Can diamond tooling help with tool life on cutting laminate? I've heard you have to reduce feed rates to use this tooling. Is this true? What feed rates can we get? We're using 1/2" compression bits now.
Diamond tools will very definitely last many, many times longer than carbide tipped or solid carbide. And don't run them any slower! The geometry of a diamond tool is very similar to that of a compression spiral. Running a bit fast helps to keep it cool, and that helps tool life. Without knowing how fast you go now, I'd suggest you turn the 1/2" bit at 15000 rpm and feed it at 350 ipm (9000mm/min). Increase the feed rate as you feel comfortable. When you get up to 500 ipm, you'll probably want to start turning up the rpm, also.
In conclusion, as was stated--speed or long life? Whatever is best for you. My feeling is you cannot sacrifice for speed because your machine time is the most expensive part of the operation. So if you can cut 100 parts/hour with a compression, do you want to go to 30 parts/hour with a diamond? Tooling cost is not much of a factor compared to machine cost, if you look at it that way. The compression is also a lot cheaper and your production is increased.
The bottom line: they wanted somewhere between 700 and 800 bucks for a custom bit. I am currently using 3/8" compression to the tune of 37 bucks apiece, that I get decent life out of. I use them until the cut quality goes south, and throw them away. In my situation it's a no-brainer. Diamond definitely has its place, but it's just not for what I'm doing.
Brian Personett, forum technical advisor
The only problem was a crappy PB core. PB is not always free of foreign objects. I've seen clumps of reddish matter, and I've heard of nuts, screws, sand, dirt and our GM even found a piece of conduit in PB a few years ago. I have seen a few sparks while using carbide in PB cores.
So after a while, the edge of the cutter will chip and leave ridges in the core edge (still cut a good p-lam edge, though). I ran probably 150-200 sheets of 2/s lam until the bander operator said the ridges were a problem (no edge cutter on the bander).
Another possible problem was that I use NBM, chips of laminate in between parts that were not picked up by the dust collector, and trying to re-cut them might also have played a role in the chipping of the tool.
I still use them to cut plywood and other things where the ridges aren't an issue. (Plywood can eat carbide pretty fast, too.)
One more thing: if you cut MDF raw or laminated, go with diamond.
Comment from contributor K:
I run 1/2" diamond PCD bits on laminated panels - lam on 3/4 core, sometimes both sides. I run it at 18000 rpm and 330 ipm and the edge is perfect and so sharp you could cut tomatoes with it. I have run it at 20000 rpm and 500 ipm with no problems, as well, but usually run it slower just because it is a little easier on the machine.