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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never had problems cutting MDF with a circular saw or a table saw... and I've learned that a good carbide router bit can make a WORLD of difference in cutting speed...

But, I still find cutting MDF with a jigsaw (for bracing) to be a total pain. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've been using a wood cutting blade (I can't remember how many TPI). I'm thinking of using a straight 1/4" dia bit and routing out the curved shape I need - since I'm so tired of using a jigsaw.

Anyone have any pointers? Different blade? I've tried a new (sharp) blade - and didn't make any difference.

Wish I had a band saw - might be a good option. Started looking at some small (3"?) circular saws too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You could use large hole saws or a rotozip.
For holes, I'm happy to use my router. I've had issues with hole saws clogging when drilling MDF.

I'll have to look into a rotozip... Maybe that's a good option with the right blade. It's like the one tool that I haven't had a reason to buy yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dumb question. rotozip spiral saw? or rotozip saw? I would think that a rotozip spiral saw would effectively a router (just slower).
And the rotozip saws look very much like the 3" circular saws?
I have an angle grinder that I've used here and there -- when a rotozip saw might have worked.

Hmmm... People here seem to advocate jigsaw over rotozip???
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071004160505AAxrKdv
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I happened to pick up a Skil X-bench when they were closing them out for about $75 and added the jig-saw insert plate for another $20 and now I like using my jig saw.

The X-bench has been discontinued but I found one on ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/Skil-3100-1...ltDomain_0&hash=item4841e9beaa#ht_3842wt_1163

You can just make something similar out of a table, attaching your jig saw this way makes it an inexpensive band saw.
That's pretty cool. I've never seen anything like that before. Thanks for posting that.

That gives some of the comfort/control of a bandsaw without the continuous band.... and the cost!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes by rotozip I meant the rotary tool. But you also may benifit from just getting a router table also.
But how is a rotozip any improvement over a router?

And the problem with a router table is - you can't do full-depth cuts with most cutting bits. So if you can't do full depth - hard to see what you're cutting. (IE, cut 1/4 inch... cut some more... cut some more..)

Example, cutting out a window-frame brace.... I can't understand how a rotozip would be better than a router.
 

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I don't have any pics here at the office of the X-bench in use but just by adding a fence I was able to do my braces quickly and accurately. I know keep my jig saw mounted to the x-bench mount and pop it in when needed, it really has become one of my favorite tools.

It can be made easily though with some melamine or MDF and just mount your jig saw under the table. It would be wise to add a power button to the side though so you don't have to reach under to turn the jig saw on/off. I think once you have it mounted you may never want to remove it.

The only downside is it is now more dangerous as you have the blade cutting up were you could catch a finger instead of down on the work surface.

I have tried a lot of things but for MDF speaker building this is what works the fastest. I thought about the rotozip as well but the bits tend to break easier and 3/4" MDF can really slow the motor down. Jig saws are a pain but there usually the quickest through 3/4" MDF when doing the bracing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Orbiting jig saw and the right blade will cure all your problems
My B&D Jigsaw has 3 modes, straight, orbiting and scrolling.. Any recommendations on blade/TPI?

I was cutting some 1/4 ply and forgot how much of a difference the speed can make. I cranked it up and it was extremely smooth. My jigsaw has variable speed - and I can never decide what speed is ideal.
 

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If you haven't already, try a blade designed for laminate flooring. They are usually higher teeth per inch and cut on the downcut. The core of laminate material is usually a dense particle board like MDF and I found that going to the right blade made all the difference.

For any holes, though, I use my Jasper jig on my router or if it's a semi-circle, I make a template out of a full circle with the Jasper jig and saw it in half. Then use the template with a flush trim bit to clean things up.

I don't have a Rotozip, but I can recommend the Bosch Colt for a small router. Use a spiral bit with a bearing on the end and you can't go wrong. Just remember the eye and ear protection with a spiral bit. When they go bad, they explode (and are very shrill when cutting).

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I might just buy a few blades - see what is best. I have a generic wood bit and some steel blades, but not a whole lot else. Thanks for the tip. I learned quite a bit about cutting metal on my last project (Cutting as slow as possible is best!).

I have a Jasper Jig (200 and 400) - which I never thought would be worth the money - but I love them. I have no complaints whatsoever. About the only circle I've not been able to cut with it was a 21" (yeah, huge). Interesting about semicircle - I've never thought about using a circle jig for that.

I'm currently using a Craftsmen 2 HP? router with interchangeable plunge/fixed bases with a spiral upcut bit from MLCS. (Here: http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/bt_solid.html) I believe that I've been using #5146.

I had nothing but problems with a straight 1/4 carbide tipped bit I bought from Lowes. It stayed sharp for about 5 minutes. I couldn't understand why people didn't hate cutting circles - I finally realized that all my problems went away when I bought a spiral bit.
 
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