Speeds and Feeds Used to Improve CNC Efficiency

Wondering about ways to improve your CNC efficiency while still getting clean cuts and reducing down time?  Use the following speeds and feeds settings from LMT Onsrud and also MultiCam as a starting point and play around with them until you get the right combination for the router bits you are using and also the CNC machine.

By varying the speeds and feeds and chip load settings, you can produce either chips or dust when routing Precision Board HDU.  Here’s some tips for maximizing routing time and saving wear and tear on your CNC machine.

speeds and feeds

Cutting tools play an important role when using a CNC router. The right cutting tool when combined with proper speeds and feeds can cut your machining down dramatically and increase the life span of your cutting tool.

Coastal Enterprises has partnered with LMT Onsrud, a cutting tool manufacturer, to provide the most up-to-date speeds and feeds information for routing Precision Board HDU.  Part of this partnership includes a database maintained and updated by LMT Onsrud to help choose the right cutting bit for the right material.

Why is it so important to set your router to certain speeds and feeds for each bit?

The proper cutting tool used with speeds and feeds information lets you achieve optimum chip load. Proper chip load allows the cutting tool to move in and out of the material quicker, leading to more efficient CNC machining.

You can optimize your chip load by setting the feed rate and cutter speed to yield the largest chip that produces the desired surface finish. Precision Board HDU is non-abrasive, which also prolongs tool life.

Here’s a useful formula from LMT Onsrud, manufacturer of router bits and cutting tools:

Chip Load = Feed rate/ RPM x # of flutes

To increase chip load:

Increase feed rate
Decrease RPM
Use a cutter with fewer flutes

To decrease chip load:

Decrease feed rate
Increase RPM
Use a cutter with more flutes

With a little experimentation you’ll become an expert at machining Precision Board. Proper cutter selection and machine setup will produce a smooth cut, leaving chips that fall to the ground and do not become airborne. And because we’ve added an anti-static agent to Precision Board, chips don’t cling to your work or your equipment.

Using optimal settings for your CNC router is also important.  That’s why we have also partnered with MultiCam, manufacturer of CNC routers, to provide another set of speeds and feeds settings for routing Precision Board HDU using their CNC machines.

CNC is an acronym for, “Computer Numerical Control.” Essentially, CNC machinery is a computer operated mechanism which precisely cuts or engraves complex shapes in HDU, metal, plastic, stone, wood, and a range of various medium types. In order to accurately cut or engrave a design, a programmer must map a numerical code through CAD (Computer-aided Design) and/or CAM (Computer-aided Manufacturing) software which is interpreted by the computer and used as a blueprint or tool path.

speeds and feeds

MultiCam used their APEX3R CNC Router to cut different shapes and patterns out of our Precision Board HDU. Settings varied depending on what density they were machining. You can see those specific settings below and in the videos on our YouTube Channel. MultiCam used their own router bits to cut the HDU material.  They used a 3/16” Ball Nose (Part # 95-00047-52-260B) and a 1/2” End mill (Part # 95-00047-63-790).

By experimenting with these different speeds and feeds settings, and using the chip load formula, it’s possible to produce chips or dust and determine the optimal settings to maximize your CNC efficiency.  Using a variety of tools and settings will also add life to your CNC machine and save wear and tear on your cutters.

You can view all of our speeds and feeds videos on our YouTube Channel under the “Routing / Machining” playlist.

LMT Onsrud is a premium cutting tool manufacturer servicing the metal working, composite, wood and plastics (HDU) industries.  Their tooling can be found within various industrial markets – aerospace, medical, composites, plastics, woods – and are used in making the products you use on a daily basis.

MultiCam is a global supplier of innovative CNC cutting solutions for industries ranging from sign making to digital finishing, sheet-metal to plate-steel processing, hardwoods to cabinet making, thermoform trimming to plastics fabrication, as well as a wide variety of aerospace and automotive applications.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board HDU, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane material that is particularly effective for applications in signage, theming, modeling, aerospace, automotive, marine and industrial.  It is a closed-cell rigid substrate that does not rot, warp or crack.  You can request free samplesget a quote or sign up for periodic newsletters packed with helpful information.

Smooth-On’s ISA Display Made from Precision Board & Steel

When Smooth-On needed some eye-catching display pieces for the 2018 ISA Sign Expo, they approached Jim Dawson at Synergy Sign & Graphics in Ohio. They were familiar with some other gear pieces Jim’s shop had done for MultiCam & for display in their own shop.

Smooth-On only had two requests- show all their logos and use as many of their products in the fabrication of the displays as possible. Synergy delivered a final product made from Precision Board HDU, steel & coating products from Smooth-On and Coastal Enterprises.


“Smooth-On wanted us to take our previous gear designs and adapt them into something that fit their brand,” says Dawson.  “The biggest thing was to incorporate their logos into some spots and use as many of their products across the piece as possible to showcase how their products are used,” he added.

They needed the piece to be 24” deep by 18” wide by 4’ feet tall, so Jim created a steel frame on the inside and covered it with Precision Board HDU.

“We plasma cut 1/8” steel and bonded the Precision Board directly to the steel.”  Dawson says, “it made assembly easier and saved us time and material by being able to locate the steel easier when welding brackets.”

Jim used Smooth-On’s Freeform Habitat, which is a two-part epoxy clay. They also used Freeform Sculpt, which is an epoxy clay with a different viscosity.  “It’s thicker bodied and more like hard clay,” he says.  Jim adds, “all of their epoxies have great adhesion.”

Mold Star 15 SLOW was used to make silicone molds for parts.   Dawson also used Smoothcast Onyx SLOW.  “We cast the molds in silicone and then made resin copies.”

Dawson added some nods to Synergy Sign and Graphics on the piece.  “You can see an ‘s’ in the middle of the gear piece on the side. There’s also a badge on four sides of it.”  He added, “SSG Heavy Industries was us putting our initials on it.”

The Smooth-On badge was cast with copper powder and patina to age it.  “Everything that was cast was carved in 30lb Precision Board first. We would then dump silicone into the mold to make negative copies,” he added. “We knew it was an inside piece, so we used a little primer and TSF-45 to texture it. That’s my go to coating for 75% of the coating we do here.”


The design process took a few months of back and forth, but once that was set, it only took Synergy Sign about a week and a half to rout and paint.  Total routing time was about 8 hours for a ½ sheet of 2” thick 4×8 and a full sheet of 1” thick 4×8 of the PBLT-30 Precision Board HDU.

The paints were all Kemiko Theme Paint (thick). Modern Masters and Novacolor Acrylic Artists’ Paint.


We think that Jim Dawson and his team do some really excellent work. Synergy Sign & Graphics has a highly experienced staff whose backgrounds include graphic design, marketing, trade-show design, print media, branding, point of purchase design, fulfillment, and more. Check out their website or give them a call at (330) 878-7646 to see about your next project!

Coastal Enterprises offers free samples of Precision Board HDU.  Already have a project in mind for our material?  Request a quote and get started today.  Sign up for our monthly blog roundup so you don’t miss any of our informative blogs.  Have a special project fabricated with Precision Board HDU and want to know if it could be featured in a blog on our website?  Give us a call at 800-845-0745 or drop us an email with details.  We’d love to hear from you!

Skallywag Bay Adventure Park – Another Sawatzky Masterpiece!

Coastal Enterprises, manufacturers of Precision Board HDU, is proud to announce a series of guest blogs written by Dan Sawatzky of Imagination Corporation, which will be posted on the Precision Board Blog each month. In this month’s entry, Dan Sawatzky tells us about the long journey from start to finish of the fantastical Skallywag Bay theme park, which his team built from top to bottom using a variety of materials, including PBLT-30 Precision Board HDU.

Skallywag Bay

We’ve been blessed with some amazing projects through the years. One of the most challenging and fun is now just wrapping up after five years of work. It actually began two years before that when a fellow from Trinidad came calling. He had been searching for many years for someone to build him a theme park on the most southerly Caribbean island. He looked over our projects, toured our shop and declared us to be the builders. But things don’t move quickly in the Caribbean for it is a laid back and beautiful place.

Skallywag Bay

In 2013 I did my first site visit and we began the planning. Over the next year that master plan was reworked many times as ideas changed. The site grew as did the scope of the project. After a dozen master plans everyone finally agreed. Skallywag Bay Adventure Park was ready to be started. It was now a 2.5 acre theme park. There would be an adventure golf, a train, climbing walls, bumper boats, a drop tower ride, swing ride and a small spinning roller coaster. There would also be a kid’s play park, picnic area and a concession. All would be themed to a pirate theme. But not ordinary pirates…

Imagine a place — a special place that isn’t anything like our world. It’s a place where imagination rules the day, where everyday concerns melt away and those who come here simply have fun with family and friends. This is a place where lifetime memories are created.

Everyone has heard the stories of pirates, the Kraken and other maritime legends. Are they true? Did it all really happen? We believe! But we know it didn’t happen quite like everyone thinks or remembers. It actually happened much differently…

Back in the day, a long, long time ago there were indeed swashbuckling pirates. While mere men might have crewed the lesser pirate vessels, the true pirates were a unique band of creatures called Gruffles. Neither human nor animal, the Gruffles lived in a secret hideaway called Skallywag Bay. When not out pillaging and gathering treasure they lived peaceably in their tropical paradise. They were the Robin Hood of pirates (with a twist of course) stealing gold from other pirates and keeping it for all for themselves! They were industrious folk, building their homes and other wonders from salvaged ships and locally found materials. They were ingenious inventors with mechanical minds, far ahead of
their time.

The legend of the Kraken was in fact founded on truth, but it was not based on a living beast as you may have heard. It’s origin is found in the Gruffle’s giant mechanical squid, crafted from forged metal and heavy wood timbers. The wooden pirate ships of old were no match for this fearsome, mechanical wonder. Few mariners survived to tell of this terror of the seas.

These legends live on to this very day. Rumour has it that bountiful treasure is buried in these parts.

This is the TRUE legend of Skallywag Bay.

I made seventeen trips to Trinidad in all, most for a duration of three or four days, plus two travel days. It took about twenty-one hours of travel one way. There were also more than five thousand emails and countless phone calls and Skype conferences to get everything right, It was very fun but also extremely challenging!

Skallywag Bay

Since we were building all of our features and signs in our shop and I would be making only occasional trips to Trinidad, we needed detailed drawings for the local contractors to build all of the infrastructure for the park. There were many pages of formal drawings. We regularly communicated with Skype calls, emails and by phone. Hundreds of quick drawings were done on the fly to make sure everyone understood what was required. This was the very first theme park on the Caribbean island of Trinidad.

Skallywag Bay

The concept art I drew for the things we would build in our shop was much simpler and much fewer in number for this is what we do every day.

Skallywag Bay

Many of the sign components for Skallywag Bay were routed from 30 lb Precision Board. We knew it would stand up to the harsh weather it would endure. Rather than our usual cold and ice we were concerned with heat, humidity and the salty sea blast.

Skallywag Bay

The sign details were hand sculpted using sculpting epoxy and then hand painted using acrylic paints.

Skallywag Bay

While we were building the signs with miniature replicas we were also building full size versions of the features for the park. They were built using fibreglass reinforced concrete over welded steel armatures. As we completed each piece we loaded them into shipping containers – eighteen in all. Each time we had three containers full we sent them on their way down the coast and through the Panama Canal to Trinidad. The trip took six – eight weeks.

We went through plenty of 30 lb Precision Board on this project for there were more than a hundred signs in all. Some, like the small ships for the signs, were routed in layers and then laminated together.

Skallywag Bay

Like our bigger pieces, the small ships were carefully detailed by hand and then painted using acrylic paints and glazes.

These signs were like many of the others and involved using a variety of materials including Precision Board and sculpted fibreglass reinforced concrete over a welded steel frame.

Skallywag Bay


We also built a full-sized version of the sailing ship for the project. It ‘floats’ in the bumper boat pool and mini golfers play over it as part of the fun.

The Skallywag Bay project was far too large for our team to do alone. We partnered with two rock work teams. One would do skull rock which was a climbing wall. The other team would do a variety of rock work through the park. To guide them we built a series of study models for them to use as a reference and guide. We used Precision Board HDU as a rough shape. The final detail was put on with a thin layer of sculpting epoxy.

Skallywag Bay

Each attraction got its own sign made from PBLT-30 Precision Board. We made the signs with multiple layers of Precision Board and laminated a steel structure inside for durability.

We routed the 30 lb Precision Board on our MultiCam and then laminated all of the pieces together. The fine detail was quicker and easier to sculpt by hand using sculpting epoxy.

Skallywag Bay

Each sign visually told the story of the truffles and Skallywag Bay. All with an over-the-top sense of humour, of course. This was a place to have fun after all!

The Treasure Quest sign points the way to the kid’s play park. It is mounted to a tree which is sculpted from fibreglass reinforced concrete. This sign, like most, features a character who ‘lives’ in the park. The parrot’s name is Parlay.

Skallywag Bay

We certainly stretched the bounds of tongue in cheek humour with many ridiculous visual puns. The keeper of Skull Rock, the climbing wall, is none other than Webster – a turtle like creature. He also happens to be great at climbing and is featured on the attraction sign.

Skallywag Bay

Our crew had a blast building and finishing the many signs. Here Angie is putting the finishing touches on the Bountiful Booty sign for the souvenir shop.

There were scores of smaller signs as well. All were dimensional and finished on all sides. Once routed and laminated with some steel they were welded into a larger assembly and then the ‘bamboo’ fibreglass reinforced concrete post was sculpted.

Skallywag Bay

We partnered with other vendors from around the world for this project. Three of the rides were made in Italy. I did up the concept design for the car bodies and we also did a physical prototype of the medallion that would be fastened to the side of each vehicle. The ride manufacturer then pulled a mold off of our sample and made many more. The prototype was routed from Precision Board, of course!

Skallywag Bay

One of the rides we did for the park was especially close to my heart, for I love trains. Pike is the mascot for this ride and his likeness is featured on the sign. Like most of the others, the sign is a combination of routed Precision Board, sculpted epoxy and hand sculpted fibreglass reinforced concrete.

We built the body for the train in our shop while the fully powered and functioning chassis was fabricated in California by a renowned park train builder there. To guide their efforts and show how it would all fit together we constructed two detailed models. One we kept for our permanent display. The other we sent to California.

Skallywag Bay

The Skallywag Bay Adventure Golf sign was one of the most complex and featured many components. All of the sign pieces were routed from Precision Board.

Each time we filled three containers we would call the trucks and bring in a giant crane. They would be lifted onto the trailer frames and then transported to the ports for the journey to Trinidad. As construction in Trinidad took much longer than we were used to (island time) the eighteen containers full of our features and many others from the other vendors as well sat for more than a year before we opened them to start taking out the features and setting them in their permanent homes. Everything made the 7000 mile journey in perfect shape.

Skallywag Bay is still not officially open… but I’m told it will happen soon… on island time, I’m sure.

Sawatzky’s Imagination Corporation is a small family company that specializes in the design and creation of dimensional signs and environments. They tackle projects of any size from small signs to entire theme parks. Their work has garnered numerous national and international awards.

Dan Sawatzky is best described as a creative force and visual storyteller extraordinaire. His art career spans almost fifty years of magic. Dan’s passion is to design and create imaginative places that take people from the normal world to a setting of delight and wonder.

Coastal Enterprises manufactures Precision Board HDU, a versatile, cost-effective and eco-friendly urethane sign material that is particularly effective for making professional-looking indoor and outdoor dimensional signs.  It is a closed-cell rigid substrate that does not rot, warp or crack.  You can request free samplesget a quote or sign up for periodic newsletters packed with helpful information.