Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?


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Thread: Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?

  1. #1
    Jakerz's Avatar
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    Default Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?

    So let me start off by saying I'm 100% new to CNC, I've done some machining on some manual machines (Lathes and Mills) but I know about enough to make me dangerous lol. I'm thinking about getting a CNC Router from Inventables the 1000mm X-Carve specifically, I know this machine is light duty and can't really hold very tight tolerances but I'm wondering if it can even do the work I'm wanting to try and do. I'm wanting to machine cast acrylic, machining channels for the wires and water flow for cooling and the o-ring grooves needed to make everything seal up properly.

    What kinda of tolerances can something like this even hold? I'm not worried about the speed of the process as I wont be selling anything so if it takes a while to cut stuff that's fine. It'll mostly be used for the acrylic and some thin aluminum mostly just drilling holes in the aluminum and maybe some grooves for airflow.

    So am I way out of line thinking I can get something like this to work for what I want? If there is a better machine I don't mind spending more but don't want to go crazy with something that costs 10k lol. I attached a pic of a manufactured case that is similar to what I want to try and do.

    Thanks!
    Jake

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    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?

    Yes, with a few caveats.

    1) If you want polished edges, you'll need to sand and polish them afterwards.
    2) You'll most likely have tool marks (scallops) on the edges. These can be sanded out and polished, but on small inner cutouts, it may be an issue. Depends on how demanding you are.

    Going slow is difficult with acrylic, as it melts.

    Gerry

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    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    Member he1957's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?

    That machine seems a bit pricey for what looks somewhat light-weight so shop around, I'm sure there are more substantial machines for the $ they are asking.

    As Ger21 says, cutting acrylic needs higher feed/cutter speeds and better results can be obtained by using full depth on through cuts and this increases cutting forces.

    When the chips(1) re-weld to the base material it's awkward to clean them up although you can use a "clean-up" finish pass to get better results and edges.

    (1) Cutting slower and with reduced spindle RPM's the chips tend to be more like a "molten dust" than chips and these stick very well to the base material which makes the job messy with a lot of manual effort needed to clean-up.



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    Default Re: Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?

    For better results, use polycarbonate instead of acrylic; it machines a lot better, with less tendency to melt onto the cutters.

    Andrew Werby
    https://computersculpture.com/


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Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?

Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?

Can I get good results out of a hobby class machine on Acrylic for some PC parts?