CNC Production Rates

A discussion of ballpark numbers: How many sheets will a CNC router cut in a day, and how many before you need a new bit? June 30, 2007

I cut mostly MDF and I am now considering the purchase of a CNC router. I would like to know how many sheets of MDF one router bit can cut and at what speed?

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor D:
Depends on the bit, material, and machine.

From contributor G:
We cut a lot of MDF composites. It really does depend on a lot of different factors. For 1.25" cut through, we rough cut with .250 in three passes at 250 ipm, finish with .187" Onsrud super O at 300 + ipm.

If you are cutting a few large parts, they last a real long time. A lot of little parts and they won't last as long. If I venture an average run time of one hour per sheets of parts at these speeds. I would run 8-12 sheets. Others may switch their cutters out sooner or later. This is subject to cut quality and other factors.

From the original questioner:
Okay, based on your experiences, will I be able to cut 50-100 sheets of MDF a day? And at this rate, how long will a router bit last? Which router bits are the best?

From contributor A:
Depending on the size of the parts and the cycle time per sheet, I think you would have a hard time cutting 50 sheets a day in one shift with any tooling. If you figure 6 sheets per hour (pretty fast), an 8 hour day would only yield 48 sheets.

From contributor G:
50-100 sheets per day... I would be lucky to get my guys to move that many, let alone cut them. It all depends on what you are cutting out of each sheet. Would you be willing to post an example with dimensions? Or at least a description, i.e.: 49x97 sheet 3/4 MDF, cutting 8 circles 23 3/4 diameter, with holes drilled and centers at 60% decorative removal (lots of detail), with beveling one side... 1 hour 30 minutes cut time, 5 minutes to remove and clear table, reload and go.

Cutters... I only use carbide, sometimes cheap ones, sometimes expensive ones. Mostly Onsrud.

From contributor G:
As has been mentioned, there are a lot of factors, such as HP, type of CNC, type of parts (small/large), etc. With a 1/2" tool 65+ sheets. Speed depends on the equipment and part size. Bank on 600IPM+.

From contributor R:
We've got a dual bed SCM Router - we cut between 70-100 sheets a day.

From contributor G:
How would you describe the parts you cut from those sheets?

From contributor R:
Carcass material and panels - and doors. Obviously depending on the door profile - a flat square door takes no time, but our more elaborate ones take half an hour a sheet. If we can get a run at pure carcass, we can comfortably cut 100 sheets a day.

One thing I will say - having a dual bed is well worth it. Another supplier put a single bed with a pusher table on it - not bad, until you think you're likely to have 60-90 seconds down time between sheets - which if you're cutting around 60 sheets a day is probably an hour of lost production.

From contributor E:
I have cut 55 sheets in an 8 hour work day. Roughly 6 minutes a sheet at 750 ipm.