Tool Choice and Settings for Crisp Laminate Cuts

      CNC operators discuss carbide versus diamond tooling, feed rates, and bit speeds to get good cut quality when machining laminate. August 24, 2008

Situation: 1" and 1 1/4" particleboard laminated both sides, cutting out shelves, and tabletops to be edgebanded. We are using 5/8" diamond bits, single flute. 18k at about 350ipm, in one pass. Laminate is left with a little ridge curled up on the edge, or with tiny chips. What do you recommend in regard to:
Number of passes

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor D:
I would either use a 2 flute compression with a ramp in lead in program conventional cut, or a tool set going most of the way with a 2 flute down shear conventional cut and change to a 2 flute up shear conventional cut for the remainder, both with a ramp in lead in program.

From contributor C:
We use Guhdo part number 6243.020.50 on a Homag BAZ. It is an insert tool. It makes it nice two different ways. If you seat the inserts correctly, the diameter does not change. Plus your height does not change. We run 1" to 1 3/4" laminated tops with this tool. We rout at 18000RPM and 12 to 15 MPM. 1 pass conventional cut. All different shapes.

From the original questioner:
How long does this bit last you (#M cut?) Ballpark number for the tool/insert price?

From contributor T:
We use diamond tools from Royce/Ayr. I think it is called the ecospark. It is a diamond compression, 2 cutting edges, either 5/8" or 3/4" diameter. Runs at 10 to 14 m/m at 18000 rpm. (I have made lighter cuts up to 20 m/m.) We cut a lot of laminate on MDF or particleboard. It leaves a razor sharp edge on the laminate, no chipping at all. Not sure how many meters of life we get out of the tool, as the type of work changes greatly from day to day. (One day could be 10 hours of using that tool, the next day only 2). But for us the tool lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. Before I tried that tool I was using carbide insert tooling; it would last about 2 to 3 hours on laminate.

From contributor V:
What's the material thickness that you're machining? Also, what's the recommended feed speed for that tool at 18,000 RPM for that material thickness? 14m/m sounds too fast for a diamond tool.

From contributor T:
The material thickness is 3/4" core plus laminate. The recommended feed is 12 to 14 m/m, however last time I talked to the sales rep, he said some of his customers have been running that tool up to 20 m/m at 18000 rpm.

I had a lot of 13 x 13 rebates to run on the back of large gables, particleboard core with laminate. I kept increasing the speed. I got it up to 20 m/m, and after that the cut quality was going down. I was able to run the job a 20m/m, good cut quality, and no tool damage. After about 300 gables approximately 2100 mm long, 13 x 13 rebate, the tool was still as good as new.

The diamond/carbide debate comes up here from time to time, and it seems a lot of guys don't like the diamond tools for various reasons, but I am totally sold on them.

From contributor J:
Diamond tools definitely last longer, but they usually don't produce the same cut quality as carbide. What brand is yours, contributor T?

From contributor T:
I am using the ecospark 2+2, either 19 mm dia. or 16 mm dia., from Royce/Ayr.

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