Making Fluted Panels On The CNC

We recently got this job for a custom queen size murphy bed and it features a fluted panel detail. The entire build is on our YouTube channel, but I wanted to add in some screenshots and details on here. If you’d like to watch the video it’s here: Another HIGHLY Productive Week In The Workshop! Murphy Bed Build Continues - YouTube

In Aspire (vcarve), I drew a line the length of the panel I was creating. The panel was oversized in both dimensions by a couple of inches. We used 1/2" MDF for the material. I then used the array tool to duplicated the line with a 0.75" gap which corresponds to the diameter of the bit. I’ll get to the bit in a moment.

The last things needed for the modeling are to center the grouped lines on the panel and to use the scale tool to make the extend beyond the panel. I found this produced the cleanest result.

The tool path is a “On” the line profile that with a depth of cut of 0.38". The round-over on the bit is 0.375", and I found the extra 0.05" takes care of any inconsistencies in the material. My speeds and feeds were 150ipm and 12,500rpm. This could be increased, however I wanted as clean of a cut as possible. I was able to cut to the final depth in 2 passes.

The bit I used is a Whiteside 1580 3/8″ Radius Point Roundover. This will produce a 3/4" wide flute. Here is a link to the bit (affiliate): *Astra Coated* Whiteside 1580 - 3/8" Radius Point Roundover 1/2" Shank

For hold down I used composite nails along the perimeter every ~10". Because you are cutting so much of the material away between the flutes, the panel can be fragile and even lift while cutting if you just place hold downs in the corners. As you can see the quality of cut is excellent which only minor fuzzies.

I used the table saw to cut the panels down to their final size. In hindsight I’d let the cnc cut the profile. These are flimsy and easily broken when not fully supported. The good news is if they do break, they are still perfectly usable. I found when they broke, it made a half lap type joint that would completely disappear in install.

For install, I used glue and pin nails to hold the panels in place.

After priming the panels, I realized it was going to be a nightmare sanding them. I went back to vcarve and made (4) 0.71" diameter circles with a spacing of 0.04". I then applied a 0.04" offset to account for the sandpaper and cut the bottom half of the circles off. Lastly, I added an ergonomic handle and duplicated the vector (4) times. I cut these out of 3/4" MDF and glued them together to form a sanding block. I spray adhesive 220 grit sandpaper on and this worked incredibly well.

Here is the primed final result. Minor caulking is needed and I am off to apply the top coat over the next few days. I’ll update this post with the painted results.


Thank you for sharing. Love seeing the whole process!!

Nice sanding block :slight_smile:

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Yeah, that sanding block is a winner for sure. Nice work!

Those turned out great! I second the call of thanks for sharing! :slight_smile: