CNC Routers - What Is A Hogging Bit?

Hello CNC'er. I'n Garrett Fromme, CEO of IDC Woodcraft, one of the most recognized CNC router bit companies in the CNC woodworking world.


In this article, I will explain to you the differences between the HOG, BEAST and BADGER endmills from IDC Woodcraft. These bits are among the most popular at IDC Woodcraft. However, it is prudent to explain in detail what type of CNC bitrs they are, the benefits of using them and why they even exist.


If you wish to skip this explanation, please scroll down to th section titled 'What Is The Difference Between The HOG, BEAST and BADGER'

Understanding Hogging Bits

The BEAST, HOG and BADGER all fall into the hogging bit category. Also known as roughing bits or chip breakers, hogging bits are not designed to leave smooth cuts. Their sole purpose is to remove lots of material really fast!


Look at the image of the BEAST hogging bit and you will immediately notice its distinctive cutting edges.

Overview Hogging Bits

Hogging bits are designed specifically for one thing: To remove material as rapidly as possible in your CNC woodworking projects. They are quite common in metal working but have not generally been recognized for their similar benefits in CNC woodworking until they were introduced by IDC Woodcraft.


Hogging bits are traditionally clasified as endmills (an endmill has a spiral cutting edge). They are clearly identified by their unusual serated design along the cutting edges. 


Hogging bit cutting edges have a saw-tooth look, which enables them to efficiently clear away wood from your CNC project by cutting the wood into small pieces as the bit makes its cut.


Mechanically, hogging bits have a high chipload value. Meaning they can manage a lot more chips during a single rotation than regular endmills, which gives them the ability to cut much more aggrssively without the potential of excessive chip loading (getting too many chips in the flutes during a cut).

Why Are Hogging Bits Used In CNC Woodworking

Have you had a project that takes an hour or more just to remove material... BEFORE it even gets to the finish cuts? It can make you a bit impatient. As they say, "Time is money!". Hogging bits have one main distinct advantage... They DRAMATICALLY reduce the time it takes to run your CNC project!


Many CNC projects require a lot of material to be removed before the finishing cuts are made, such as in pocket cuts on projects like bowls. This can take up the bulk of the run time for your project when using your traditional endmills.


In comes the hogging bit! The aggressive nature of hogging bits can reduce this run time by up to 10x or more. Meaning a 1-hour clearing time can be reduced to 6-10 minutes. Of course, each job has its special factors when it comes to time reduction, but hogging bits significantly reduce this time.

The Benefits Of Hogging Bits

Using a hogging bit in CNC woodworking offers several significant benefits that can improve the efficiency and quality of your machining processes. Here are the three key advantages of using a hogging bit:


Reduced Run Time

Hogging bits are known for their ability to significantly reduce run time in CNC woodworking projects. This is primarily due to their unique cutting geometry. Here's how they achieve this:

  • High Feed Rate: Hogging bits can handle higher feed rates compared to standard endmills. This means they can move through the material at a faster pace, resulting in quicker machining processes.
  • Deeper Depth of Cut per Pass: Unlike standard endmills, hogging bits can make deeper cuts per pass because there is less force beign applied to the bit. This enables you to cut deeper at one pass, reducing the number of passes required to reach the desired depth, further accelerating the machining process.
  • Larger Stepover Value: Hogging bits allow for larger stepover values, which means they can remove more material with each pass. This minimizes the number of toolpath overlaps, increasing efficiency.

Compared to standard endmills, such as a 1/4" down cut, the standard endmill will have a 1/4" depth of cut with 40% stepover at 80 inches per minute. The BEAST can carve at up to 1" with an 80% step over at up to 600 inches per minute. The BEAST will be approxamately 15 times faster at removing the material.


The hogging bits' ability to deviate from these conservative values results in a faster material removal process and, consequently, reduced run time.

Extends The Life Of Your Other Endmills

One of the significant advantages of using hogging bits is their ability to spare the cutting edges of standard spiral endmills, keeping them sharper longer, prolonging their lifespan. This benefit arises from the following factors:

  • Aggressive Material Removal: Hogging bits excel at hogging out large sections of material quickly. By handling the roughing phase efficiently, they reduce the workload on the subsequent tools. This minimizes wear and tear on the cutting edges of these finer tools that can be used for the final cleanup passes.
  • Reduced Heat Buildup: Material removal generates heat which is the number one enemy to the lifetime use of router bits. Hogging bits are designed to manage heat more effectively during the roughing process. Less heat generation means less tool wear and longer tool life, preserving the sharpness of standard spiral endmills for longer periods.

Hogging Bits Can Cut Even As They Dull

Another notable benefit of hogging bits is their ability to continue cutting effectively even as they start to dull. This advantage stems from their robust design and unique saw-tooth cutting geometry. In short, you are not concerned with finish cuts when using a hogging bit so a sightly dull bit can still be used.

  • Robust Build: Hogging bits are typically sturdily built with deep flutes and strong construction. As they wear down, they maintain their cutting performance better than finer router bits, ensuring consistent material removal.
  • Chip Evacuation: Hogging bits are designed to clear chips efficiently from the cutting area, preventing chip buildup that can dull cutting edges. This feature contributes to their ability to maintain cutting performance as they wear.

In conclusion, using hogging bits in CNC woodworking offers reduced run time, preserves the cutting edges of standard spiral endmills, and allows for effective cutting even as they start to dull. These advantages make hogging bits an essential tool in the arsenal of woodworkers seeking efficiency in their machining processes.

What's The Difference Between The HOG, BEAST and BADGER

'HOG' CNC Router Bit

The HOG is your go-to choice when you need to remove a lot of material in deeper projects, such as bowls or rough cutouts of thicker projects like guitar bodies. It is capable of doing cuts as deep as 1-1/2". It can cut 1/2" in a single pass. However, because it has longer cutting edges, it requires a slower feed rate than the BEAST due to the potential for higher deflection. Because it is longer, it can break easier so feed rates need to be a bit lower than its shorter couterpart. It still sports an agressive setting of 80 inches per minute at an 80% stepover.

Get The HOG

'BEAST' CNC Router Bit

The BEAST is all about boldness. Its shorter flute length of 1" and thick core make it extremely robust. It can remove material at a whopping 1" depth of cut in one pass on hardwood! It can handle higher feed rates, which can go up to 800 inches per minute (it has been successfully tested up to 1000 inches per minute). Like the HOG, it runs at an aggressive 80% stepover. For shallower projects (less than 1" deep), this would be your choice over the HOG.


'BADGER' CNC Router Bit

The BADGER is the precision tool in the group, if the word precision can be used here. As it is a roughing bit, it will not leave a clean cut. While it can't take as deep a cut as the HOG or the BEAST, it effectively works exceptionally well with a 1/4" depth per pass. It operates at a feed rate of 130 inches per minute with a 70% stepover, which means it can efficiently remove material in smaller areas quickly. This makes it an excellent choice for tasks that have more detailed material removal needs.

Comparing the BADGER to standard 1/8" endmills that run at a pass depth of 0.065", 40% stepover and 65 inches per minute, The BADGER runs 4 times deeper per pass, 2x the feed rate and almost twice the stepover value, making it 16x moire efficient!


CNC Router Bit Settings For HOG, BEAST, and BADGER

These settings are generally for benchtop CNC routers that are not wood frame machines.

NOTE ABOUT SETTINGS: These are general settings based on benchtop CNC routers like the Longmill MK2, Onefinity, Millright, etc. Pro and industrial machines can be much more aggressive.

Shop For All Hogging Bits