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Machining Compact Laminate

by Samuel Travers
Machining Compact Laminate

Image source: Nufurn Commercial Furniture

Compact laminate is a decorative panel with a broad variety of uses. It is known for strength and durability due to thermosetting resins, reinforced with cellulose fibres and manufactured under high temperature and pressure.

Machining this product is difficult because of its density.

The tool load during the processing of laminated panels is higher than in most woods and wood composites.

For machining small batches carbide tools can be used. For large quantities and the use of modern automated machines, we recommend the use of diamond-tipped tools.

The ideal chip formation when machining HPL panels is large-flaky or granular and without discolouration.

Working on CNC Routers

For routing (also for pockets and cut outs) Diamond tools and solid carbide spiral router bits are suitable.

The following points should be observed:

  1. For openings, round or square, do not cut the full panel thickness in one pass, but in several steps using the pocket milling program.
  2. Good side to be machined against the feed (conventional cut).
  3. Always select the largest tool diameter possible (reduced risk of vibration).
  4. When using solid carbide spirals the cut quality won’t be determined by the helix direction any more or less than normal routing. That being said take caution with stippled finished panels as by their nature these are best processed with a negative helix tool to help the vacuum hold the panel.

Part Number 10202583 – 12x22x16 z=2


Part Number 10110196 – 16x20x20 z=2


Part Number 10218078 – 16x19x20 z=4

Feed speed: 4-5 m/Min.

RPM: 18.000 U/Min.

This tool with solid tips and an integrated plunge tip will give the best cut quality.

Segmented PCD tools give a chattered finish where the tips overlap. Also, by using staggered teeth, in total you’ll have more millimetres of diamond touching the HPL. This will cause more heat than before.

Feed speed: 2-3m/Min.

RPM: 15.000 U/Min.


Cutting / rim speed: 1,5 – 2m/sec.

Workpiece clamping:

The panels must be drilled on a stable base. This prevents any breakout on the underside of the material.

To find out more about machining compact laminate and the tools, contact AKE Sales Tech today at 03 9553 1883 or email