Well, we've all heard the expression...."why not?"
Somehow the subject of the carving seemed oddly appropriate.....
Typically, the lighter the color, the better the MDF. The stuff I get at my Home Depot is very dark.
Fortunately, I work in a cabinet shop and can get the good stuff if I need it.
Mach3 2010 Screenset
(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)
Seems to look closer to real life when I resize it down a bit
and convert it to greyscale......
Upside down, An excellent way to keep the chips from building up!
LOL!....Yep....in case gravity stalls on us, I'll still be able to cut littleUpside down, An excellent way to keep the chips from building up!
I will try to get some pix. It is kinda tough to know what it is you'reIt would be nice to have a sise-by-side comparision of the good vs bad MDF? With pictures?
looking for unless someone knows what they're looking for.....
Bad MDF is practically un-paintable. It'll just soak up all you put on it.
If it gets a little water on it, it blisters up soft puffy areas where the
Drilling it can be a problem. It's really like cheap laminated cardboard.
The good stuff is nice and dense and will hold exceptionally fine detail
when carved/routed. It's very smooth and flat. It's a sort of material
that just begs for something nice to be made from it. It's actually
impressive that such nice material can be so affordable.
Then there are a few ranges in between. Mediocre to fair. Like
Gerry mentioned, here in my area the bad stuff is also darker.
It's a very interesting thing to look up on the internet.....see how
it's made, why one maker is so different from another.
I do have a few little machines around here that are at least 5
years old, and run just as well as the day they were made. One thing
I do, is keep my machines from excessively humid places. If a place
is too humid, though, 99.99% of the time the steel parts will begin
to show rust well before the MDF is affected.
I'll try to remember to get a few samples and some pictures....
If anyone wants to send me a picture they'd like to see
cut into a small 1" or so little lithophane....like the ones
shown...I'll do a few of them.
If the shipping isn't much, I'll send it to them as well.
May as well make something meaningful to someone....
3 different samples of MDF
The middle one is the best. It'll sometimes have an almost burnished
look to the surface.
The top one is a good B grade. It doesn't have the "polish" to the
surface....for lack of a better word....
It's similar to the Best one, but feels a little drier.
Bottom is crappy stuff. It's the darker color. A little water streak
on them will show how it changes the color.
It's a hard thing to convey in pictures, and almost like building a
cnc machine, you really don't know until you've had it on hand to
look at and see for ones-self.
It may also be different in different areas. The trees used vary
seasonally and cost of shipping the big heavy stuff keeps certain
variations in certain areas.
Usually, there's a pre-cut MDF place in many stores. For shelves, etc.
That can be a good in-store place to see differences sometimes.
Some times, it's even more cost effective to just get the pre-cut
ones if/when they look so much better. They DO travel a lot
To me, it's obvious when one is a bad grade, but then, I've been
using lots of it for a long time now.
BTW....my "grading" system is my own.
I'm not aware of many hobbyist's who even know there is such a
variance in quality...
A few more MDF points...
It can depend on how it's stored.
I like to buy from the "big-box" stores like Home Depot & Lowes
because the stuff has a relatively quick turn-over. It can be better
quality when stored in those temp-regulated places.
(that's also an observation which may be useless in your area....)
Sometimes, a big wood-supply warehouse leaves it either exposed
to humidity, or enclosed in extremely hot places. There's a such
place near me that sells tons of building supplies, but rarely sells
MDF. The stuff is/was nice, but it's all dried out now. They get upset
when you want a few pieces from the middle of a huge stack...
My Lowes in Statesboro, Ga. doesn't even sell MDF. Ask for MDF and
they show you the chipboard. Strange that such a big college town
with engineering students galore doesn't sell a material they'd use
for a million projects. I have to drive 80 miles to Savannah to get what
I like to use.
I guess it takes a few trials & errors. Like most everything else.....