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Designing parts to be cnc router cut - tips?


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Established Member
27 Dec 2018
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Hi all,

I’m drawing up some campervan furniture carcass made from 18mm bb ply and want to get them CNC router cut to streamline my time in the workshop.

I’ve a lot of experience in laser cutting and metal fabrication, and getting more knowledgable about woodwork but know nothing about the basics of CNC routing...

What size bit will the material be cut with?
Tricks of the trade?
Fancy / easy joints and self jigging?

Can anyone suggest a good guide to getting me clued up a bit more?

Also any recommendations on where to get the bits cut? Based in Southampton, looking at low volume for first order (3-5 sheets) happy to have it couriered.



Established Member
19 May 2018
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One tip that I can share is that when using my CNC with good quality birch ply, a compression bit has been brilliant and saves a lot of fiddly finishing. If you don't know, they use spiral upcut on the lower part of the bit and downcut on the top cutting part of the bit. That way, if you match the characteristics of the bit with the width of the board, you can minimise break out to basically zero. Really clean cuts. It sounds like it shouldn't work, but if your spindle can handle the appropriate speeds and feeds with the bit / material combination, it works like a charm.

On the tolerances, you've probably guessed that all machines are different. You'll need to discuss that with whoever you go with. I've got to say, laser cutting is really simple, there's really only about 3 settings to play with! CNC with wood products is a bit more complicated (OK, it's not rocket science) and worth you finding a local company with lots of experience in fabricating similar products that will take the time to advise you. I find that if we invest the time in "training" a new customer, it saves a lot of hassle long term.

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