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  1. #1

    Newbie CNC project, cutting narrow pieces from glued boards. Help/advice please!

    Hey everyone!
    I’m used to doing laser cutting projects, but I’ve been wanting to get more into CNC so I can cut out larger items with thicker material.

    I’m needing to cut out several, large, custom art/photo wood frames. I’ve done my best to scour the internet to figure out how I should approach this, but I still need answers to questions that my Google searches have been failing me on. Since everything is so expensive right now, I’m just wanting to make sure I’m on a relatively clear path of knowing how to correctly do this before I screw up a million times wasting money.

    Project: I am needing to cut several tall and narrow pieces (pieces of an all-together large outline with a 0.5” line stroke. Gluing together after cutting out separately) out of wood- both pieces that are straight, as well as a bit curved. Each piece is approximately 0.5” wide and 17” tall.
    I am planning on cutting out several of these pieces on a 24”x48” panel.

    I need the pieces to be at least 0.75” thick and relatively smooth without tons of money, so I’m staying away from plywood and was thinking of gluing four 6” x 1” pine boards together to create the 24”x48” panel. The wood is going to be painted in acrylic, so I’m not bothering with buying fancy pretty wood. I was planning on buying a 1/4” compression bit to cut it (?)

    My questions:

    1. Do you think it’s feasible to cut out these thin shapes out of a panel made of glued 1” pine boards? What is the chance of them snapping? If not good, which kind of wood boards would be better, or am I stuck with plywood or mdf?
    2. To prevent snapping on items this thin, how far apart should I place the tabs?
    3. If these tall and narrow pieces are 0.5” wide, is that too thin? Do I need to make them 0.75” or 1”?
    4. Would a 1/4” compression bit be appropriate for this?
    5. Are the normal small knots in pine going to be an issue?
    6. I’m trying to fit as many pieces as possible on the panel. I currently have my pieces spaced 2” apart from each other. If the 1/4” bit is appropriate, is that enough material to leave in-between?
    7. This isn’t specific for this project, but I’ve been wanting to know this for a different project idea and I cannot for the life of me find the answer on Google. I’m used to taking kerf into consideration with the laser cutter. There is always lost material from the laser that has to be accounted if you want to snugly fit together items. Is the same with CNC? I wouldn’t think so, as the bit cuts around the outside of the shape/vector, instead of on the middle center of the line like the laser. But, I couldn’t verify that anywhere online.

    I appreciate your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Re: Newbie CNC project, cutting narrow pieces from glued boards. Help/advice please!

    I'm trying to make sense of this project, but not having much luck. It sounds like you're gluing up pieces of wood to make a panel, then slicing it up into thin strips again. Am I missing something here? Why not just use a saw to cut the boards into thin strips - because you have a CNC machine but not a saw? Why glue the boards up into a panel in the first place? Are you trying to make curving pieces of wood that wouldn't fit in a 6" board? And you don't have a bandsaw?

    One thing I can say for sure - yes; if you've got a big knot in a piece of pine 1/2" thick, this will be a problem. A tiny knot, not so much.
    Andrew Werby

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