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February 11, 2020

Everything you need to know about nesting in CNC work

By scribe


Productivity is a key component of any successful CNC shop, and is something CNC routers and plasmas help deliver in addition to extreme precision and custom capability. When it comes to streamlining efficiency and minimizing waste in your work, nesting is an important process you should be aware of, as well.

Here’s everything you need to know about nesting and how to use it to boost productivity and reduce waste in your CNC work.

What is nesting?

Nesting refers to the process of laying out the patterns of a cut so as to reduce the cutting time and the amount of waste involved. It aims to produce as many parts as possible from as little material as possible. Here’s how.

How does nesting work?

As a concept, nesting can be thought of similarly to packing a box for a move or packing a suitcase for a trip. The goal when packing is to arrange all the items you need within their container such that everything fits compactly and minimal space is wasted.

Nesting in CNC work is much the same, aiming to arrange as many of the parts to be cut as possible within as few sheets of material as possible – thus increasing your profitability.

How it’s done

Nesting would be a difficult and complex process if done manually, which used to be the case in the past. Today, CNC shops use automated nesting software which uses algorithms to optimally arrange cuts within a piece of material.

Nesting typically takes place between the design and machining phases and can trim a lot of time off the overall project. Below are three examples images of nesting.

Pieces cut with Dynamic nesting

Pieces cut with Rotational nesting

Improved nesting or True Shape Nesting combining different cut patterns to get the most out of your material

The benefits of nesting

Nesting provides critical advantages for CNC work and can have a considerable impact on a project’s overall profitability. It serves to:

Increase productivity

Nesting reduces the number of times you need to set the material and machine by performing more cuts on fewer pieces of material. It also minimizes the travel distance required of your CNC cutter and can allow different parts to share cut lines. After all – you only make money when the machine is cutting.

The automated capability provided by nesting software also means the nesting process is extremely efficient and accurate. These factors all contribute to the outstanding productivity benefits of nesting.

Minimize waste

Utilizing as much of the sheet for cut parts as possible minimizes the portion of it that will ultimately go to waste. This also has a positive impact on overall revenue, as if you’re using less material and discarding less waste, you also don’t have to purchase as much material in the first place and are spending less on operating costs, etc.

While we can’t completely eliminate all waste, we can reduce it dramatically by putting nesting to work.

Streamline your next CNC project with help from ShopSabre

ShopSabre’ s industry-best CNC machines provide precision, efficiency, and total versatility to help aspiring hobbyists and full-time commercial shop owners alike produce truly outstanding results with a fraction of the labor. Shop our unmatched collection of CNC routers and plasmas today to take your shop’s quality and productivity to the next level.

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