I have been working with Microvellum for over a year in several shops that use nested-base routers exclusively. Very shortly I will be starting a fantastic opportunity that will most likely land me with a P2P/beam saw operation, my first experience with these machines.
I am a nested-base MV guru, but my lack of experience with these other machines is making me a little nervous. Should I be? I always thought that a P2P machine was used mostly for drilling and that the beam saw cut the actual cabinet parts, but...
If that's the case, how does a beam saw cut the toe kick in the side of a cabinet? If two machines are needed to build a cabinet this way, then I have to ask... why? That's two machines, meaning that for starters, the material has to be handled more than once. I've been told a beam saw cuts faster than a router. Fair enough, but doesn't a beam saw move in just one direction while cutting? Plus, even I know that a beam saw can't cut a 90 degree corner (i.e. toe kick) like a router can. Or can it?
I'd especially like to hear from anyone who's using Cutrite with MV combined with a beam saw and P2P. I'd like to hear from as many people as possible, so please speak your mind. Thanks!
From contributor R:
Your questions are valid. Before software made nesting easy and fast (only about 10 years ago), most shops used a beam saw and boring machines. The P2P came along and automated the vertical boring. Then routers were added and toe kicks were cut out on the P2P as well. With CNCs and software being so cheap and flexible now, this combo does not make sense for most shops anymore. But for large volume shops that are making multiples of the same cabinets, the beamsaw P2P still works. The beam saw can cut several sheets of material in each cut, and most software packages can output cutlist programs to it as well as the CNC.
As many times as this subject has been discussed, I still don't see how for likely 95% of the shops out there, nested base doesn't excel over point to point. People point to nebulous time studies, but rarely cite real results of these studies with any real support. Add total floor space and cost of a beam saw, the CNC you need anyway of whichever format, multiple times handling parts, sorting issues, reduced material yields, etc. Well, I could get very far off your question here, but you see where I stand.
It's a little like the argument for using stop dados, a method that was invented in the days before CNC and well suited to table saw operations on your nested base router over dowel/confirmat, which is very well suited to CNC. Blast away all you PTP guys, I can feel it coming! I suppose all you stop dado guys may be chiming in too!
I also think that pod/rail machines are more versatile than nested machines, and our saw is used for more than just cabinet parts, i.e. tops/backs/hangers/toekicks/doors/etc.