The notion of a “small” part depends
entirely on the type of job and material
you are processing. However, by rule of
thumb, any part smaller than the palm
of your hand should be considered
What follows are some of the best
conditions in which to cut small parts,
along with alternative methods if your
setup doesn’t quite fit the bill.
How to set up your CNC router
When processing small parts there will
inevitably be very little vacuum hold.
This may particularly be a problem at
the end of the cut cycle as the part is
likely to move.
There are several reasons why a part
may move on the bed during the cut-
ting process. Here are a few examples:
Poor vacuum due to the condition
of the sacrificial bed. If there are too
many previous cut lines your machine
will experience vacuum leakage, result-
ing in weak hold down.
Too many open zones. Ideally you
will only have zones open over the area
of your machine you plan on processing material.
How to hold small parts on your CNC router
By Ged Lodge
Using a sacrificial bed
Placed on top of a vacuum deck,
the sacrificial bed allows the router
to cut through material without damaging the deck. When set correctly,
the tool will very lightly mark the
surface of the MDF, which can be
skimmed to keep it smooth and flat
and to minimize vacuum leakage.
There are two ways to attach the
MDF. Option 1: the MDF is placed
loosely upon the machine and
requires the strength of the vacuum
pump or blower to hold it in place.
Option 2: the MDF is mechanically
fixed to the vacuum deck using