not too particular about how it turns out. But if routers could make things out of stainless steel, why would anyone spend a lot more money on milling machines? That spindle won't have much torque at 7280 rpms, but milling stainless needs lots of torque. Get lots of those carbide cutters...
    Well, it was just something I was thinking out loud with the following reasoning; If the router could indeed engrave (lets say 0.1-0.2mm depth cuts) then surely if I didn't really care how long it took that eventually it would be able to cut a block down even if it took a couple of days. So if I used TiAlN Coated 4-Flute endmill without coolant and took say 4 days....... is that within the realm of possiblity or am I just going to burn the spindle? Thanks again for all the replies.

  8. #8
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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    To sum it up: the cutting will take a lot of time, the tool and the spindle will suffer, the finish quality will be terrible and the part dimensions will be way off. In some situations all of the above would be acceptable, but I don't think that would work too well for something as intricate as a watch case.

    You can always try of course. I suggest trying some easier material first, such as 6061 aluminum.

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    Re: Using a 3040 CNC engraving machine to cut a 316L watch case

    Quote Originally Posted by CitizenOfDreams View Post
    To sum it up: the cutting will take a lot of time, the tool and the spindle will suffer, the finish quality will be terrible and the part dimensions will be way off. In some situations all of the above would be acceptable, but I don't think that would work too well for something as intricate as a watch case.

    You can always try of course. I suggest trying some easier material first, such as 6061 aluminum.
    Hi Dreams,

    Thank you for your reply. In the meantime I just saw some videos of some people crazy enough to try and actually achieved a semblance of success:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qKdQcVsoqQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOvGv9aRKFs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTFn84UwFCM

    More reading and research in the wings

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