One of the more frequent inquiries we receive at Coastal Enterprises involves questions about CNC machining of Precision Board HDU. Typical questions include, “what type of cutter works best,” “where do I start with my speed and feed settings,” and “what should my chip load be?” We asked our friends at MultiCam USA to rout shapes with a CNC Router into PBLT-15, PBLT-30, and PBLT-40 densities of Precision Board and let us in on what speeds and feeds settings they used to achieve maximum results.
CNC is an acronym for, “Computer Numerical Control.” Essentially, CNC machinery is a computer operated mechanism which precisely cuts or engraves complex shapes in 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 template.
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 cutting into. 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).
In addition to the MultiCam router bits, a wide variety of HSS cutters commonly used for wood and plastics work very well for machining Precision Board HDU, and a wide range of settings will produce great results.
If you are not getting the desired results, try adjusting your settings. Different densities of Precision Board will require different settings, much like different grades of wood will have different settings.
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. While Precision Board HDU does not conduct heat and is non-abrasive, this will ensure that heat is carried away from the cutter, prolonging 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 will not cling to your work or your equipment.
Settings for Zeus (PBLT-15)
o FeedRate: 500
o RPM: 18,000
o Chipload: .0277
Settings for Long Horn (PBLT-30)
o FeedRate: 350
o RPM: 16,000
o Chipload: 0.19
Settings for Dragon (PBLT-40)
o FeedRate: 500
o RPM: 8,000
o Chipload: .0625
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.
Precision Board HDU can be cut with a router, waterjet or laser and can also be hand-carved. It is also eco-friendly with, “green” urethane components. It has a certified “Carbon Balance” of 3 to 1 and a “Rapidly Renewable resource Content” of 23.9%. Learn more green facts here.
Need help with a quote? Click here or call us at 800-845-0745. We’d love to hear from you!