Troubleshooting Melamine Panel Joints
Melamine cabinet parts aren't fitting tight. Is it the panel cuts, or the assembly technique? June 12, 2005
I have a SCMI Pratix 48cnc machine, and I have a customer I am cutting cabinet parts for. The customer is looking to have 5/8 melamine cut. The cuts on the melamine are clean (no chipping top or bottom), however when the cabinet is assembled it doesn’t pull together tight.
The drywall screws are being used on a 24" side, and three 8mm do-wells are used only to line the sides up. The box is not being clamped, and the cnc is producing a rough cut on the particle board, which that is the reason the cabinets won't go together tight. Does anyone have any thoughts?
From contributor F:
I used to cut melamine parts on a cnc with a single flute carbide bit. It is certainly possible that a dull bit will leave little ridges on the parts edges. The cure, for this case, is to keep an eye on the cut quality and change to sharp bits when necessary.
From contributor J:
I'd take a look at the box after assembly if possible. Sounds like a fastener problem to me. Drywall screws and particle board are not a good combination. They very well could be stripping out the wood or causing a bulge when going in that would keep the parts apart.
Try running a flush trim router bit over both edges of a set that won't pull up tight, and then check the fit. That will tell you immediately if it is on your end.
From contributor R:
Drywall screws are not the best way to go because they will keep going through the melamine and cause it to split and splinter. All of the boxes should be clamped together, the holes pre-drilled and counter sunk, and then a cabinet screw (flat head) should be inserted. They will stop, and won’t tear the melamine.
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: Cabinetmaking: Custom Cabinet Construction
KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General
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.
335 Bedell Road
Montrose, PA 18801
Copyright © 1996-2018 - WOODWEB ® Inc.