All bits are going to yield a lot more than 3 sheets when you get your feeds and speeds right, although some laminates are a lot harder than others on tooling. I had the same problem some time ago and found that in the end my rotation rate was too high for my feed speed creating too much heat. It worked well for flake or plywood but where the laminate was it got way too hot.
Try using a 2 flute Vortex 3130XP or Onsrud 60-124 at 720 IPM and 18000 RPM.
Let us know how this works for you.
We have 4 nested base routers and 10 other machining centers. I've seen the same results John is talking of. Went to PCD, and never looked back. Chuck, I'd love to invite you to bring some of your tooling to our plant, and see how close we get to 60 sheets.
we ran 140 sheets of 3/4 Baltic birch and 62 sheets of laminate - Wilson art double sided with one Vortex 3130 xp- upon further examination the bit, was not discolored when we changed it out. We got the feed and speed just right for some odd reason. We are getting roughly 80 sheets between 5x8 Roseburg Melamine from Louisiana, 1/4" mdf/vinyl and laminate panel with a white vertical grade back side. We generally cut the drawer boxes and smaller parts first, all the backs and bottom, bigger case parts with doors. We are thinking the drawer parts are killing the bit in the large nests pre-maturely.
I can confirm that the Vortex XP bits are absolutely awesome!
I run a 3/8 mortise compression bit to cut all the materials for our casework: 18mm MDF with double sided HPL, 16mm Birch with 1 side HPL, or 17mm Birch with 2 sides HPL, and 5mm ply with HPL. Plus some unlaminated MDF.
Here is my tip: By running the same bit for all these materials, including dados and grooves, you take advantage of the variation in material thickness to lengthen tool life, as follows:
We know that the HPL is what causes the most wear on the bit.
When cutting material with one side HPL, always have it facing up. This way, the tool suffers wear at different points depending on the exact thickness of the material, instead of getting disqualified prematurely due to overuse in a single spot on one type of material.
When the tool is no longer perfectly sharp, use it for backing material only (in my case 5mm ply with white laminate) because the perimeter gets hidden by the rear frame of the carcase. Raw MDF is also fine to cut with a semi dull bit.
I am still happily cutting sheets with my first Vortex bit, it has done over 120 sheets of perfect parts, and counting!
I also note that most of you say you are running the tools at 18000 RPM. I have found in the past using other bits that this speed makes a shreeking noise and wears down the bit after 10-20 sheets. I asked Vortex about this and they said that a lower RPM would lengthen tool life. So I have reduced to 16000 RPM (Feed rate=12 meters per minute) and the results speak for themselves!
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