CNC router vs scroll saw vs nibbler?

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Forum topic by mark84 posted 11-04-2016 11:53 AM 2039 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 1342 days

11-04-2016 11:53 AM

Hi gentlemen,
I own a CNC router which I planned to use for a friends project, he requires a few hundred shapes(like a stretched out heart, 3 inches long by 2 inches wide).
I’ve been using MDF but the finishing isn’t any fun at all, and, to be honest, I think there may be faster ways of cutting such a simple shape with decent accuracy.
Would a scroll saw or similar do the job quicker, or, better yet, is it possible to slice through aluminium instead of fibre board, and negate the finishing, using a nibbler?

4 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2692 posts in 3284 days

#1 posted 11-04-2016 12:52 PM

A nibbler will leave a less than optimal edge. Yes MDF is a chore to finish. Oak is a lot quicker to finish , in my experience. A scroll saw will give you a perfectly smooth edge but requires a bit of skill and a lot of concentration to use. I use a scroll saw a lot myself. A scroll saw is a slow cutting tool compared to most cutting tools in your shop. Depending on how thick you need these shapes you can stack cut up to about 1 1/2” using a scroll saw. I have used my scroll saw to cut hundreds of this shape making coasters. I finish these coasters by dipping them in poly and allowing to dry. Two coats works pretty well. I have made them from oak, cedar and plywood. These are cherry…I think. I do not know about how a router will work for your project.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4010 days

#2 posted 11-04-2016 02:49 PM

You can pattern-cut them on a band saw. You
attach a pattern to the work and then a sort
of finger goes around the band saw blade
with the blade enclosed on 3 sides and the
cutting side exposed. This limits depth of
cut. Depending on how the pattern is…

You’ll have saw marks of course but they
may be easier to removed than routing marks.

View ArtMann's profile


1365 posts in 1179 days

#3 posted 11-04-2016 03:03 PM

I use a scroll saw, a bandsaw with a fine blade, a router table with pattern bit and a jig saw for different purposes. I can’t imagine that any one these being anywhere near as fast as my CNC router for this sort of repetitive cutting. I manufacture and sell various shaped coasters and trivets and would give it up if I had to cut the shapes by hand. What kind of CNC router do you have? Maybe a little optimization could help your speed and cut quality.

View CopperTree's profile


53 posts in 1421 days

#4 posted 11-06-2016 05:31 AM

I agree, this task seems like a perfect fit for a CNC router. If you get the feed rate right with a new/sharp cutter there isn’t much finishing required. Multiple precise duplicates of odd shapes is where my CNC router takes over from my table saw or band saw.

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