I had the opportunity to visit ShopBot headquarters a few months back. While chatting with their training master TJ, he bragged about his great big 2.5 inch fly cutter bit. I have to admit I was envious. My bit was half the size.
I finally had the opportunity to pick up a bit to rival his.
I got myself a 2.5 inch Amana Tools fly cutter. Tonight I had the first chance to put it to use on my severely gouged up spoil board.
First off, this is a hefty piece of tooling. It looks a bit intimidating and weighs at least a couple of pounds. It has 4 carbide inserts (2 to flatten and 2 used as scoring cutters) meant to carve a smoother surface than traditional 2 cutter styles. All of this is mounted on a 1/2 inch shaft. It is easily the largest bit in my drawer. This thing is a monster.
After I created my tool path and chucked it in, I spun it up for a trip across my table. The first thing I noticed was the sound of the bit cutting through the air. At 14,000 RPM the size of the bit moves a heck of a lot more air than the 1/2 inch cutters I use every day. The sound of the bit as it started cutting is equally as surprising. On my MDF spoilboard, I was reminded how quiet sharp high quality bits can be. I think the combination of scoring cutters and flattening cutters adds to the low dB levels.
The cut quality is pretty impressive as well. The surface is perfectly smooth with brand spanking fresh sharp cutters. Here’s the best part about these insert style bits. Each square carbide cutter insert can be rotated after you dull your edges. This means you get a fresh cutter 4 times before you have to think about replacing your edges. I love that! I wish all of my tools worked like that.
I can’t wait to use it to plane a hardwood tabletop. I’ve used a smaller flycutter bit to surface tables before. I get decent results but this giant will be sure to plane a surface that needs even less sanding.
I wish I hadn’t waited so long to follow TJ’s advice. This thing is great.