Inventables Community Forum

Taking a stab at Acrylic

So I picked up a few sheets of the 2-color .125in Acrylic from Inventables this week to play around with. I have never worked with anything but wood on my x-carve so this is a bit of a new venture for me.

I am trying to make an engraved sign and am curious if I have the setting correct for speed, travel and plunge. Also, do you leave the protective plastic on the acrylic during the carve or remove it. Common sense tells me to remove as the plastic will gum the bit but just thought would ask anyway. I have searched the forum and have found several different ways to go.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

No reason to cut that deep for getting through the top layer that is less than .01" deep (.005").
For feedrate, go fast at a shallow depth (full depth).

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When I do acrylic work, I leave the protective paper on. (both sides)
Then peal if off afterwards.

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Neil,

That is what I thought as well but surprisingly when I ran the simulation the cutting time increased by 40%. At its current settings it will take 2 hr 20min. If I shorten the depth it increases to 3hr 50min? Any ideas as to why that is? Also do you think my cut rates are acceptable?

Thanks,

Thanks Jan, I will definitely leave it on then. Also, do my speed/plunge rates seem ok to you?

Thanks again,

Joe

Aaah… You’re V-carving. When you reduce depth, you are clearing more flat area with the tiny point of the bit. Perfect time for that two stage carve.
With the v-bit, literally go as fast as your machine can handle. That stuff is not nearly as brittle as the clear acrylic.
Also, make sure your wasteboard is FLAT and TRAM. Probably a good idea to mill a flat supplementary board and use CA glue and tape to hold down.

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Your speed looks good to me.
You can easily increase the plunge rate to 80 - 100 IPM
When you that slow you will melt the plastic and start to gum up your bit.
Good rule of thumb for acrylic is that when your cutting, the chips should come off the cutter looking like grains of rice.

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Niel,

Thanks, I just trammed my wasteboard 2 weeks ago so I should be good to go there. I also have a flat piece I place under all carves I do.

Thanks for all the help. It is very much appreciated. Hopefully I will have a successful project to share at the end of this venture, lol.

Joe

Jan,

Thanks, I will give it a go. I truly appreciate all the advice/help with this.

Joe

Jan,

I am sorry. You are saying that I can increase the “plunge” rate from 9 ipm to 80 ipm? Just want to confirm.

Thanks again.

Joe

Sorry, I misspoke.
Leave your plunge rate to 10 - 15 IPM
Again, the trick is to not have any plastic melt onto the tip of your cutter.
Thank you for questioning it.

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Because the V-bit need to take more passes to create the width of the bottom level.
( I notice I am late to the party :wink: )

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Thanks for all the help and input on this topic.

Here is the finished carve I did. I came to realize that many of the imperfections were due to poor image quality. The design was taken off the web and my friend wanted to do this as a surprise so he did not wish to ask for the artwork.

Any thoughts/critiques are welcome. Thanks again,

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You’re the only one that will notice any “imperfections”.
Looks great!

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Thanks Neil, much appreciated. I am a bit of a perfectionist as I think anyone who does these types of things probably is. lol. My friend was so happy with it he commissioned me to make 3 more to place around his farm. So I must have done something right, lol.

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It’s hard not to be when you’re making stuff. I wish I could carry that strive for perfection into other things!

i have done a couple acrylic jobs and have really liked them. i dont have the settings i used but i just winged it the first time and hoped for the best.

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That looks great, good job.

When cutting acrylic…single flute cutters with high speeds. Don’t let the plastic melt or it will gum up your bit. I’ve used a vbit at a slow rate for a specific look I was going for once. It melted and left a ‘crumb trail’ behind that I liked. Depends on what you’re looking for really.