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CNC & MDF: Top 3 Tips for CNC Cutting MDF

What Is MDF?

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is a synthetic product that comes in flat boards. It’s used in different manufactering industries, especially furniture and cabinet making, as it’s a flat surface and uniform material.

MDF is usually manufactured from “waste” like small particles of wood chips and sawdust, mixed with glue and then applied to intense pressure and high temperature heat. This creates the familiar board that can you see in furnitures, beds, doors, and so on. Since MDF is generally cheaper than plywood, it’s said to bring down costs of “‘wooden” products. Mostly used in IKEA products.

Tip #1: Speeds & Feeds

Speed settings and feed settings are the most essential aspects of CNC milling. The speed of the rotation of the spindle and the feed rate of the tool determine the product’s surface quality, and later on it is more easy for sanding team and paints on surface will be more smooth and more clean.

Since MDF surface is more smoother compare to wood and plywood the result also will be better results in terms of surface finish at a high rotation speed of the spindle. However, a high revs rate means that a lot of heat is generated at the endmill, so a higher rotation rate is also required in order to avoid an accumulation of heat that could burn the MDF and damage the endmill. So lower rotation rate is better to avoid burns on the surface.

Tip #2: Speeds & Feeds


For endmills’ geometry, the choice is usually between up-cutting, down-cutting, and straight flute. Let’s take a closer look at the differences:

  • Up-cutting endmills are very common and, like a traditional drill bit, guide the chips up the endmill and away from the material. In working with Timber and MDF, this might result in tear-outs and splintering of the upper surface of the workpiece.

  • Down-cutting endmills do almost same the opposite: They push the particles down the endmill towards the material. This usually leaves more better smooth surface finishes on the piece but might result in a buildup of dust and particles around the endmill, creating more heat and more burn. Higher travel moves will be required to avoid localized heat buildup.

  • Straight endmills don’t have any twist in them and they’re more stronger and more durable. They’re usually more reasonable price and don’t create as much splintering as up-cutting endmills. They’re also equally as efficient as the other options in terms of possible feeds and speeds.

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