Cutting Bamboo Plywood with a CNC Router

Bamboo can be hard on the equipment. Here's some advice about bit choice, feed speed, and RPMs. November 11, 2006

I've been using 1/2" compression diamond bits on Plyboo (amber and natural). 18000 rpm/4mm. This is per the manufacturer's recommendations, but I'm snapping the bits very quickly, sometimes after only nesting 3 sheets. I've been told that diamond is the way to go with Plyboo, but is there a better option? Or is this a tool speed problem? The bit gets so hot I feel like the feed rate should be faster, but the manufacturer says to keep it where we have it.

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor T:
You may find this link useful.

Related article: Diamond Tooling on Laminate

From contributor G:
We (Courmatt) have a number of firms using a CUD-375-33, 3+3 compression tool and have had great feedback.

From contributor M:
I have cut many sheets of 1/2" and 3/4" Plyboo as well as many of their competitor's equivalent sheet goods. I have used mainly 1/2" Leitz/Onsrud 2+2 mortise compression bits and 1/2" Vortex 2+2 mortise compression bits along with various 2 or 3 flute downspiral (pocketing) bits, all carbide. I have also used carbide forstner bits and drills (usually 5mm) and even high speed steel pilot drills, 1/16". I have never had a bit break in this material. They do get very gummed up with residue and go dull about every 10 - 15 sheets, depending on the number of parts.

I run my spindle a little slower at all times, as I believe it dramatically improves bearing longevity, so you will have to figure out your comparable feed rate. I run the 1/2" compression bits (carbide) at 12000 rpms and 5000mm/min through 3/4" material. The only thing I do differently than other materials is I lead in and out of each piece along one of the straight sides of the part instead of at a corner. I have had some parts become unusable from the splintering before applying this technique. You need to pick your lead in/out carefully, though. The material is very hard and tends to deflect the bit a little more than usual and can leave a noticeable indentation at entry/exit. I did have the 5mm carbide bradpoint drill start a fire after drilling a couple hundred holes, so now I split the drilling between 2 bits at about 50 holes at a time to make sure it doesn't happen again (very expensive mistake otherwise).