Machining Wax

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What is machining wax?

Machining wax, or machinable wax, is wax that has been mixed with plastic to make it very hard, tolerant of high temperatures, and able to retain extremely fine details. This means that it won’t melt when you mill it, and it also won’t droop, sag, or deform like many other soft materials, so you can mill very thin surfaces and tiny features. Machining wax is one of our favorite materials, and it machines like a dream on the Othermill.

What is machining wax used for?

Uses for machining wax include moldmaking, lost wax casting, prototyping all kinds of parts, dental CAD/CAM, and making jewelry. Since it’s one of the easiest and fastest materials to mill, we often use it when we want to test something that we plan to make in wood, metal, or other materials that take a long time to mill. We also love to eat chocolate, and we’ve made many chocolate molds by milling a wax positive and then pouring silicone over it to make the mold. Scroll down for a few examples.

Is machining wax safe?

Yes! The only danger is that you’ll annoy your friends by telling them over and over how much you love milling it.

Where can I get machining wax?

We sell it in our store in large and small sizes. We don’t recommend using candle wax, paraffin, or other waxes not specifically made for machining, as they may melt, gum up the tool, and fail to retain detail.

Fixturing: How do I attach machining wax to the bed of my Othermill?

Nitto Permacel P-02 tape or hot glue are both good options, and we recommend using them in conjunction with the alignment bracket for extra rigidity.

With Permacel tape, place strips evenly across the underside of the material. Then peel off the backing and press the wax firmly down onto the machining bed.

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For hot glue, run a bead of glue around the bottom edge of the material where it meets the bed. If you use the alignment bracket, you only have to glue the sides that aren’t touching the bracket. Don’t put glue on the bottom of the material and then stick it down, as this will make the material taller and may cause end mills to cut too deeply.

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What end mill should I use when milling machining wax?

Both 1/8" and 1/16” ball end mills are the best for machining 3D objects out of wax because they give the smoothest contours. That being said, this material mills easily with any tool. It’s really quite enjoyable.

What are some example projects?

Chocolate Millennium Falcon Mold

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Head Model Prototype

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Sword Hilt Mold

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Note: The feeds and speeds below are optimized for the V2 Othermill. If you are using an Othermill Pro or Kickstarter Othermill, you may need to experiment to find optimal settings.

Recommended Feeds and Speeds

Note: These feeds and speeds are used by default in Otherplan and are provided here as a reference.

Tool: 1/8" flat end mill
Feed rate: 37.402 in/min (950 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.013” (0.32 mm)

Tool: 1/16” flat end mill
Feed rate: 37.402 in/min (950 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.014” (0.36 mm)

Tool: 1/32” flat end mill
Feed rate: 37.402 in/min (950 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.016” (0.40 mm)

Tool: 1/64” flat end mill
Feed rate: 37.402 in/min (950 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.005” (0.13 mm)

Tool: Engraving bit
Feed rate: 39.370 in/min (1000 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 1.575 in/min (40 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 12,000 RPM
Max Pass Depth: 0.003" (0.08 mm)
Note: Keep in mind that the engraving tool has a variable width, depending on your “engraving cut depth” parameter. The deeper the cut, the wider the tool. The shallower the cut, the narrower the tool. If you’re using an engraving tool and the generated path isn’t cutting part of your .svg file, try reducing the engraving cut depth.

Advanced Feeds and Speeds

Warning: These settings are for advanced users. Before using any of the information provided here, you must read the section above on fixturing your material. The feeds and speeds specified here are more aggressive (and thus faster and more fun), and improperly fixtured material can be knocked loose and damage itself and your machine. BitBreaker Mode must be enabled in order to change your feeds and speeds.

Tool: 1/8" flat end mill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 20 in/min (500 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.118” (3 mm)

Tool: 1/16” flat end mill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 20 in/min (500 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.118” (3 mm)

Tool: 1/32” flat end mill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 20 in/min (500 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.059” (1.5 mm)

Tool: 1/64” flat end mill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 20 in/min (500 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.031” (0.79 mm)

Tool: 1/100" flat end mill
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 20 in/min (500 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max pass depth: 0.005" (0.13 mm)

Tool: Engraving bit
Feed rate: 59 in/min (1500 mm/min)
Plunge rate: 20 in/min (500 mm/min)
Spindle speed: 16,400 RPM
Max Pass Depth: 0.003" (0.08 mm)
Note: Keep in mind that the engraving tool has a variable width, depending on your “engraving cut depth” parameter. The deeper the cut, the wider the tool. The shallower the cut, the narrower the tool. If you’re using an engraving tool and the generated path isn’t cutting part of your .svg file, try reducing the engraving cut depth.