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Author Topic: Dremel for curves in MDF?  (Read 401 times)

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FALSE

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Dremel for curves in MDF?
« on: September 02, 2018, 09:21:46 am »
Hello,
I started cutting my side panels last week and tried cutting the curves and monitor area with a jigsaw. That didn't go so well. The blade bent and now the edges aren't 90 degrees.
It was suggested that I use a router with a flush trim bit and a straight edge to even out the edges. Unfortunately I have already cut a lot of the MDF away trying to fix it and the panel is far enough away from my original design that I think I'm just going to start over.

My question is, has anyone used a Dremel with compass attachment to cut the curve out of MDF?
Is a Dremel and blade up to the task? I know/learned MDF is tough to cut.

I have a Dremel 400xpr if that matters.


« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 09:24:15 am by FALSE »

JDFan

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Re: Dremel for curves in MDF?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2018, 10:29:42 am »
Jigsaw with a proper toothed sharp blade and slow cutting should work fine -- Bent blade and/or angled cut is normally caused by trying to cut too fast or using a dull blade - if you let the blade do the cutting it usually will not bend - Just go slowly and let the blade move itself forward along the cutting edge and it normally cuts fine  :dunno

morton

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Re: Dremel for curves in MDF?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2018, 10:59:47 am »
MDF is hard on tools. Dremel is great but don't think it's gonna be the best.

It's also super dusty and crappy. I'd prefer to cut once and be done and not have to play with it too much. Depending on your dust collection it may be less of a concern for you.

Building my cabinet I had an 805mm radius to put into the cabinet side and I used a router and straight cut bit. Always do for perfect curves. Making a jig is simple enough. I always cut half the depth then second pass all the way through. Sometimes I take more than 2 passes depending on what I am doing.

I would imagine using a Dremel on 3/4 MDF would be a royal pain and expensive on bits. If you have a router use that. There are many tutorials on how to do curves etc.

If making square holes with rounded corners, one can use good double sided tape and some straight flat stock to trim out the square pattern with 90 sharp corners, for the bit to follow, and the radius of the cutter will be the radius of your corners. I used this for some hand holds and would definitely use when making a bezel for a flat screen etc.

What's cool too is that routers and a couple bits make template making a fruitful endeavor and allow you to reproduce results should you want to make another or fix an error. It's why I have a board with two handles cut out in it... Any cab I build needs some hand holds. Took 10 min to make jig and takes 5 min to make a new set of handles in a cab.

If router is out of the question, find the appropriate blade for a jig saw, and go slow. Just like sanding, the tool should be doing all the work. Once you force something one way, it compensates in another way... At least that's what my tub surround taught me lol

PL1

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Re: Dremel for curves in MDF?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2018, 11:40:50 am »
has anyone used a Dremel with compass attachment to cut the curve out of MDF?
Is a Dremel and blade up to the task? I know/learned MDF is tough to cut.
I used a Dremel and the old-style router base to cut the hole for a U-Trak trackball.
- Make a pilot hole the exact size of the pivot-brad.
- Don't try to cut it in one pass.
1. Slightly lower the height adjustment with the Dremel running.
2. Do a shallow pass.
3. Repeat.



You can also make a DIY circle-cutting base for your full-sized router from hardboard or 1/4" plywood.




Scott

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Re: Dremel for curves in MDF?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2018, 11:58:04 am »
I've got a router but I'm tryin to cut a
4" radius inside curve along with a couple half inch radius outside curves.
I feel like the router is just to big, even with a jig. Might try the dremel withth shallow repeated shallow passes and a 561 bit.

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Re: Dremel for curves in MDF?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2018, 01:31:04 pm »
I've got a router but I'm tryin to cut a
4" radius inside curve along with a couple half inch radius outside curves.
I feel like the router is just to big, even with a jig. Might try the dremel withth shallow repeated shallow passes and a 561 bit.
Yeah, 1/2" curves are pretty small for a full-size router.

A 561 bit should work, but it might be a bit long.

I used a 115 bit for the U-Trak, but a 194 or 196 would also work well and make less dust.




Scott

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Re: Dremel for curves in MDF?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2018, 09:35:19 pm »
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.
I ended up using a Dremel with the 561 bit, the Dremel Circle Cutter attachment and the Dremel Plunge Router attachment.
I drilled a pilot hole for the pivot point on the Circle Cutter tool and made 5 or 6 passes each one progressively deeper. Worked fine but couldn't cut deep enough to go all the way through the wood so I flipped the board over and made a final pass from the other side.

It worked great actually! Got a much better side panel this time and then used my router with a flush cut bit to make a matching panel.
Still some light sanding to do, which I hope to finish tomorrow, and then onto the other panels.

EDIT
Also I'll mention I was very surprised with how well the Dremel held up to the job.
I know MDF is hard on blades so I bought 2 new 561 Multi-Purpose Cutting bits even though I had one already.
I opened a new one and used it from start to finish and it worked great. I'd be comfortable doing some more cuts with it honestly. Very surprised how well it held up.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 09:39:22 pm by FALSE »

  
 

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