In the modern nesting application where results are measured by speed of processing, quality of cut and minimising down time it is essential that tooling is correctly selected and applied.  So often the tool is the poor cousin and when this happens efficiency is compromised.In the modern nesting application where results are measured by speed of processing, quality of cut and minimising down time it is essential that tooling is correctly selected and applied.  So often the tool is the poor cousin and when this happens efficiency is compromised.

Today’s flat bed CNC router is capable of feed speeds that in most applications exceed the limitations of the tool.

So what needs to be considered when selecting tooling?

Machine parameters and limitations

Things that need consideration:

  • Vacuum: Without sufficient vacuum or hold down the parts will move.  As soon as a part moves even a little bit the most likely outcome is a broken tool.  What is your policy with small parts – how do you avoid these moving?
  • Dust extraction: Nothing blunts a tool quicker than recutting the waste over and over again.  Is the extraction powerful enough or not directed correctly.  Can the situation be helped by a Tornado Nut?
  • Spindle power: Does the machine have the necessary power to cut the material?

Material to be processedNot all materials are created equal and for obvious good reasons.  Below is a list of the density of some commonly processed materials. So before embarking on the “one tool for all” policy please consider the material’s characteristics.

Product Thickness Density(kg/m3)
Particle Board 9-35mm 600
MDF 10-19mm 740-750
Compact Laminate Up to 15mm 1500
High Pressure Laminate 1.3mm 1500
Melaminee 0.18 1574
Plywood 12-25mm 550-700
HDF 12-18mm 910
MDF – light 10-29mm 600

Tool Holding

A correctly mounted tool has the best chance of success, conversely a poorly mounted tool has very little chance of success. Collets are wearing parts, designed to be replaced every 6-9 months, depending on the amount of usage. If your tool has marks from the collet, if your collet has burs on it or if you break a tool, you must replace the collet straight away.  Same goes for chucks, build up must be cleaned regularly, and it must be replaced if damaged.

Finish Required

Everyone has different expectations.  Some people are happy to accept some small inconsistent chips when routing while others are not- e.g. when processing doors. Others will have pre milling on their edge banders so use this to remove small chips from routing. This expectation will determine the parameters the tool is set at and also when the tool is removed.

Please take into account these factors when setting up tools in your CNC flat bed router for nesting.  Use the very best tool for the application and match the tool to the machine and the material, while at the same time ensure the housekeeping is top notch.