For some odd reason it started bugging me that I really did not know what kind of finish I was going to get based on the stepover settings for a ball nosed endmill.
There are some obvious issues, stepping over by a fixed amount produces different results depending on the radius of the ball nose. The same is true for percentages, but those are a little bit better.
But what I really understand is cusps. The ridges left between passes. I have a sense for the difference between .0001 cusp height and .0003.
When I checked how I had my tools set up in the database I was amazed at how different the cusp heights were from tool to tool.
Sooooo, it was time to get out Excel and do a spreadsheet. Warning! The ball nose info is entered as a radius, so if you are using a .25 diameter ball nose it should be entered as .125. I did this because some ball nose tools are spec'd as radii and others as diameter. Had to choose one or the other.
Also included are two jpg files that can be printed that show settings for both metric and imperial tools.
Here is the formula I used in case any of you want to set up a sheet yourself or just calc a few tools you have and you do not like my choices.
Stepover = =(SQRT((R^2)-((R-CH)^2)))*2
Where R = radius of the ball nose tool and CH = the desired cusp height.
I would have included the Excel spreadsheet but the software does not allow .xlsx files to be uploaded. Sorry about that.
Low Profile CNC Router Vise