MDF Doors

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MDF Doors

Postby dealguy11 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:48 pm

Someone asked at one point what the Moulding toolpath is good for. Here's an example. These are 1" thick doors cut in Medex, which is water-resistant MDF. We make lots and lots of these in several different profiles. A commercial door manufacturing software package costs several thousand dollars. I've got about 80-90% of the functionality using Excel, Aspire and Paul Rowntree's "CSV to 2d Vectors" gadget (haven't licked making labels by nested sheet yet but I have a couple of ideas). Most of the profile is cut with standard shaped cutters. I use the moulding toolpath to square up the corners.
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby mtylerfl » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:09 pm

It's always great to see your work, Steve! That's a lot of doors and they all look beautifully and cleanly cut!
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby mezalick » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:22 pm

Nothing less than the best from Steve.....well done...
~M
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby dealguy11 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:52 pm

Thanks!
My customer for these paints them with Italian acrylics and puts them in $100,000 kitchens. Before we started this, I wouldn't have thought of putting these in high-end kitchens, but when they're painted properly they are indistinguishable from 5-piece doors, they're a lot less expensive, and Medex is very hard, so they stand up to abuse better than I expected. They also don't crack or warp, and Medex has enough water resistance that you have to soak them for awhile before they start to swell like normal MDF. Took some thought (and a machine upgrade) to get the corners the way I wanted with reasonable machining times, but I'm pretty happy with them. The cabinetmakers in my shop turn up their noses because they're not real wood, but we're starting to use them on a few of our own projects now.
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby Rcnewcomb » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:35 pm

A few years ago I toured a small shop in Southern California that was likewise making, finishing, and using these in high-end beach front homes. The climate was "coastal desert" so they had the dryness of the desert and the humidity of the ocean. His guys had the finishing technique down and you would swear you were holding a solid cherry door, and these held up far better than solid wood in that environment.
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby hooked » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:53 pm

They look really great. What's the purpose of using Excel in the workflow? (Pardon my ignorance)

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Re: MDF Doors

Postby dealguy11 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:02 am

One order from a customer generally has between 20 to 80 doors. There are usually several variations on the doors within an order - for example, most of them could have rail and stile widths of 2 3/4" but the drawers might have rail widths of 1 5/8" and some panels might have wide stiles or rails for various reasons. In addition, some of the profiles require up to 5 vectors per door that have to be machined, plus 4 tiny vectors, one per corner, to clean them out. Drawing all those doors using Aspire's tools, good as they are, can take hours, and I draw pretty quickly and use every trick I can think of to speed things up.

I set up a spreadsheet (actually one for each door style) that allows me to just enter the door size, stile widths and rail widths for each door. For doors that have the same size, stile or rail widths, I can just copy them down the column very quickly. The spreadsheet then generates a CSV file that can be read by Paul Rowntree's CSV to 2D gadget and automagically generates all the vectors in the proper layers. I use the excel spreadsheet to generate another file that I import into Aspire's plate production feature that generates a label in Aspire for each door. I group each door's vectors and label, then nest the sheets (the one in the picture was 13 sheets). Then I ungroup and use toolpath templates to generate the toolpaths for each sheet. The Excel spreadsheet reduced the time to set up an 80-door job from 3 hours or so to 30-45 minutes including outputting the toolpaths. I'm currently trying to generalize the spreadsheet so I don't have to have one for each door style.
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby LittleGreyMan » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:15 am

Steve,

Thanks for sharing this very valuable information. The Excel/ CSV to 2d vectors/ Aspire process is very interesting.

We don't have this kind of job for now, but I'll keep it in mind.
Best regards

LGM

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Re: MDF Doors

Postby Creation in Wood » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:35 pm

Wow, beautiful doors
Thank You
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby Mick Martin » Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:58 pm

Hi Steve,
Would you mind explaining how you design/machine/toolpath your doors with 90 degree inside corners.
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby FixitMike » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:23 pm

Mick Martin wrote:Hi Steve,
Would you mind explaining how you design/machine/toolpath your doors with 90 degree inside corners.

dealguy11 wrote: Most of the profile is cut with standard shaped cutters. I use the moulding toolpath to square up the corners.

Click on the "Create Sharp Corners" box. Of course the inside corners can't be sharper than the radius of the tool used. A V bit must be used if absolutely sharp inside corners are required. Note that the panels with sharp inside corners include a bevel that most likely matches the angle of the V bit.
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Re: MDF Doors

Postby dealguy11 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:26 pm

Thanks for the suggestion but that won't work with these profiles. The "Create sharp corners" option works best with a v-cutter (technically can also work with a ballnose, but I've never gotten it to look like I want with it). With a v-cutter you will get an angled cut at the top of the profile and a nice sharp corner. It might work in many situations, especially with a small-angle bit. Unfortunately this customer is very picky about the profile and will not accept any angle at the top of the profile...has to be vertical as we are matching their "house" profiles. In addition, that option will not work at all with some of the profiles we do - this profile, for example, is made with 2 cutters: a custom plunge roundover bit and a 1/2" ballnose bit. Corner has to be cleaned out with a small bit to get this look.
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