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Thread: How to cut 24" circles out of 1/2" thick maple plywood in LARGE quantities?

  1. #1

    How to cut 24" circles out of 1/2" thick maple plywood in LARGE quantities?

    I need to cut 50 to 100 round circles out of plywood in batch every month. Right now I cut with laser machine but they always have brown edges I have to sand off. Speed wise about cutting one circle for 3 minutes with laser.

    So what would be the fastest way to cut such circles in bulk? I read about some ways: routers, jig saws, band saws, table saws, etc. But I am not sure about how fast each method cut large circles out of 1/2" plywood as I do not have experience with these methods. Can anyone with experiences advice which way is the fastest in cut circles in bulk?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I would stack them up and cut a pile of them on the bandsaw with a circle cutting jig.

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    If you go to my post I now get paid to play with tools... Im building 56 arched doors. I cut the arch on the bandsaw with a simple jig- plywood with a screw at the pivot point. It helps to have a massive 3-phase bandsaw with insane inertia that plows through anything. It takes literally less than a minute per arch. If it were me, I would stack them up 3 or 4 high and make multiple circles at one time.

    0A286241-435F-4628-9131-A12A0C69F8CF.jpg

  4. #4
    What are some other parameters? Can the have a hole on the middle? How precise do they need to be? How clean an edge do you need?

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    If you do not have a good bandsaw, it is time to go shopping.

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    I don't have one (yet), but wouldn't this be a perfect job for a CNC router?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian W Evans View Post
    I don't have one (yet), but wouldn't this be a perfect job for a CNC router?
    Yes it would. If you need a full 24” you wil only get 3 pieces from 4x8 sheet of ply. You might look at pricing 5x5 Baltic birch
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Jenkins View Post
    Yes it would. If you need a full 24 you wil only get 3 pieces from 4x8 sheet of ply. You might look at pricing 5x5 Baltic birch
    I could be wrong, but my gut is telling me a 4x8 sheet should be good for six pieces 24 in diameter.
    Too much to do...Not enough time...life is too short!

  9. #9
    WOW thanks so much for the replies. It seems the consensus is to use a bandsaw to cut 3-4 pieces each time. Sounds like the most efficient way. CNC routers will be quite bit slower as I understand.

    Other parameters: I need the edge to be clean and smooth. A tiny hole on the back of the circle will be okay but not on the face side. Would be nice if no hole at all.

    I can usually cut a 4x8 into 8 pieces of 24" rounds (well 23.5" each instead). The laser edges are very smooth but with the brown burning edges. Can a band saw cut it with a smooth edge?

    I can only use a single phase bandsaw if this is the direction to go as it will stay in my garage. Any recommendations on what type/brand/config of the bandsaw suitable for my purpose?

    Again thanks so much for your help!
    Last edited by Byron Lu; 07-20-2019 at 5:50 PM.

  10. #10
    Sorry for some reason I am never able to open the image attachment in this forum. Is that a jig photo? can you post somewhere or give a link so I can see how to make the jig? THANKS.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm Schweizer View Post
    If you go to my post I now get paid to play with tools... Im building 56 arched doors. I cut the arch on the bandsaw with a simple jig- plywood with a screw at the pivot point. It helps to have a massive 3-phase bandsaw with insane inertia that plows through anything. It takes literally less than a minute per arch. If it were me, I would stack them up 3 or 4 high and make multiple circles at one time.

    0A286241-435F-4628-9131-A12A0C69F8CF.jpg

  11. #11
    Isn't it true that a CNC router will be slower and have to go multiple passes in order to cut a 1/2" thick plywood? In addition, you can only cut one piece (no stacking) each time and you have to setup a jig to hold the piece too. I guess it would be slower than my current laser cutter.

  12. #12
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    A reasonably rugged cnc router with a vacuum table will give excellent results far faster than your laser. Cabinet manufacturers commonly cut 3/4" material in one pass- even my unit with a PC 7518 router will do 1/2" material in two passes with a 1/4" compression bit with clean surfaces both sides. Load the sheet, cut eight circles, repeat. Look for a cnc equipped shop in your area to sub the task, it will be far more profitable than cutting blanks and spinning them on a bandsaw you don't have.

  13. #13
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    the cnc would be the best way if you need no holes in the center or prefect circles every one would be the same. and If no it would be just as fast if not faster throw a 4x58 sheet on hit go 5 minutes later you have 6 perfect circles with a slower cnc. I could cut that down with a bigger bit but I was using a 1/4 inch cutter

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Lu View Post
    WOW thanks so much for the replies. It seems the consensus is to use a bandsaw to cut 3-4 pieces each time. Sounds like the most efficient way. CNC routers will be quite bit slower as I understand.

    Other parameters: I need the edge to be clean and smooth. A tiny hole on the back of the circle will be okay but not on the face side. Would be nice if no hole at all.

    I can usually cut a 4x8 into 8 pieces of 24" rounds (well 23.5" each instead). The laser edges are very smooth but with the brown burning edges. Can a band saw cut it with a smooth edge?

    I can only use a single phase bandsaw if this is the direction to go as it will stay in my garage. Any recommendations on what type/brand/config of the bandsaw suitable for my purpose?

    Again thanks so much for your help!
    Byron,
    Could you cut them slightly larger in diameter, then sand off the burned edge. Perhaps you could post a photo of one of your finished parts so we can see the actual extend of the "burned edge".
    David

  15. #15
    A router with a SINGLE FLUTE bit would cut fast and real accurate. Band saw is good too ,but a little less accurate.

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