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Routing acrylic (with a CNC)

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by thecableguy, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

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    So I picked up a 4x4 sheet of 1/4" cast acrylic. I'm going to use it to make a dust shoe for my CNC as well as some guitar building templates for a guy I know. I've read some conflicting stuff online (shocking, I know) about machining the stuff. The cast stuff I got is better for machining than the extruded variety because it's more rigid, so that's a good start. Has anyone here routed acrylic before? Any cutter, rpm and feedrate recommendations? I'm not looking for a glass finish on the cuts but I obviously need smooth cuts if I'm going to cut templates.
     
  2. KWhatley

    KWhatley Tele-Holic

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    My experience of routing plastics is treat it like your final passes on a neck/body. E.g least amount you can leave to route off the better. Other than that ventilation and a fume filtering mask. Gave me headaches for days mate. Rpm was usual recommended for anything under 1" dia and feed rate I'd discribe as smooth flowing like it was wood, not stopping and making it melt. Hope that helps.

    Edit . I cut it close to dimensions on a bandsaw or with a jigsaw prior to routing.

    Edit 2. This man flu's in overdrive since it's made me oblivious to the cnc part of the title :oops:

    I'll just go hide in a corner until I'm better I think.
     
  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I did a double neck pickguard but have no specs. Usually I run at 50 ipm and start out at half that rate and slowly increase as necessary. With mach it's just a matter of clicking on an arrow.

    I'd suggest you just pick a bit and try some samples at different rates.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A handy hint for routing acrylic: buy some super-thin plastic sheeting (like a painter's dropsheet) and just before you start routing, unfold the sheet and position it on the "downwind" side.

    The static electricity sucks all the acrylic flakes and you can get rid of the majority of them easily.

    Be prepared to be sweeping any surface with a slight negative charge - the stuff goes everywhere! It'll stick to vertical surfaces.
     
  5. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yeh, white toxic snow.... sticks to everything...;)


    the trimmer seems to cut it clean enough without chips... whatever speed it goes?..
     

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  7. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for all the tips guys! I'll post my results!
     
  8. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can it be cut wet in some way ?
    That should help eliminate static and help keep the dust down . May even help prevent melting .
     
  9. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

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    I cut the part tonight and I didn't have any melting. I managed to keep the shavings under control by holding the vacuum hose near the bit while it was cutting.

    [​IMG]
     
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