January 17, 2022

Engraving Acrylic with CNC router

How to engrave acrylic with a CNC router?

Besides wood material, CNC routers can cut and engrave several other wide ranges of materials. In this case, acrylic is a material compatible with the CNC router. It can be extra thermoplastic acrylic or different kinds. The variations include color, shape, and size. It is against this backdrop that you need to consider your priorities. This section provides you with the general three steps on engraving acrylic with a CNC router regardless of its legion of variations.
Step 1: Choose the type of acrylic
You can use cast acrylic instead of extruded acrylic. The former is cleaner and easier to engrave, cut, paint, glue, etc.
Extruded acrylic tends to be gummy and requires an extra effort to engrave. It would be best to choose a particular acrylic piece given its several variations in color, shape, and size.
Step 2: Use the correct bit
Engraving acrylic with a CNC router needs to be perfect using a fair bit. As such, you need to think carefully about what size works best before you do trial and error. The most recommended for engraving acrylic is a 60° engraving bit which works perfectly on v-curving because of its flat-edged. A ¼-inch solid carbide 0-flute is also helpful in pulling out chips during the cutting process.
Step 3: Choose the right software
V-Curve Pro is a comprehensive tool with functions such as cutting ramps and preventing distortions. This software is helpful for 2D, 2.5D, and 3D engraving. The use of software helps you to customize and standardize your products.

Why use a CNC Router?

A CNC router is extremely useful, especially when you need to accomplish tasks. There are obvious reasons why you need to choose to use a CNC router over other options like using a laser. CNC routers are great if you do the necessary due diligence to find the best machine. Look for one that is compatible with what needs accomplishment. CNC routers are an improved method used for routing, unlike hand-made products, which require a lot more time to bring out the art and talent.
1. Speed and reduced workforce cost
Unlike relying on a workforce pool, a CNC saves money to cover staffing. A CNC router cuts faster than a laser. Moreover, it is durable such that it is rare to have its parts decimated while doing a task. When using an automated CNC router, a job would have required several technicians to accomplish under one technician. A technical team is thus needed to program the CNC router software, which works perfectly.
2. Versatile
For versatility, the CNC router cut various materials without huddling. These include cutting painted materials and engraving extruded acrylic material. Moreover, the Swift Multi-Tool (MT) is of paramount importance when cutting acrylic. The machine does wonder when routing, cutting, and creating various types of materials. You can use a CNC router without even worrying about the vibrations should you make the right choice.
3. Accuracy
A CNC router should be your choice citing its accuracy capability. Its compatibility very well substantiates this with the V-Curve Pro Software that comes in with 2D, 2.5D, and 3D engraving. Its accuracy is also not compromised by the type of material it is working upon, for instance, nonferrous metals, wood, and acrylic.
4. Repeatability
The CNC machine works best for you because of its ability to produce identical products over and over again. Once programmed, you can save time while maintaining excellent standards. The repeating of the machine means you can leave it overnight, increasing production. It is against this backdrop that you certainly need to consider having a CNC router.

What is the best bit for engraving acrylic?

Choosing the best bit for engraving acrylic is critical and has to be done correctly. Once compromised, what comes afterward are unsatisfactory results that may even cost a lot of capital. A 60° engraving bit stands out the best when engraving acrylic with a CNC router. Its flat curving is perfect for V-carving, given its flat-edge tip that mends towards a high-quality product. Using a CNC router for acrylic engraving provides a more versatile function, unlike the case with the laser.

The best material for engraving acrylic

Just as you need the right bit, you also need to choose the best material to engrave acrylic with a CNC router. Cognizance of the variations of acrylic, the shape, color, and size has bearing effects on the CNC router engraving process. For instance, cast acrylic engraving is easier to deal with than extruded acrylic material. It is so because the former material is much cleaner to cut through than the latter which tends to be gummy during the cutting process.

The Best CNC Software

The choice for a CNC software needs to carefully consider the associated risk if you use a pseudo-software application. The V-Curve Pro Software is a tried and tested software that does great exploits and has proved to be very compatible with the CNC router. The following are the pros of using such an application;
1. Enables to produce designed templates.
2. Can customize several functions such as drilling, fluting, V-curving, texturing, among others, to mention a few.

Engraving design

Engraving a design is one of the most priced elements of a CNC router. You can maintain a continuous standard design through CNC router software. It generates precise and accurate routing guidelines. As such, the engraving design stage involves reduced waste. Once you have mastered the aggravation design stage, you guarantee a steady production outcome.

Engraving acrylic feeds and speeds

So when you are engraving acrylic feeds, your first step is to set the feed rate and speed in conjunction with the bit size. Generally, you would find out that smaller bits need low speeds, whereas vice versa is correct! In this case of cutting acrylic material, 70 – 300 IPM works. This particular phase that the engraved acrylic feeds speeds faster than an ordinary hand-handheld CNC router.

David D. Hughes
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