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  1. #1
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    Mar 2018
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    3

    Phenolic CNC routing

    Hello,

    My company is designing a machine, specifically an antenna positioner for antenna testing, which requires a large number of pieces cut from phenolic sheet. The majority of the parts are 2D and cut from relatively thin sheet (0.093, 0.125, 0.250). A few parts are from thicker material (0.500) and have a chamfer, so they are partly 3D but should be quite doable on a CNC bed router with a chamfer bit.

    The machine parts are designed to be laid out in 48x96 sheets so that full sheets are used to make all the parts in general. The idea is to load one sheet, run the program, and get a number of parts out.

    I have been having trouble finding CNC router shops who are comfortable with phenolic XX (Garolite XX, Micarta XX, NEMA XX), and can do the work at reasonable prices. We're willing to work on the design to optimize it for minimal production cost (say provide rig holes, designated sprue points to retain parts, and so forth).

    We will need to make a few prototypes, and then maybe 10-20 units per year, each unit being about 3-4 sheets of phenolic XX. Parts of the machine might also be made from acetal if that proves to be overall lower cost, particularly the thicker pieces.

    If you do CNC bed routing of phenolic, please send contact me and we will send you example parts to quote.

    Mike Ciholas
    mikec@ciholas.com
    812 962 9408

    Ciholas, Inc
    3700 Bell Road
    Newburgh, IN 47630
    www.ciholas.com

  2. #2
    Community Moderator Al_The_Man's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
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    23197

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    I found Phenolic one of the easiest/nicest materials to work with, I wonder what their concern is?
    Al.
    CNC, Mechatronics Integration and Custom Machine Design

    “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
    Albert E.

  3. #3
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    3

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    Quote Originally Posted by Al_The_Man View Post
    I found Phenolic one of the easiest/nicest materials to work with, I wonder what their concern is?
    Al.
    We are baffled by this as well. We quoted a 0.500 acetal sheet of parts and it came out cheaper than XX despite acetal being much higher material cost. We have done some sample tests on our basic knee mill and find XX to be quite easily machined with good results, especially since it is stiff and thus handles machining forces so well. This has led us to believe we just haven't found the right shop yet. I have to believe there is a shop out there that can do this in a reasonable way.

    It has also made me consider buying my own CNC router. I'm reluctant to do that right now since we are at the prototype stage and having to learn CNC routing and buying a machine now seems a bit much. But perhaps, long term, that's the right solution.

    Mike C.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2014
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    37

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    do you have a good place to buy Phenolic ? sheet

    and are the different grades ?

    Thanks

  5. #5
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    May 2006
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    756

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    Why not waterjet ? perfect edges......
    Been doing this too long

  6. #6
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    3

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    Quote Originally Posted by bostosh View Post
    Why not waterjet ? perfect edges......
    We did a waterjet trial run on 0.125 XX. The water jet provider did not have the machine that predrills entry holes, so used the "blast through" method to start the cuts. This delaminated the phenolic quite badly and is unacceptable. Some delaminations were over 1 inch diameter in size.

    Here's an example of the predrill method which would work quite well:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5DH5ZYlBzw

    We have not found a provider who does this as of yet. We do have a lot of holes in our design, so predrill would take some time.

    Water jet would do most of what we want, but we still need a chamfer on some thicker (0.500) pieces, but that could be done by manual router with guide bearing and bit.

    Mike C.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2016
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    5

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    Hi, this is Joel Hofer, did u get someone to cut your phenolic parts yet?

  8. #8
    Registered
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    756

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    Can you justify leasing the machine ?
    Or check in with the machine builder and query the quantity and availability of machines in the field.
    I send data all over to many places. ship me parts, virtual shops, just own the data.
    The quantity is certainly worth dangling in front of them,
    to recover their tooling set-up costs
    How complex are these parts?
    Are they as complex as the 5axis waterjet cut graphite parabolic antenna parts?
    Been doing this too long

  9. #9
    Registered
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    135
    Quote Originally Posted by mciholas View Post
    Hello,

    My company is designing a machine, specifically an antenna positioner for antenna testing, which requires a large number of pieces cut from phenolic sheet. The majority of the parts are 2D and cut from relatively thin sheet (0.093, 0.125, 0.250). A few parts are from thicker material (0.500) and have a chamfer, so they are partly 3D but should be quite doable on a CNC bed router with a chamfer bit.

    The machine parts are designed to be laid out in 48x96 sheets so that full sheets are used to make all the parts in general. The idea is to load one sheet, run the program, and get a number of parts out.

    I have been having trouble finding CNC router shops who are comfortable with phenolic XX (Garolite XX, Micarta XX, NEMA XX), and can do the work at reasonable prices. We're willing to work on the design to optimize it for minimal production cost (say provide rig holes, designated sprue points to retain parts, and so forth).

    We will need to make a few prototypes, and then maybe 10-20 units per year, each unit being about 3-4 sheets of phenolic XX. Parts of the machine might also be made from acetal if that proves to be overall lower cost, particularly the thicker pieces.

    If you do CNC bed routing of phenolic, please send contact me and we will send you example parts to quote.

    Mike Ciholas
    mikec@ciholas.com
    812 om"]www.ciholas.com[/URL]
    Check out WSHampshire Inc
    They have all the resources u need

    Tell em Larry sent ya

  10. #10
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    9

    Re: Phenolic CNC routing

    I would love to help you out. I have a large machine 5x12 with a tool changer and a drill block.
    Feel free to contact me.

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