Friday, October 23, 2009

Cutting Acrylic, Cutting Plexiglass - Table Routing

Part 3
Using a table router is one of the best methods for cutting acrylic sheet. It’s also a much more versatile method for cutting and generally produces good edge quality. There’s a video on this blog of someone using a table router to trim some acrylic parts. The router bit he’s using has a bearing on it that rides against the part while the excess is trimmed away. This method also works great for cutting when you already have a template of the shape you want to cut. Use double sided tape to secure your template to the acrylic sheet and cut your part. For straight cuts, set up a fence to ensure straight line cutting. Table routers are wonderful for doing edge details such as beveling and bullnosing. Router bits for wood work just fine for plexiglass or acrylic sheet. Cutting is done in the conventional direction, that is, the blade is turning towards the material feed. Just like when cutting acrylic with a saw, use a sharp tool. Don’t use a bit you have been using to cut wood and expect a great edge quality. Larger diameter bits (1/2”) produce better cut quality than smaller diameters. The general rule is to run as high an rpm as possible, however on bits with a diameter over 1” always check what the manufacturer recommends. And never forget to practice good safety.