Epic Win with cutting 1/2" Polycarbonate

I want to share my arrival of “good cuts” on 1/2 AR polycarbonate after a long journey. I have an extensive project that I wanted to create using 1/2" PC for which I bought the XC to help make. Up to date I have had a tremendous amount of trouble trying to eliminate chatter while cutting the PC. Up’d the pots. No luck. I double and triple checked belts and idler wheels tensions. No luck. Completed the 60 minute(I think) mod(flat bar). Still no luck. I proceeded to start forcefully trying to manipulate the machine to try and target where my “slop” was coming from. Like so many, I determined that it was the z axis that was just not stiff enough. With all the posters help, I got a linear z axis. And I converted to the suck-it vac system. After some “minor” mods to the new z axis and to the suck-it attachment I can announce I have arrived. Thank you all for your daily contributions.

Notice the improvement between the two. Night and day!!


I have a piece of 9mm polycarbonate to cut for a dust shoe. I’m hoping I don’t have to go to the extreme of replacing my Z axis to do it. :slight_smile:
That cut is nice though.

Very impressed, please post the model of the Z axis hardware, I am tempted to upgrade. Can you still use the same stepper?

If you want to cut either PC or Aluminum, I’d highly, strongly, emphatically recommend a z linear rail. It is WAY smoother with far less play. http://m.ebay.com/itm/Z-AXIS-SLIDE-5-6-TRAVEL-FOR-CNC-ROUTER-3D-PRINTER-PLASMA-/282137372251?nav=SEARCH
I couldn’t find my exact linear axis, but it was this one without a NEMA motor. I will say that the linear that @PhilJohnson used looks to be of better quality. I modded the rail I got to use the invetables screw, motor, and pulley assembly.

I then swapped out the rails existing 1/4"x4" attachment plate with 1/4"x5" using the existing mounting holes for the maker slide the 5" was so that I’d have room to attach the suckit system to.
I also modded the suckit allow for a wider bracket distance.

All in all I’m pretty pleased.

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I am interested in the settings used for cutting the polycarbinate.

My first trial (above) after the Z axis upgrade was .04doc@50ipm w/ 1/4" single flute upcut carbide.

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