Workholding 1/8 inch (3mm) hardboard/plywood

Here is the key ask: how do you workhold really thin (1/8 inch or 3mm) plywood/hardbord on a shapeoko pro and what end mills are you using for cutting?

Why I am asking? I have previously tried to cut 1/8inch hardboard/plywood with 201 end mill (1/4” downcut endmill) using the blue tape and CA glue method. And when running the job, the wood material wants to lift with the cutter upwards. Assume there is some strategy I am missing

If the design allows, put nylon hardware in through suitable holes to hold things in place.

Alternately, source a 1/8" downcut endmill?


Double-sided tape, or opposing faces of masking tape - stick tape to the bed, similarly stick tape to the workpiece and then use superglue to bond the two layers of masking tape and thus hold the workpiece. The area of tape reduces the point forces on the adhesive making it very effective indeed, and the bonus is that you can hold thin pieces flat.


With thin, non-rigid materials as noted, you need to either hold it down everywhere you’re cutting, so make sure there’s tape and glue along all the cut lines, or reduce the forces pulling upward during the cut.

Some combination of both is generally good. I use a straight flute or downcut and put tape and glue along the cut lines. If you want a clean finish on the bottom of the wood I’d go with a straight cut as the downcut will tend to give you tearout on the bottom instead, assuming you don’t want to do a bit change for the last 1mm.


Consider sandwiching with something on top that can be securely clamped. A pocket in this top fixture the size of you work piece will restrain lateral movement if much of the edge will be intact. Cut thru the top fixture and 1/8” ply.


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