Feed Rate and Cut Depth for Melamine on the CNC Router

      A discussion of CNC settings that work well for machining cabinet parts from 3/4-inch melamine. June 23, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
With all of the questions and answers on cutting melamine I was wondering if everyone is cutting the whole 3/4" in one pass depth-wise?

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From Contributor B

Click to View Member Profile Member Photo Member Contact Info Categories

We use a 3/8" compression spiral and do it in two passes. A company I used to work for used a 1/2" compression spiral and we would do it in one pass. That is for large pieces. For the small pieces we do an onion skin so it is actually three passes with the 3/8" bit.

From contributor Y:
I use a 3/8 Vortex 3185 viper one pass on 3/4 in. melamine and pre-finished maple vc plywood. All cabinet parts are at 18,000 rpm at 300 ipm. I've cut many hundreds of sheets with this setup (not the same bit) and usually get 60 to 80 sheets between sharpening.

From Contributor E

Click to View Member Profile

The Vortex chip loading chart suggests a 3/8" two flute running 18,000 should be moving around 600/650 ipm. One pass on all but the smaller parts.

From contributor Y:
I also spindle drill my 5mm and 4 mm holes at 18,000 rpm, plunged at 300ipm with solid carbide drills with 10mm shanks. Tens of thousands of shelf and construction holes, been doing it like this for ten plus years. Most all of my CNC tooling is from and sharpened by Vortex.

From contributor M:
I use 3/8 compression, 18,000 rpm, 850 inches per minute, cutting the full thickness in one pass is my set-up. I also get 70-80 sheets before sharpening.

From contributor J:
U use 3/4" melamine, one pass (except very small parts which get onion skin), 18,000, 600ipm, vortex 3184xp (I have not been happy with any vortex bit outside of the xp line) 200 plus sheets and throw the tool away. I don't re-sharpen (not worth the hassle, time, postage, offsets, etc.). I use a CNT motion machine. The same for plywood, but I don't cut enough of that to have a good sheet count number.

If you are running a two flute 3/8" compression at 18k, 300 ipm, you will get longer tool life if you increase feed-rate. I would speculate that your tools are very black on the end. Heat is the enemy of carbide. When I ran 'big-iron' CNC's with very fast acceleration, I could push 1200ipm with the same tool (Onsrud 'mw' series when sharp, but 900ipm seemed best.

From contributor D:
We use1/2" 2 flute compression. 18k rpm, 600 imp. One pass on all parts except small about two square feet or fewer leaves. We use Meisenhiemer bits and get 45-60 sheets. We are cutting mostly 12-16" deep material so there are more cuts than bigger cabinets.

From contributor T:
We have an Onsrud 5x12 panel pro router. We are using Onsrud 1/2" compression bits to cut 3/4" melamine in one pass. Our machine is running at 18,000rpm and 600ipm. We are only getting eight-ten sheets of nested cabinet parts per sharpening. We get about the same number of sheets with a new bit. I see others are getting 40-80 sheets per sharpening. What are we doing wrong?

From contributor J:
If you are running standard (not aluminum oxide finish) melamine, I don't know what to tell you other than try my tooling and speeds listed above. I don't' have a feed chart handy, but 600 ipm on that machine is very slow even if you are only using a two flute tool. If you are using a three flute, you are very slow, probably burning your bits really badly. In my opinion, 1/2" tool is overkill for cutting 3/4 melamine, and you just have more dust, and more expensive tooling. If you are cutting melamine that has an aluminum oxide finish, you need to use a different bit (not carbide).

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 © 1996-2016 - 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