I already have a makita rt0700c using 1/4" router bits. My question is: can the LR2 cut through 2.5" hardwood such as maple,wenge, African mahogany etc right out of the bat? The workable area I’m aiming for is: 20" x 47" x 7.5" Z. I’m not after “jewelry level of detail”, but it has to be reliable for my guitar building needs.
From what I’ve seen, the hardness of the wood has very little impact on the capabilities. MDF is pretty hard on it’s own, for example, so hard maple isn’t that much different.
The trouble you’re going to get is, with 2.5"+ bit, you will need to be very precise and rigid. If you have a 1/8" bit cutting 2.5" down, and you’re off by a little, the bit will grab 2.5" of new wood, and that will definitely not be good.
Additionally, you’re talking about 7.5" Z. That’s a lot. The Low rider can have a lot of extra Z height, but the higher it is when it’s cutting, the less rigidity it will have, and it’s exponentially bad, so 6" is 4x worse than 3", which is 4x worse than 1.5", etc. One suggestion is to make a drop table so the work is lower, and the Z doesn’t have to be as high to cut.
As for it working out of the box, you’re going to have to take the risk and tell us. I haven’t seen any builds with that big of a Z or that long of a bit in anything. You’d be teaching us how well it works.
As another alternative, you can make very precise templates. Ones that would be a lot of work to make without a CNC. It’s not as nice as letting the CNC do everything, but it can help you get from 3/4" cut depth to 2.5".
Also, a longer bit will probably need to be wider, or it will break more often, which is also harder. 1/8" bits are pretty forgiving. 1/4" remove a lot more material (so they need to go slower) and 1/2" is worse still…
I cut Montana shaped cutting boards up to 1.75" thick from hard maple blanks without problem. I also make head mount plaques out of rustic wood and I agree with Heffe, templates can be much faster. Maybe cut the pattern just deep enough for a flush trim bearing to use as a guide?
And if you’re really daring you can look into flip carving which would make your depth needs effectively half.
I’ve used a 3 1/2" endmill in my Dewalt but I was cutting ice which is far softer than any wood I believe. The biggest challenge for me was that at the speeds these tools run, any out of balance in the cutter and your machine is liable to vi rate itself apart. My Dewalt almost shook itself to death (the top casing is loose and buzzy now).
The drop table is a fantastic thing. You don’t have to drop the entire cutting area like I did either. If you know you’ll only ever need X x X max on the thicker stuff then make your cutout just that big. And then you need to reinforce the insert piece to ensure it doesn’t sag under the weight of the work pieces you may put on them. I would recommend a good surfacing on all of your spoilboard surfaces (the insert and the drop area). My MPCNC was out by about 1 1/2mm over its span and drove me bonkers trying to get a good clean cut on large pieces without burning unnecessary grooves into one half of my spoilboard.
Do you need to cut anything on the opposite side? Like them cavity, belly cuts, reliefs, control cavity? If so, then just run a 2 sided job and cut it all the way out. If your building a tele style build, you can just cut as far as you can, then cut with a bandsaw or jigsaw and finish with a flush trim bit.
If you really want to go crazy with a drop table, motorize it. Switch the electronics for Z from the low Rider to the table, use multiple lead screws for stability. Basically a corexy 3d printer bed system.