Drilling vs. Milling : Demystifying Router Bit Functions

Posted 21 Mar 2024 08:55 | 87 views

Drilling vs. Milling: Demystifying Router Bit Functions

While both drilling and milling involve removing material with a rotating tool, understanding the key differences between these processes and their corresponding router bits is crucial for achieving clean and accurate cuts in your woodworking projects.

Drilling: Boring Precise Holes

  • Function: Drilling creates cylindrical holes in wood.

  • Router Bit: Drill bits typically have a pointed tip and two cutting flutes that spiral upwards. This design allows for efficient chip removal as the bit bores deeper.

  • Motion: Drilling primarily involves a vertical plunge of the bit into the workpiece.

  • Applications: Drilling is essential for creating pilot holes for screws, dowel joints, and installing hardware.

Milling: Shaping and Surfacing

  • Function: Milling utilizes the router bit's side edges to cut flat surfaces, grooves, profiles, and decorative shapes.

  • Router Bit: Milling bits come in a vast array of shapes, including straight bits for edging, V-bits for grooves, and profile bits for decorative cuts. They often have multiple cutting edges on the sides and bottom.

  • Motion: Milling involves moving the router bit laterally across the workpiece, following a template or guide for intricate designs.

  • Applications: Milling allows for shaping edges, creating grooves for joinery, decorative elements, and even replicating intricate moldings.

Key Differences at a Glance





Creates cylindrical holes

Shapes surfaces, grooves, & profiles

Router Bit

Pointed tip, 2 upward-spiraling flutes

Varied shapes, multiple cutting edges


Primarily vertical plunge

Lateral movement across workpiece


Pilot holes, dowel joints, hardware

Edging, grooves, joinery, decoration

Choosing the Right Router Bit

When selecting a router bit, consider your project's needs. Drilling requires a standard drill bit sized to match your screw or dowel. Milling necessitates selecting a bit with the appropriate profile for the desired cut, such as a straight bit for edging or a V-bit for grooving.

Remember, some router bits can perform both functions. For instance, a straight bit can be plunged to create a shallow hole and then milled laterally to create a dado joint. However, for best results, using a dedicated drill bit for precise holes and a dedicated milling bit for shaping cuts is recommended.

Drilling and milling with router bits offer distinct functionalities. Drilling creates precise holes, while milling caters to shaping and sculpting tasks. Recognizing these differences empowers you to make informed choices and achieve woodworking mastery!

Source : www.kemmer-praezision.com/en/
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