Have you checked to see if your tool gets hot or if your chips are warm right after cutting? It sounds like your chipload is off for some reason or other. Over the years I have also gotten batches of melamine with rocks in it that caused all kinds of problems with sawblades.
Thanks Jason. yes, we've gotten some crappy melamine over the last year that had some trash in it. I think our speed/feed is correct. We're trying a different brand this week. We used to get 50 plus on a bit years ago.
You are using a mortise compression for your thru cuts I see. This is not the end of the world, but if you have the flexibility I have found it much better to use a standard compression for thru cuts and the mortise compression only where it is needed. A lot better chip evacuation and less regrinding dust.
I think Jason and Larry are right, feeds and speeds may be off some.
Try 18000 rpm and 875 ipm for feed with these bits for melamine. It is a little faster feed than recommended, 720 ipm is more typical, but I still seem to get good cut quality. I get WAY more than 15 in both panolam and Tafisa, 60 to 80 densely packed sheets with an edge bander ready edge. What are you using for feed and speed now?
Call vortex direct and twlk to them. They have a new bit that we are using and are getting 50-80 sheets per bit and run at over 800 ipm. I have had off brand bits.that were.cheaper to buy but lasted only 10 sheets.
vortex gives you a break on purchase and sharpening if you send them 20 at a time. I buy 25 bits and send them 20 to sharpen At a time.
Feed and speeds good suggestion - chip load and chip warmth good suggestion - invest in a infrared thermometer you can point at tool after it cuts , keep track of tool temperature. Another pointer often overlooked is weather the tool has been resharpened and by who. Most sharpening services would be lucky to have the technology needed to properly recondition today's complex tooling geometries. I always suggest to my customers that they send the tool back to the original manufacturer for sharpening.
Touching with your hand means the tool is cool enough for you to touch it. Be careful you will burn your fingers. After that you will get the hang of it. When your fingers get close , you can feel the heat.
I've run vortex bits, till they did not even have an edge on them, but they were running cool and still doing the job, I guess they were just beating the wood off. not cutting at all.
I was cutting phenolic resin impregnated plywood 2 inches thick.Toughest stuff you will ever want to cut
You said you were trying a new brand of melamine. Good or bad result? If good, what brand? I've had our board rep and bit rep involved. Their suggestion to me was to go to a 3 flute 1/2" regular compression. I told them I was willing to try anything, so I have just started cutting with it. I'll let you know if I get a sustained better cut.
Thanks a ton for everyone's input. I ended talking with Dan from Connecticut Tool who suggested an Onsrud bit - (#60-169MC, its a 2 flute bit with a 1 1/8" cut length and .562" upcut).
It's a standard compression, not mortise. After being educated from Mark on the post, we switched over. Results are amazing. We just got 53 sheets on the Onsrud bit. We're cutting white melamine 3/4".
We're also trying out a different brand white to see if that will help.
I haven't used the vortex version of the standard compression so it might work just as well. The real answer i think was going away from the mortise compression. I wish I would have posted this years ago. Thanks to this forum, I'll save $$$$$ with the correct bit :).
Congratulations on the upgrade to a standard compression, guaranteed you will see much better performance from it. From what I've seen most people get about 60 sheets so its average with these bits in laminate particle board. In the beginning, examining the tool every 10-15 sheets will tell you a lot about how well your machine has been tuned.
I haven't tried the Onstrud marathon bits yet but heard they people are getting 100+ sheets.
You also need to look at the size of parts you are cutting, as that will affect the number of sheets per bit. Larger parts (closets) will yield much sheets per bit more verses smaller parts. You really shouldn't see any chipping, even at 100+ sheets I have never seen any chipping on either side of the material ever, even with a dull bit. My guys change the bits when feel they are dull and need sharpening (you can hear it).
Here are some suggestions to get even better tool life from your new bits.
Run an air hose (better yet 2) and point them at the end of the bit and turn them on while it is cutting (if you havent already done this and if you have the compressors). You should see a huge difference by doing this.
Keeping the bit (like with a resin cleaner) clean, and it only takes a few minutes. Resin on the tool creates excess friction and heat that will quickly reduce the tool life.
Lastly but most importabtly be careful with the feeds, speeds and chiploads given to you by the tool manufactures, these serve as a STARTING point only. Every machine is different and needs to be tuned accordingly, this alone can extend the life of the tool beyond most people will tell you is impossible. I think its Onstrud that has a very good guide for starting out and learning to adjust these. It's a very good read, maybe give to your operator/programmer, but again it's just a start.
We use an Onsrud 3/8" compression with the marathon coating. We cut a lot of laminated panels as well as melamine. I can get 65-70 mixed sheets melamine and pre-laid sheets per bit. Im cutting out of 5x8 and use a duramine product.
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