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Author Topic: Any melamine success stories?  (Read 2652 times)

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emb

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Any melamine success stories?
« on: April 23, 2011, 07:09:19 pm »
I would like to use melamine for my next project although I am a little weary with it chipping when I cut it, especially after searhing through previous posts. Has anyone had any success stories? I have heard that using tape helps a little.

 I am also still considering mdf but that seems rather time consuming to get the paint looking right.

HatTrick77

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 09:41:48 pm »
there's definately a learning curve when working with this stuff.  i've found that it is near impossible to get chip-free cuts using anything but a router.  using the 2 pass attempt on the table saw, one shallow cut and one deep cut, still didn't leave a cut that was 100% chip free.  the tape trick helped a little, but still not sufficient.  they do sell melamine blades for the table saw, but they are around $100, and i heard that they still don't leave a perfectly clean edge.  i recently made a CP for a member here, and the only way i was able to get good results was to template everything out of 1/4" mdf and use a flush cut bit to ride the template.  make sure to rough cut the melamine about a 1/4" bigger than the template, so the bit doesn't have to remove too much material.  just used some carpet tape to adhere the melamine to the template, ran through the router table, and was quite pleased with the results.   

drilling into the stuff can be just as tricky, even when using a forstner bit.  i noticed that the 1-1/8" holes i drilled for the buttons and joystick weren't as clean as i had hoped, even when backing up with some scrap wood.  i ended up drilling all holes in the template itself, then used a small bit to get through the melamine and finished off with the flush cut bit. 

i used 5/8" and 1/2" black melamine particle board that i was able to have my local lumber yard order.  it possible to get really impressive results with the stuff, but its gonna take longer than an mdf and laminated cab.  if you have more time than money, its probably a better way to go, as the laminate can get pretty costly at ~$60 a sheet.  I believe i paid $45 for the 5/8 and $39 for the 1/2" 49x97" sheets.  as far as the finish goes, i can't really tell the difference between the melamine and the laminate.  another advantage is that the 5/8" t molding fit perfectly on the melamine, i didn't have to get a wider t-molding to account for the 2 layers of laminate on a 5/8" substrate.     

HTH



emb

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 09:50:37 pm »
Thanks for the detailed info. Based on my experience...maybe I better take the mdf route...

emb

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2011, 10:51:01 pm »
I think I just had an epiphany after reading hattricks post again. I am making a slim name cabinet. I remember using some textured vinyl laminate from parts express on my last restoration. A 2 foot by 18 foot roll for about 20 bucks.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=261-618

My only problem was that the cabinet was wider than 2 feet so there was an ugly seam; wishing that they made this stuff wider because it was some amazing material!

The sides of the new cabinet will be less than 2 ft. I am now thinking that mdf with this material will be the way to go.

Corbo

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2011, 04:52:34 am »
What about taking it down to a car spray shop?  I've got a friend at a car shop who is going to spray mine a really deep black, the finish is almost holographic and looks about an inch thick when you stare into it.  Of course favours are cheap but it might be worth getting a quote!
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BobA

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2011, 10:04:12 am »
I put a galaga themed bartop together with Melamine shelf material that was bonded to MDF not particle board.  Here is the project thread HERE.   Cut the sides of the cab with a router pattern bit.  The original template was plywood cut with a scroll saw.  All the other panels were cut on my table saw with a fine blade in place.   There was no chipping, no need for tape and overall it was as easy as cutting non covered material.

emb

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2011, 12:07:52 pm »
I put a galaga themed bartop together with Melamine shelf material that was bonded to MDF not particle board.  Here is the project thread HERE.   Cut the sides of the cab with a router pattern bit.  The original template was plywood cut with a scroll saw.  All the other panels were cut on my table saw with a fine blade in place.   There was no chipping, no need for tape and overall it was as easy as cutting non covered material.

Thats pretty cool. Unfortunately I don't recall seeing that kind of mdf in any of the hardware stores around my area.

grasspuddle

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2011, 11:05:22 pm »
If you use melamine, definately try to make a template and rout around it. Chipping is minor, but still bugs the hell out of you knowing its there.

I tried a melamine project once, but never could find MDF with melamine to begin with...

Nacimroc

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2011, 08:06:35 pm »
Do you really need to trim to 1/4 inch from the line you want and then router, or can you just put the template on top and router away? What is the big problem with a router cutting through alot of material other than wearing the bit down? I would happily pay $15 for an extra router bit if it meant I didn't have to go to all the hassle and time of trimming the wood to within a few millimeteres first before routering? 

I have placed a template of a side on top of an 8x4 ft sheet of MDF and routered right through it no problem, but on a lot of threads people always say don't?



emb

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2011, 10:57:58 pm »
Do you really need to trim to 1/4 inch from the line you want and then router, or can you just put the template on top and router away? What is the big problem with a router cutting through alot of material other than wearing the bit down? I would happily pay $15 for an extra router bit if it meant I didn't have to go to all the hassle and time of trimming the wood to within a few millimeteres first before routering?  

I have placed a template of a side on top of an 8x4 ft sheet of MDF and routered right through it no problem, but on a lot of threads people always say don't?

Will routing cause any chipping. I've never routed  melamine particle board before.

grasspuddle

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2011, 04:47:51 pm »
You can just rout around a template. Depending on the board to start with, it might be too big to work with. So cutting it down will be a lot easier.

The routing I did with IKEA melamine and laminate left no chipping at all. I used a cheap straight router bit from home depot/lowes

emb

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2011, 06:32:05 pm »
You can just rout around a template. Depending on the board to start with, it might be too big to work with. So cutting it down will be a lot easier.

The routing I did with IKEA melamine and laminate left no chipping at all. I used a cheap straight router bit from home depot/lowes

If I were to take the melamine (on both sides) route, I assume some sanding would be involved for gluing the joints together (assuming wood glue doesn't stick well to melamine)? I heard particle board and screws do not work well together.

The Lumberjackass

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 08:27:35 pm »
yes, success story right here for you :)

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=103919.0

I love melamine mdf and i'd use it again tomorrow if i was building a cab ! just note though, that if you do want to use this material, you have to use a router to get a chip free finish. but you can look at my vids to see how i did everything :)
I may be a jackass , but im no fool !

BobA

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Re: Any melamine success stories?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2011, 10:24:02 pm »
Just picked up some more melamine (black) coated mdf shelving for some more projects.  The shelving is 15.5 inches wide and 8 ft long and 5/8 inch thick with a bullnose on one side and plain squared off mdf on the other .   Home depot for $15 each and each shelf should produce 1 bartop.   Not a bad deal.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 10:41:30 am by BobA »