melamine tooling

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Rob Davis
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melamine tooling

Postby Rob Davis » Wed, Jun 06 2012, 3:21PM

We have historically used a 1/2" straight cutter to make routed holes for inlaying adjustable track into sides of cabinet. FWIW, the track we used is KV and rout is 0.188" deep x 0.635" wide so comp tool no good either. Anyway, we get little tiny chips of melamine as the tool wears and it is impossible to stop them using this tool. Haven't had any complaints but want to avoid one. If we went to down shear tool, would I still be able to use it to rout deep routs in melamine as well? We don't use too many downshear tools but since the last post that tooling is "counterintuitive", my mind has been warped. We only have the 4 position tool changer so have to live within those means.
Does anybody use downshear tools in melamine, MDF and plywood for making routed holes, including blind dados, and does it cause any issue with chips being driven into hole and overheating?

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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Scott Marshburn » Wed, Jun 06 2012, 4:54PM

Hi Rob:
We use down spirals for all of our pockets and dadoes in plywood,mdf and solid stock we have cut very little mel allthough what we have cut they seam to work well because there is no upward shear to give any tearout or chips.As for deep routs you coul allwase set the max plung to lets say .25".
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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Daniel Odom » Wed, Jun 06 2012, 8:11PM

I've found that if you're plunging straight down or if your hole is not much bigger than the tool diameter, a straight flute will work better than a down shear in melamine. For dados and other routing I'd use a down shear or compression with a mortising tip; depending on how deep you're going.

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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Rob Davis » Thu, Jun 07 2012, 6:41AM

Scott, thanks for reply. When you say set max plunge to .25, will it then make 3 passes if I have a 0.625" deep rout?
Daniel, thanks too for replying. We use comp bits whenever we can but going only .188 deep would be on the upshear portion and that is no good in melamine!
I need to upgrade our tool holder to more stations so I can have more variety of bits! Pretty pricey though.

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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Will Williamson » Thu, Jun 07 2012, 3:40PM

Hey Rob do a search for (tooling choices) on this forum. This was just discussed a bout a month ago, I thought you were in on that discussion
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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Forrest Chapman » Thu, Jun 07 2012, 4:36PM

What machine do you have and how wide is it? Forrest

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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Scott Marshburn » Thu, Jun 07 2012, 5:17PM

Rob Davis wrote:Scott, thanks for reply. When you say set max plunge to .25, will it then make 3 passes if I have a 0.625" deep rout?
Daniel, thanks too for replying. We use comp bits whenever we can but going only .188 deep would be on the upshear portion and that is no good in melamine!
I need to upgrade our tool holder to more stations so I can have more variety of bits! Pretty pricey though.

It should make 3 passes.be sure to set the pre ramp plung to something like 1/16 to get past the mel before cometting to the finael depth.Dont Know what cutters you are using but you should max them out for example a 1/4 cutter cant take a .75 max plung but a sharp 3/8 cutter can.
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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Rob Davis » Thu, Jun 07 2012, 6:19PM

Will, I was in on that discussion and that is what warped my brain. "Going faster is better and keeps tools sharper longer" was what the counterintuitive reference was. It really made me take a hard look at the tools and speeds we were using. VERY helpful to us anyway, even though I have a few broken cutters from going too fast now! But in light of all that, can't find the solution to the little chips yet. And I am a little leery of downshear as we have had the pleasure of a burning wasteboard due to excess heat and constant airflow via vacuum. Makes a really scary fire!
Forrest, we have a 61x121 table. Cut lots of melamine and MDF and about 30% wood plywood, but that is growing.
Scott, we outline with 3/8 comp bits, keep them sharp and we do like Vortex XP. In general, our plunge rates are nto as fast as THM taught us in the class when we use smaller bits.
All, thanks for the answers!

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Re: melamine tooling

Postby Will Williamson » Thu, Jun 07 2012, 6:31PM

I have been using some single flute down shear bits. I'm impressed, heat does not seam to be a problem
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