Follow these steps to ensure your composites are cut smoothly and safely.
- If the composite has a surface veil, always place the surface veil-side up
- Ensure the composite is adequately supported and secured on either side of the cut. This prevents chipping and ensures accurate cutting
- While cutting, apply light, even pressure. Do not allow the composite to overheat as it may soften or burn the bonding resin
- Avoid excessively high speeds as this will cause edges to fray
- As a general rule, the thicker the profile, the slower the cutting speed
For moderate to high volume production, we recommend diamond or carbide grit edge blades.
Water-cooled blades may be required when large cross-sections are being cut.
You can use any of the following:
- Circular power saw
- Radial arm saw
- Band saw
- Carpenters saw
Choosing the right saw depends on what you want to accomplish. Here are the main factors to consider when choosing the most suitable tool.
- Cut type – whether it’s straight, angled (20-80°) or curved
- Composite shape
- Production volume
Composites can be drilled using standard twist drill bits. If high volumes are required, we recommend carbide or diamond drill bits.
Always choose a drill bit slightly larger than the hole size required, as holes drilled into profiles are generally 0.1mm undersized. We recommend testing on a scrap piece to ensure the right size bit.
Drilling speeds for composites are equivalent to drilling hardwood.
- Place the composite surface veil-side up
- Larger holes will require a back-up plate of wood to prevent `break out’ on the backside of the hole
- Always feed drills slowly, regardless of size or speed
You should use a carbide or diamond-coated hole saw.
Threading & Tapping
Standard taps and dies can be used for threading profiles in applications where strength is not an important consideration.
To improve the strength of a threaded connection, we recommend an epoxy or polyester adhesive.
Yes –– if the profile’s wall thickness is under 12mm. If your profile fits this specification, straight line or angled cuts can be easily made with a router.
- Use carbide or diamond-tipped routing bits
- Ensure only light pressure is applied, as forcing the router bit may cause the composite to heat and soften
Composite profiles can be turned using a standard metal lathe and round-nose carbide tool-bits.
- Set tool-bits slightly above the center of your workpiece to reduce tearing
- Turning should be steady and continuous. The composite will be noticeably marked if stopped in the middle of a pass
- Adjust speeds and use a water-based coolant for a good surface finish
We do not recommend grinding composites, as the dust tends to quickly clog the stone. However, there are best practices to observe if you do wish to use a grinder.
- Air-grinders are the best option though standard grinders can be used
- For best results, use coarse grit carbide grinding wheels and a water coolant
- Dress or clean grinding wheels regularly
- Grind at high operating speeds (1500 RPM or above)
- For rods and tubes, centerless grinding can be used