Carving Melamine covered fiberboard?

Has anyone any experience / tips for carving into/through a melamine/fibreboard stock?

I have an Ikea kitchen cupboard door ( that I want to carve a shaped hole through (a cat-shaped hole - for cat access to the litter box inside the cupboard).

Any thoughts (other than get a dog… :wink:


You could make catburgers.

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I would guess the answer would depend on what you’re calling Melamine… One local store calls plastic coated MDF Melamine, another calls plastic coated particle board Melamine… I have carved on both… the plastic coated MDF carves detailed images moderately well with a down cut bit and nicely with a V bit… The Particle board variety is only really good for down cut spiral bits cutting shallow pockets…and then nothing to intricate or detailed…

However if you are cutting a through hole, you should be OK either way… you’re going to have to seal/finish the inside of the cut though…

I’d assume you would want to set your feeds for the wood portion. I haven’t cut any particle board, but I’d assume it’s close to MDF. That being said maybe pick up some particle board and do some testing.

I’d suggest a straight flute bit or I saw someone online mention using compression bits.

For the cut edge, I’m pretty sure you can get melamine edge banding.

Good Luck!

P.S. is the hole going to be shaped like a cat, or a square?

Using a guide you can get it cut in seconds.
I have had lots of fun with this thing.
It cuts through pipe like butter

I too have one of these

I’m not renown for my accuracy or subtlety with it…

My ‘straight lines’ and ‘neat curves’, come out more like a map of South America…


Thanks for all of the insight people. I think I’m just going to get a fish instead.

You use a guide… The guide will help keep it from creating the wrong shape.
Same thing you do with a router.
Oh speaking of which… You could use a palm router on it.
Create a guide on your machine then use that to cut it.
I know this seems like extra work but with a good router you can use those 1/2" bits that will do some clean cuts.

Worse comes to worst you could design the shape on the computer, use your XCarve to cut out a template for that shape out of 1/4" thick hardboard or similar, then take that template off the X-Carve and double sided tape it to the door and use a handheld router with a guide bushing to cut out the hole in the door. This assumes that the door itself doesn’t fit in your X-Carve.

Success!!! Everything worked flawlessly. My trial piece (a spare internal shelf) was particle board inside, and I felt the 70 IPM was a bit fast for it, so I slowed it to 35 IPM, and just as well - the internals of the door were solid MDF, not particle board.

I used a 1/8 straight cut bit for crisp edges - and there was no chip out at all. I slowed the router speed down to 1 to avoid overheating, but I don’t think it made that much difference in the end.

I’ve attached image of; in progress carve, close up of edge, and installed door.

The cat had better be happy. :smile: