Technical Tip Of The Week: What can I cut with an oscillating knife?

With over 368,058 standard machine configurations to choose from and multiple cutting options, we thought it may be useful to focus on the oscillating knife in more detail.

Oscillating vs. Tangential

At AXYZ we offer two knife units; tangential and oscillating.

The tangential knife is the more robust of the two options, intended for processing heavier, thicker and harder materials than a traditional drag knife can accommodate. A selection of easily interchangeable blade cartridges allow a wide range of material to be processed. Full directional control of the blade allows straight edges, sharp corners and all radii to be cut cleanly and accurately.

On the other hand, the oscillating knife option is an important tool for businesses that need to process flexible materials including packaging foam, foam core, gator foam, corrugated plastic or cardboard. These materials all present challenges for traditional router or knife tools, but the ‘sawing action’ of the oscillating knife allows it to slice through these materials with ease, delivering clean cut edges without fraying. Blades as long as 100mm (4”) are ideal for packaging foam applications.

Note: Our Trident series CNC router/knife hybrid machine is configured as standard with both oscillating and tangential knife tools.

What materials can I cut with an oscillating knife?

The oscillating knife option can cut a range of materials, here is a few that spring to mind:

  • Medium density foam
  • Rubber
  • Card
  • Fabrics/textiles
  • Correx
  • Fibreboard

Here are a few videos of our oscillating knife processing the above materials:

Why would you use it over your routing spindle?

With certain materials, using a routing spindle is not a viable option. Thin or flexible material is not robust enough to be routed successfully. The force from the router bit tends to cause a lot of distortion in the material and therefore delivers a poor accuracy and edge quality. For these types of material an oscillating knife is the perfect solution.

Author: Ged Lodge is an Applications Specialist for AXYZ, a global manufacturer of CNC router and knife systems. Ged has over 10 years’ experience with AXYZ and over 25 years’ experience with CNC routers.