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Using Router on Acrylic?

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bp122

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Hi All

I am contemplating building a couple of table saw throat inserts from Acrylic.
Is this a good idea?

On another note, in general, is Acrylic an easy material to cut using regular wood cutting blades, drill bits and router bits?
Do we have to pay close attention to the cutting speeds?

What about using hand planes on Acrylic edges?
 

Lons

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Yeah watch the speeds as acrylic can easily melt and weld together behind the blade, I've seen that happen mostly with jigsaws and bandsaws and I cut acrylic and other plastics regularly with normal blades, depends on the acrylic thickness so sometimes I use a sacrificial ply or mdf underneath.

I also cut on my tablesaw with a standard 40t Freud blade but when in the trade we used 60t negative rake blades for consistant cuts.

Not usually a problem with a router if edge cuts and not too big a bite but if cutting a central slot speed will be an issue.

It's like cutting glass, don't be scared of it just careful. :)
 

marcros

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I wouldn't use a hand plane, I would stick some abrasive to a straight piece of timber or aluminium and make an abrasive "file".
 

Lons

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I wouldn't use a hand plane, I would stick some abrasive to a straight piece of timber or aluminium and make an abrasive "file".
+1
You can and I have used a plane but they tend to chatter. A flat wide file is also a very good way to finish edges followed bu a light touch with abrasive, we used to do this before flame polishing an edge.

Whatever you do be very careful doing the edges as acrylic will slice into your hand very quickly indeed.
 

marcros

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I had forgotten flame polishing. I only did it once and it was easy and effective. I spent ages researching it and was dreading doing it, but it couldn't have gone better.

dust from routers and saws is a pain because it is laden with static. it is bad enough on the lathe, but usually you get nice strings on the lathe.
 

Lons

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My missus complains like hell when I've been cutting acrylic, it does get everywhere. Flame polishing is easy once you've got right the speed of the flame moving across the material, it isn't suitable for all applications though as it causes stress in the material.

My supplies are gradually dwindling but pretty good considering it's nearly 30 years since I was in the industry and it was free material.
 

TheTiddles

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All that’s said about acrylic is good here, but as an insert it’s not a great material as it’s brittle, hence if it takes a hit it’s likely to break into pieces and be fired at you, I’d consider something like Tufnell or polycarbonate more

Aidan
 

Eric The Viking

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Tufnol is also (supposed to be) self-lubricating in many applications. Very useful stuff. IIRC, it's the same chemistry as Paxolin, used for electronic circuit boards in times past, except that it has a fabric strengthener/reinforcement.

tufnol sheet - Google Search

I noticed Trent Plastics comes up in that search. I've used them in the past for acrylic - not expensive and excellent service. I'm sure there are plenty of other good ones in there, too - just sayin'.

E.
 

Lons

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Tufnol is also (supposed to be) self-lubricating in many applications. Very useful stuff. IIRC, it's the same chemistry as Paxolin, used for electronic circuit boards in times past, except that it has a fabric strengthener/reinforcement.

tufnol sheet - Google Search
Tufnol is what I used for mine and it's excellent, can't remember which grade as it was an offcut, some are paper rather than fabric but that doesn't matter for this application.
It stinks a bit when cutting and is a bit dusty though.
 

bp122

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Thanks for the responses, fellas. I will look into tufnol.

A while ago in my previous job, I had come across another material called oil filled nylon 6, which was a stable material to machine using traditional lathes and mills and could be used for any light to medium duty application to reduce friction with or without continuous lubrication. I wish I had kept the sample slab they had given me! That would have been a good candidate for the throat inner plate!
 

Eric The Viking

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Thanks for the responses, fellas. I will look into tufnol.

A while ago in my previous job, I had come across another material called oil filled nylon 6, which was a stable material to machine using traditional lathes and mills and could be used for any light to medium duty application to reduce friction with or without continuous lubrication. I wish I had kept the sample slab they had given me! That would have been a good candidate for the throat inner plate!
Trent plastics may well know - they were very helpful to me...
 

TheTiddles

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Yes, oil filled nylon will do, as will many plastics, just not acrylic. I’m not seeing what a lubricious surface will do for you though, it’s a clearance fit you’re after right?
Aidan
 
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