Tooling choices for solid surface

      Tooling and feed speed info for machining solid surface materials. November 7, 2000

Has anyone had any experience with solid surface? What tooling works best in a router/machining center? And what kind of feeds and speeds can I expect? Also, I have cut acrylics before and found that in some cases back cutting as opposed to climb cutting gives a better finished edge. Is this the case with solid surface?

Forum Responses
Solid surface has great machining qualities and so is very easy to work with. In general, much of what you know from cutting acrylics can be applied to solid surface, since it is a type of cast acrylic. More specifically, the following tooling works very well.

Chipbreaker tools are good for roughing passes or edges that are not exposed. A 2 or 3 flute finishing tool does a great job when taking a small finishing pass. There is no clear cut answer as to whether climb or conventional cutting works best; it depends on the material and sometimes even the batch. Start with conventional cutting, but experimenting is the best way to be sure.

As far as feeds and speeds, it depends on what type and make of machine you are using. On a good solid cnc router, feed speeds of 500 inches per minute at 15,000 rpm are very realistic, cutting with 1/2 inch 3-flute tools in 1/2 inch solid surface. In lighter machines, you will need to slow down somewhat and take multiple depth passes. Keep your chiploads in the range of .005" to .012" per tooth.

You can obtain more info in the documents for sale on our web site or sign up for the subscription service for individual attention at

Something to consider is that the static generated from cutting the plastic with CNC machinery in addition to the static the dust extraction system creates mandates that something be used to counteract the attraction the plastic dust/chips will have to your machinery parts.

Antistatic air curtains seem to work best. While they won't eliminate the sticky situation entirely, they will help a great deal.

This is something you should be aware of if you are planning to machine a good deal of plastic.

As far as feed speeds, 5-6 meters per minute for linear cuts on average, slower on arcs/curves depending on the radius.

We have had great results from our distributors-customers using standard 2 flute upcut spirals to do edge work as well as sink cut outs. As you know solid surface dust is some of the finest around. You need to get the chips/dust up and out as quick as possible.

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: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Equipment

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Fabrication Techniques

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous: Woodworking

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

    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 © 1996-2021 - 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