Cutting Bamboo Plywood with a CNC Router

      Bamboo can be hard on the equipment. Here's some advice about bit choice, feed speed, and RPMs. November 11, 2006

I've been using 1/2" compression diamond bits on Plyboo (amber and natural). 18000 rpm/4mm. This is per the manufacturer's recommendations, but I'm snapping the bits very quickly, sometimes after only nesting 3 sheets. I've been told that diamond is the way to go with Plyboo, but is there a better option? Or is this a tool speed problem? The bit gets so hot I feel like the feed rate should be faster, but the manufacturer says to keep it where we have it.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor T:
You may find this link useful.

Related article: Diamond Tooling on Laminate

From contributor G:
We (Courmatt) have a number of firms using a CUD-375-33, 3+3 compression tool and have had great feedback.

From contributor M:
I have cut many sheets of 1/2" and 3/4" Plyboo as well as many of their competitor's equivalent sheet goods. I have used mainly 1/2" Leitz/Onsrud 2+2 mortise compression bits and 1/2" Vortex 2+2 mortise compression bits along with various 2 or 3 flute downspiral (pocketing) bits, all carbide. I have also used carbide forstner bits and drills (usually 5mm) and even high speed steel pilot drills, 1/16". I have never had a bit break in this material. They do get very gummed up with residue and go dull about every 10 - 15 sheets, depending on the number of parts.

I run my spindle a little slower at all times, as I believe it dramatically improves bearing longevity, so you will have to figure out your comparable feed rate. I run the 1/2" compression bits (carbide) at 12000 rpms and 5000mm/min through 3/4" material. The only thing I do differently than other materials is I lead in and out of each piece along one of the straight sides of the part instead of at a corner. I have had some parts become unusable from the splintering before applying this technique. You need to pick your lead in/out carefully, though. The material is very hard and tends to deflect the bit a little more than usual and can leave a noticeable indentation at entry/exit. I did have the 5mm carbide bradpoint drill start a fire after drilling a couple hundred holes, so now I split the drilling between 2 bits at about 50 holes at a time to make sure it doesn't happen again (very expensive mistake otherwise).

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Computerization

  • KnowledgeBase: Computerization: CNC Machinery and Techniques

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article