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How to work with solid wood on a CNC Router (White Oak Planks)

We made these planks for a combination metal/wood staircase. As you may know when you go to a wood dealer to find solid planks for a CNC project, more often than not you will not find the best fit for machining. Once you buy the raw material and maybe glue it and run it through the plainer, the plank may appear to be flat leading you to believe suction would not be a problem, in reality this is not guaranteed. We cannot assume that the wood will stay in the intended placement (via vacuum table only) throughout the machining process. Twisting, cupping, crowning etc. could take place in transit to the CNC shop where the material will be machined. At this point you could be thinking about flipping the lumber to the flattest side usually that’s not an option. Suction through a vacuum table depends not only on the shape of the material but factors such as porosity, atmospheric pressure, size and weight could alter the results significantly. If you are like most contractors, designers and engineers you may be on a tight schedule. This is the type of situation where experience will play an important part in the success of the project versus wasted material and time.

Precision Fablab always finds a way to get it done either trough a fixture with clamping mechanisms or using machinable elements to hold in place. If you're faced with a project like this one, talk to us, we'll see how we can help. Send us a CAD drawing so that we may evaluate what will be the best CNC routing or machining alternative or let us design what you need if you do not have a drawing. Our email:

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