Anyone tried cutting balsa on the Longmill?

Am wanting to try cutting some balsa parts for a model airplane I am building. They’re circles about 3" in diameter using 3/32" sheet. I tried cutting them out by hand but they don’t come out well (or round). I tried one of those circle cutting things with an X-acto blade but that didn’t work out to well either.

I have a few 1/16" bits I could use, just curious about cut depth and speeds so I don’t destroy some balsa.



@StuartG Laser may be your best bet. Lacking that, your 1/6" bit may do a good job. I did some veneer, but cheated and sandwiched it between two pieces of scrap. I don’t imagine that you want to be doing that on a regular basis. A drag knife may work, too. You could check that out with suppliers.

@StuartG There might be some advice in this post on C3D forum.

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@CrookedWoodTex A 1/32" bit? My 1/16" seem to break if I sneeze the wrong way. :grinning:

Well the laser would be desireable but it’s not in the cards yet. I’m not sure how many times I would do this with balsa. Sure the laser could be cool down the road though.

CrookedWoodTex, thanks for the link. Was some interesting reading.

I’m sure those 1/32" bits would snap if I looked at them wrong! I think I’ll try the 1/16" bits I have using 1/64"-1/32" passes. Maybe use 3 or 4 on the Makita router and 25ipm feed rate to start.

I’ll let you all know how it works out.


@StuartG Please do, Stuart. Another idea may be to try a tapered ball nose. The ones that Sienci sells with a 1/8" shaft have a point of less than .02". With cutting through material as thin as yours, you may not even notice the taper in the cut. Just a thought.