Four Tooling Techniques to Improve CNC Router Operation

The heart of a CNC router is its tooling – where technology gets down to the business of cutting wood. The fundamentals in best practices for tool mounting and machining were covered in a recent webcast at Woodworkingnetwork. Presenters noted that when selecting a tool to use for an upcoming project there are four considerations that should be factored into the decision.

1. Shorter Tooling Is Better

First, selecting a tool that has the shortest overall length possible, will guarantee that the tool is as rigid as can be. Maintaining a level of rigidity ensures the operator of high performance.

2. Set Shanks True

Second, adhering to proper collet setting techniques will safeguard against damaging the tool and shortening its life. The shank should also fill at least 75 percent of the internal diameter of the collet

3.  Match Tool Diameter to Material

Third, an important consideration that can easily be overlooked is tool diameter vs. material thickness. When an operator is in the process of cutting, the material is resisting the tool with every rotation. This is called tool deflection, where the tool wants to move off track but the machine wants to move in a linear path. By choosing a tool with a larger diameter, tool deflection sometimes can be prevented or reduced. This is not always the case; the operator will have to assess each project based on the material being cut.

4. Choose Proper Rotational Direction

Lastly, when cutting any material an operator may notice one side on the finished product looks good and the other side does not. This is determined by the direction in which the tool is rotating. Switching the rotation of the tool can make either the climb cut side or the conventional cut side the better looking side.