CNC Wood Router Tables and Router Options"Custom Fabricated CNC Plasma Cutting Systems To Meet Your Everyday Needs"
Want to Use A Router on Our Fab-Cut® CNC Plasma Cutting Tables?
Having a CNC router option available on your machine allows you flexibility in what you can do with your investment. If you choose to add a router system to your unit, we will upgrade the motors to ensure maximum power to drive it through the easy and harder materials like aluminum and hardwood.
At this time we offer the DeWalt 2.25 HP variable speed router as our standard choice but if you require a heavier duty system, we can offer you a much more robust option with the HSD spindle router controlled by a Lenze controller. The HSD Spindle Router is available in a 1.7 KW to 5 KW motor size to meet a variety of needs. This will require 220V 1 phase power to operate the system.
Things to know about using a CNC table to do router work on our Fab-Cut® CNC plasma cutting tables.
1. USE A SCREW INSTEAD OF A HOLDING TAB.
To keep a part steady while being routed, many people insert holding tabs in the pattern. The tabs act as tiny bridges that hold the milled part to the stock material. The number of tabs depends on the part that you’re cutting. “There is a balance between using more tabs than necessary, and not enough,” said Hood-Daniel. “Not enough, and the tabs can snap during the milling process. More than necessary, and you waste much of your time breaking them away after the job is done.”
When holding tabs won’t do the job, use holding screws instead. Drill two or more holes into the part to be cut, and manually screw these holes to the spoil board (the sacrificial material supporting your project from underneath) before cutting around the perimeter of the object.
2. MAINTAIN YOUR MACHINE AND USE THE CORRECT END MILL.
As often as we’re reminded, everyone neglects one of the main workshop rules: Maintain your tools. This is crucial when it comes to CNC machines. If the CNC isn’t calibrated or is out of square, the output won’t match the input, no matter how long you’ve pored over the plans.
Two-fluted compression bit. Once you’ve made sure that your machine is properly maintained, check your end mill or router bit — the cutting piece that connects into the machine. “It’s very important to use an end mill that is specified for the particular material you are using,” said Hood-Daniel. “There are end mills specific for wood, plastic, aluminum, steel, and so on.”
The shape of the bit matters as well. Down-cut bits tend to press the material downward as they are cutting, while up-cut bits pull the material up. Compression bits create a clean surface on both sides. Then you must consider the number of flutes, or the edges that wrap around the mill, which affect your feed rate and the edge’s finish. Make sure that you have the appropriate bit for your intended part. Hood-Daniel goes into a more in-depth discussion of end mill selection.
3. PULL OUT THE OLD ONE-TWO.
“In order to cut more accurate parts with clean edges, many CNC users will run their machine in many light, shallow passes,” said Hood-Daniel. “This process is very slow, and wears [down] the tip of the end mill.”
Instead, program two separate roughing and finishing operations when you’re in the CAM (Computer-Assisted Manufacturing) stage of assigning machining operations. The first pass will make a wide cut around the entire part, and then the second pass will shave the edges clean. Not only will your cuts be cleaner, but your end mill will also last longer.
4. ADJUST YOUR FEED RATE AND DEPTH PER PASS.
Using the incorrect feed rate can have some interesting consequences, besides a broken mill and a creaky, inaccurate CNC. “If you run your machine too slow, you risk burning the material or gumming up the cutting tool with melted material. In the case of milling aluminum, it can turn the end mill into a solid rod … not very useful for cutting,” Hood-Daniel said.
Generally speaking, plywood cuts best at a rate of 80 inches per minute (ipm) and a depth per pass of about 0.4 inches. Acrylic Plexiglas works best at 130 ipm, with a depth per pass of 0.03 inches. Hood-Daniel urges the CNC user to keep in mind that these are general guidelines. Factors as disparate as the end mill’s sharpness and the material’s temperature can affect how quickly and easily the material will be cut.
Another tip regarding cutting depth is to set the target depth to be slightly deeper than the true thickness of your material. For example, “if cutting ¾-inch plywood, set your target depth to around 0.8 inches,” said Hood-Daniel. This ensures a full-depth cut.
5. PRACTICE LOSSLESS DESIGN.
Carelessly laid-out designs are the bane of both the environment and your dusty garage floor. Implement the principles of “lossless design” and lay each component as close to the other ones as possible. “If you place parts edge to edge, the end mill only cuts through the material once along the shared edge,” said Hood-Daniel. That saves you time and money. It also lengthens the lifespan of your end mill.