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Author Topic: cutting MDF on the CNC  (Read 295 times)

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cutting MDF on the CNC
« on: July 05, 2019, 05:54:01 PM »
I was recenly told that I should not cut MDF on the CNC as it dulls the bits faster than wood. I often do my test cuts on MDF thinking that it would be easier on the bit and cheaper than wood (I have tons of MDF scrap available to me)

This seems counter-intuitive to me.  Is it true that I need to make my test cuts in wood rather than MDF?

Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2019, 06:31:24 PM »
Hi,

Quote
Is it true that I need to make my test cuts in wood rather than MDF?

The operative word is 'need'. You do not 'need' to use wood but wood will cause less toolwear.

MDF is plentiful and cheap and provided it doesn't get wet, dimensionally stable. I say use it. It will dull tools,
but then certain woods, New Zealand native beech for instance, has high silica content and can dull tools/saws
even faster than MDF.

I would recommend carbide tools. I used to think that cheap no brand Chinese tools were OK, they certainly are cheap.
More recently I have found that name brand tools are significantly better and if you can find a supplier selling at
reasonable prices, is worth the extra.

I use small diameter (0.5mm and smaller) endmills for making circuit boards and I buy tools off EBay (link attached).
They stock Kyocera Tycom tools specifically for making PCBs at very VERY reasonable prices and the quality of the
tools means that no 'cheap no brand tool' can hope to compete.

https://www.ebay.com/str/carbideplus

I suspect these tools will probably be too small for your purposes but it illustrates the point that 'named brand tools can be
had reasonably and are well worth it'. I have no doubt other users will chime in with their favorite suppliers.

Craig

My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!
Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2019, 02:05:03 PM »
Thank you Craig,
I think I will thank my friend and tell him that I would prefer to use MDF even though it may dull my bits in the long run.  I only use carbide tips (from toolstoday.com)

thanks for the reply
Charlie
Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2019, 10:26:58 AM »
I use MDF for testing.  The only thing about using MDF is you need to be careful about the fine dust it creates when milled.  You need to have a good vacuum system or wear a mask to prevent breathing the fine dust.  It is a carcinogen FWIK.
Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2019, 04:22:27 AM »
i dont understand what you mean cant cut MDF?
our machines almost cut only mdf all day 5 days aweek
about 50 boards per day
the best brand for tools its Arden ,its taiwan brand but i almost sure its made in china

by the way craig why you not use laser ,if you need so small diameter?

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Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 10:45:14 AM »
Copper does not machine well with laser, especially not with CO2, and Craigs boards have THICK copper on them :)
Make no mistake between my personality and my attitude.
My personality is who I am.
My attitude depends on who you are.
Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 01:37:27 PM »
Hi,

Quote
Copper does not machine well with laser, especially not with CO2

Copper is an almost perfect reflector of laser light at CO2 wavelengths, in fact it is used as the reflector in
CO2 tubes.

To machine copper with a CO2 laser is a great way to destroy your laser and/or reflect laser light around your machine
wrecking things or burning/blinding the operator.

When making circuit boards, particularly the boards with really thick (0.42mm) copper it needs to be cut....not etched and certainly
not melted and blasted away with a laser.

Craig
My wife left with my best friend...
     and I miss him!

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Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 02:04:55 PM »
Dont stare at laser with remaining eye :D
Make no mistake between my personality and my attitude.
My personality is who I am.
My attitude depends on who you are.
Re: cutting MDF on the CNC
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2019, 12:01:23 PM »
For practice and g-code prove-out, I use the blue 1" styrofoam in my machine. You can easily cut, glue + stack it to make any size of stock. Make sure you have a good vacuum though; and no wear on the bits.