Making feet with fly cutter - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-03-2012, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Making feet with fly cutter

I am building a project from plans, and they call for feet cut with a fly cutter on a drill press. Now it sounds straight forward but i have been attempting this for two weeks to get these feet which have several round pieces stacked together to make the feet. I am using a fly cutter on my drill press but it will not cut through a 3/4 piece and i cannot come close to cutting through the 1 1/2 piece. i ve turned it over and it will lock up as soon as i get 1/4 into the wood. is there another way to cut these feet without a lathe/ Or can you tell me what i'm doing wrong with the circle cutter. The plans detail it this way but i've tried everything from cutting really slow to making chopping motions. Turning it over i never can get the piece exactly the same.
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-03-2012, 04:20 PM
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It would help to give you some options if we knew what the feet looked like. It sounds like the fly cutter isn't sharp enough or your drill press lacks the power.
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-03-2012, 04:32 PM
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It would help to give you some options if we knew what the feet looked like. It sounds like the fly cutter isn't sharp enough or your drill press lacks the power.
Or your drill press table isn't square to the chuck/bit.
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-03-2012, 04:51 PM
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Fly cutters aren't used to cut parts out of wood they are used to flatten surfaces (usually metal). You may need to use a different type of cutter (plug cutter or circle cutter often confused with a fly cutter). But without more info, it's hard to say what you need.

Last edited by NivekD; 04-03-2012 at 04:59 PM.
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-03-2012, 05:26 PM
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Fly cutters aren't used to cut parts out of wood they are used to flatten surfaces (usually metal). You may need to use a different type of cutter (plug cutter or circle cutter often confused with a fly cutter). But without more info, it's hard to say what you need.
+1. There must be some confusion as to what is being called a fly-cutter. A true http://www.amazon.com/TTC-Piece-Fly-Cutter-Set/dp/B005F02FC6 is for metal, it flattens a surface. If you're using it in a drill press as a drill then it would cut the outside of a circle to about 1/4" and then the cutter body would bottom out on the wood and stop cutting. The correct use is to put a piece of metal underneath it, and move the metal back/forth as you rotate the fly cutter - this flattens the metal.
Perhaps somebody meant to use "circle cutter"? In a http://www.amazon.com/General-Tools-55-Circle-Cutter/dp/B00004T7P1 the bit is held perpendicular to the workpiece, like a regular drill bit. It will cut as deep as you have clearance for. You can take the center drill out if you don't want a hole in the middle. These don't cut the same as a regular drill bit so you have to make sure they are scary sharp and perfectly perpendicular to the wood otherwise they are prone to jamming. If the bit is held perfectly 90 degrees from the wood then it's just a matter of how long that cutting bit is. If yours isn't long enough, you can buy longer HSS bits on fleabay. If you're doing really fat cuts it might be easier to find a different method - rough cut to shape on a scroll/bandsaw and then a circle jig on the sander, or glue up a big column with paper between the pieces and turn them to size on the lathe?

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post #6 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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I have to say that in different places one called it a fly cutter while it was what i thought was a circle cutter. i am using a circle cutter and it is brand new for me using it. So i tried to find any info about how to set it up and use it but there is not a lot to go on. i liked this idea because i don't have any desire to use a lathe, so this seemed a good way to have round objects without the lathe, but it just doesn't cut as i expected. i am making 3 different pieces held together with a dowel. one piece is 2 3/4, the second is 3 1/2 both cut out of 3/4. the last piece is 2 1/2 cut from 1 1/2. i can get the ones in the 3/4 but i have to turn the piece over and it doesn't come out exact. the last one in 1 1/2 will not cut out even though i turn it over. the drill press is new a shop fox and when it cuts about 1/4 in it begins to chatter then jams up and burns the wood. no matter how slow i cut or if i try to chop into the piece. i am hoping one of you can help me either understand the operation of the c utter is it designed for this depth of cut or lead me to another option to cut circles in the thickness of wood. by the way i am cutting walnut.
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 08:00 PM
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...

the last one in 1 1/2 will not cut out even though i turn it over. the drill press is new a shop fox and when it cuts about 1/4 in it begins to chatter then jams up and burns the wood. no matter how slow i cut or if i try to chop into the piece...
Sounds like your table isn't perpendicular to the cutter. Or the bar on your cutter isn't straight. Square that table up.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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This too was my first observation, that the drill wasn't holding square, so i purchased a steel jaw vise that bolted on my table, it does a good job of keeping everything tight it didn't help with the cutting
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-04-2012, 10:23 PM
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I have to say that in different places one called it a fly cutter while it was what i thought was a circle cutter. i am using a circle cutter and it is brand new for me using it. So i tried to find any info about how to set it up and use it but there is not a lot to go on. i liked this idea because i don't have any desire to use a lathe, so this seemed a good way to have round objects without the lathe, but it just doesn't cut as i expected. i am making 3 different pieces held together with a dowel. one piece is 2 3/4, the second is 3 1/2 both cut out of 3/4. the last piece is 2 1/2 cut from 1 1/2. i can get the ones in the 3/4 but i have to turn the piece over and it doesn't come out exact. the last one in 1 1/2 will not cut out even though i turn it over. the drill press is new a shop fox and when it cuts about 1/4 in it begins to chatter then jams up and burns the wood. no matter how slow i cut or if i try to chop into the piece. i am hoping one of you can help me either understand the operation of the c utter is it designed for this depth of cut or lead me to another option to cut circles in the thickness of wood. by the way i am cutting walnut.
If I am reading you right, you can cut the 3/4 OK but the 1-1/2 is giving you the issue? You might try putting a pilot hole completely through the 1-1/2 inch piece before you start cutting so you can be sure of getting an exact alignment when you get to the point you need to flip it.
FWIW, I hate using one of those things. I've seen plans that call for them but I usually resort to using the router circle jig. Cuts 'em out cleaner and faster anyway. Then you use the pilot hole as a guide to drill out for the dowel.

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post #10 of 12 Old 04-05-2012, 12:12 AM
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You might try hole saws rather than the circle cutter.
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post #11 of 12 Old 04-05-2012, 09:40 AM
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My last use of the circle cutter was to make the blast gates for my DC. They only had to cut 3/4". If I was cutting very fat or more than one I'd be looking for a different method. But if you want to make the circle cutter work it should be possible.
If you're positive you are at 90, not 89.99 or 90.01, then you might try tweaking the cutting bit - make sure it is even in thickness or better - tapering so the top is thinner than the bottom - if any part is thicker than the cutting point then it will jam. You can also try relieving the back two edges of the bit so they don't rub on the sides. It should be scary sharp since it is going to be sharpened like a small chisel and basically cuts like a motorized plow plane.

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Last edited by joesbucketorust; 04-05-2012 at 09:41 AM. Reason: fixed a typo
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post #12 of 12 Old 04-05-2012, 08:12 PM
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You just have to go very slowly with a fly cutter. How big around are the feet you are trying to make? The larger diameter the slower you have to feed the cutter. And make sure the cutter is ground correctly. It basically cuts by scraping so it needs a to be ground very sharp at a shallow angle, if it's ground at too sharp of an angle and fed too fast it will tend to grab....
Do you have the cutting bit inserted in the correct orientation? I have made circles as large as 4 or 5 inches in oak using a fly cutter with no problems.
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