Hi all, thanks for the help in the forums so far, very useful. I have my machine all built now and running test cuts. I built quite a small frame machine to ensure stability and seems to be working fine, I’m only using Dremel for the cutting at the moment. Could anyone please give some advice on what’s the best option for cutting 3mm / 5mm acrylic. I’ve been told a single flute is best but suggestions on a Dremel number would be useful. I’m using estlcam so some tips on speed, etc would also be welcome. Thanks in advance, hope comments help others and I’ll post any results from the cuts. Thanks very much.
I also build a smaller 24" x 24" frame and started using a Dremel. The Dremel worked well for cutting foam board and MDF, but it didn’t work very well for acrylic. Acrylic heats up and melts so you need to slow your spindle speed or increase your feed rate. The Dremel didn’t have enough power to handle either. I had better luck with my $30 Harbor Freight trim router. I could slow down the spindle speed and increase the feed rate, plus I could find single flute bits.
Here are a few tips I found that may help. Mix some dish soap with water and put it on the acrylic. I also put some in a spray bottle so it can be sprayed on when it’s running. This cools and helps lubricate the shavings so they don’t tend to melt back together. Clean the shaving out of any cuts if you can so they don’t melt and remove the acrylic when it starts building up on the bit. Do several shallower cuts instead of trying to go too deep. I was cutting thinner extruded acrylic, but I read that cast acrylic cuts better. I never tried cutting cast.
One more thing that may be interesting to try is using compressed air to cool and blow away the shavings.
Thanks for the reply, really useful. I think I just need a better tool, I was using estlcam, cutting 4mm deep but only dropping the tool by .5mm. I got the same result really, dull uneven edge whatever speed I tried. Time for a new tool I think. Thanks again for the advice.