I have a store display job that requires we manufacture a large number of miter-folded cubes made out of walnut veneer plywood. Our prototype we made with the table saw, however I would like to explore manufacturing these on our CNC router. Is there any insight someone can give me to perhaps shorten my learning curve?
We used to do it. Had a bit made with a 91 degree angle. That kept the glue from prying the veneer apart on the corner. Veneer corners are very fragile! Things are not treated well in the retail business. One of the problems that is inherent with a Vee bit is that there is virtually no cutting action right at the point.
In response to Gary:
We cut to tape depth if we can, but if the parts are not rectangular, or the yield is terrible, we cut though and then tape off the machine. For anyone deciding on a machine, a V-groove saw with insert tooling is far superior to routing a mitre in a production scenario. We saw when we can, but still use a router bit when we can't. My advice is to add a fixed or servo controlled saw if you can. Aggregate heads are a step up, but not as rigid as a saw.
We miter folding all the time. Have made many boxes like you describe. You can use a CNC or an edge profile machine if you have one works better. We use 2" clear packing tape and tape it extensively. Also, you should cut a square piece the size of your inside opening and wrap the edges with tape to keep the glue from adhering to this piece. This piece will help to keep the box square. You should also cut hand holds into this piece so that you can pull it out when the corner joints have dried. The only time we use our CNC for this is when we are making tapered columns. Great fun, good luck.
You can miterfold on a CNC using either a bit, though an aggregate would be better. This issue with the bit is at the tip there is little cutting happening and the bit is more plowing thru the material. The cut at the point is the most important and will determine how good the product turns out.
A couple other suggestions I agree with is that plywood (veneer core) is probable the most difficult to miterfold. MDF core is the best to work with. A bit slighty over 90-degrees is better such as 90.5 or 91.
Precision of the machine is crucial as all you want left is the tape and should be cutting thru the veneer. Any deviations will show up in the finished product.
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