Compact Grade laminate imposes greater demand on cutting tools and causes greater wear & tear. The degree of feed speed reduction depends on the thickness of the laminate and the quality of finish required. For best performance, one should consult tool manufacturers for the type and quality of tungsten carbide tipping. For long production runs, and where a high quality finish is required, consider tooling. In all machine processes, avoid localized heating caused by poorly maintained saws and cutters.
Always cut the panels with the long edge parallel to the length of the sheet. Dimensional movement across the width of the sheet is twice as great as it is along the length, so cutting panels with the long dimension running across the width of the sheet greatly increases the risk of bowing
As far as possible, the ambient conditions should be the same on each side of the panel, as it is important that both sides gain or lose moisture at roughly the same rate. Where panels are mounted on a wall or enclose a vanity unit, provide adequate ventilation to ensure that temperature and humidity conditions at the back of the panels are essentially the same as those in the front
Make fixing centres sufficiently close to prevent movement. Shower cubicle doors greater than 1500 mm high should have three hinges
Saw blades used for cutting double-sided composites are generally suitable for cutting Compact Grade laminates
Saws of less than 2 mm thickness are not recommended
Break-out on the underside of compact grade sheets can be reduced by various methods:
Using a pre-scoring blade on the underside
Using a base-board of plywood or hardboard beneath the sheet
Altering the exit angle of the saw blade by adjusting the height setting
When sawing a Compact Grade laminate with two decorative faces, the feed speed essentially governs the quality of the saw cut. A speed of 0.03 mm -0.05 mm per saw tooth has been found to be the most successful.
Profile cutting and edge finishing:
It is not necessary to apply edging strips or edge sealants to Compact grade panels. For many applications clean sawn edges are sufficient
To achieve a superior finish or a profiled edge, use a spindle moulder or router. For this type of work PCD tooling is recommended. It is not possible completely to avoid cutter marks, but they can be minimized by feeding the work at a constant controlled speed with a mechanical power feed. Take care to avoid pausing during cutting and profiling, which may result in burn marks that are difficult to remove. To obtain clean edges free of cutter marks, carry out a further sanding and scraping operation. Buffing with steel wool and applying silicone free oil enhances edges. Chamfering or profiling the edges of Compact grade panels reduces the risk of edge impact damage
The most suitable drills for use on Compact Grade laminates are those designed for plastic sheets. These drills have a point angle of 60°- 80° instead of the normal 120°fordrilling metal
To avoid break-out on the reverse side, gradually reduce the feed speed of the drilling head and the pressure applied when approaching the point of breakthrough. Working on a firm underlay, reduces the risk of break-out.
For blind boring into the face, the depth of the hole should be such that at least 1.5 mm of material remains between the bottom of the hole and the other side of the sheet. TCT lip and spur drills produce clean flat-bottomed blind holes, with low risk of point penetration on the reverse side. This allows maximum depth of material to be used for fixings. Compact Grade sheets less than 10 mm thick are not suitable for blind fixing. When drilling parallel to the surface (edge drilling) at least 3 mm of material must remain on either side of the hole. Threaded holes can be produced using engineer's screw cutting taps. Self-tapping screws or threaded brass inserts may also be used