Improving Particleboard Cut Quality with a CNC Router

Edge tears or voids may be unpreventable, given typical particleboard quality. June 30, 2007

I am cutting some particleboard with a 1/2 compression bit at 18000 rpm at 20 meters a minute and it's ripping voids in the center of the edge, causing the edge tape to look bumpy. What can I do to stop it?

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor K:
Welcome to the new and improved PB core! It's great! All of our board is that way and the only cure we have found is to slow the feed and burn up cutters a little more. The triple and double flutes seem to work better than the single. You will not be able to stop all the voids - it is the material. Also look out for big chunks of resin or black looking rocks, they will damage your cutters from time to time.

From the original questioner:
How many sheets do you get out of a bit?

From contributor K:
That is tough because sometimes a program takes 5 minutes and sometimes they take 90 minutes. I would say you should be able to get 5-6 hours of machining per bit if not longer; you can go longer with raw board than mel. The material quality has been horrible. They have a newer process for PB core and from what I understand, that is what everyone will be getting.

From contributor J:
Step down to 12 or 13 meters per minute.

From contributor S:
Why does everyone use compression cutters? 80% of our cutting is done with a 30mm insert cutter. There is no deflection and you can run fast and top and bottom edges are clean. Compressions pull the bottom chips up and the top chips down. They meet in the middle and build up heat and can mess with the quality of the edge.

From contributor K:
Most people use comps (solid carbide) for the speed. You cannot reach the high feeds with an insert cutter that you can reach with solid carbide, and that is a fact. On the other hand, you can get better cuts from an insert in some cases. I still don't think the comp is the main problem here. The board sucks. We get huge voids in the edge from the panel saw and you can see air gaps in the board. Look at the size of strands that are being used now for the continuous press PB. We still get the old PB, but it is rare and we buy a lot of board. I think we have at least 600 bunks of PB core on hand and I bet we are lucky if 1 bunk is good PB.

From contributor D:
The others are right about the board quality - it is bad. Though about feed speeds and number of sheets cut, if I were you, I would speed it up a little - say 25 mpm. It will probably yield you more sheets per bit.

I currently cut at about 944 ipm (about 24 mpm) and I get a yield of around 250-300 4x8 sheets 2 sided melamine from 1 bit sharpening and resharpen 1 or 2 times. Your cut quality will not change due to board quality. If you are looking for a better edge for edge banding, I would switch to a MDF core.