CNC N00B: Help Needed

mesheau

Member
Hey Guys/Gals,

The company I work for just purchased a CNC table. I've been working the past few days getting it up and running and teaching myself how to use ArtCam (i've had experience with vectric software before) So I do have a bit of knowledge with the whole thing. So far I've cut a rounded rectangle! WOAH!

I have a few questions with regards to tooling and materials.

1. What tools would you suggest for general sign making? I found this tool kit from Techno Inc. (3rd kit down) "SIGN MAKERS TOOLING KIT"
http://www.techno-isel.com/tooling/ToolingKits/index.htm
Thoughts on this? Are these tools something you guys use on a regular basis? I see a few of them are able to cut aluminum which is nice.

2. Material: One of my first jobs requires a brushed aluminum face. I can't seem to find any acrylic or plexi that comes faced or laminated with a decorative finish like brushed alu/chrome. So, I was going to buy 1/4" acrylic clear, and face it with some brushed alu vinyl. Here's my question, would I face before putting it in the CNC? OR face it afterwards?

Thanks for the help, I'm new at this so bare with me.
 

mesheau

Member

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J Hill Designs

Major Contributor
definitely laminate the brushed first. I use mactac IB-2107 laminating adhesive - comes in 17x22" sheets (or something) and sticks like a ..um.. tank
 

J Hill Designs

Major Contributor
fyi that example photo you posted looks like the edges are flame polished as well

edit: fyi2 dont hotlink images, attach them.
 
As far as the bits - that's not the worst kit I've seen, you want the V-Bits, 60-90-120 degrees - I don't run any straight flutes in my CNC - I do run a variety of single flutes for solid surface & plastics - and double flutes for wood. I've got 1/4" end mills for smaller work - 1/2" for really hogging out material and hauling *** through stuff like 3/4" ply - and you've got up-cut end mills that clear the kirf, but some times give you tearout on top - downcut mills that can give you tear out on bottom - or compression bits - that the bottom 1/4 is an up cut and the rest is a down cut...

Then, you need ball nose bits... which is especially important for forming complex shapes (I didn't see any ball nose bits in that kit) - I have from 1/2" bits down to 1/8" bits and then I have a range of tapered ball nose that goes all the way down to 1/32"... but I don't use them very often.

One of the most common materials you'll cut is HDU - and for the most part you can cut that with almost anything - and fast. It's great stuff that will cut beautifuly.
 

mesheau

Member
As far as the bits - that's not the worst kit I've seen, you want the V-Bits, 60-90-120 degrees - I don't run any straight flutes in my CNC - I do run a variety of single flutes for solid surface & plastics - and double flutes for wood. I've got 1/4" end mills for smaller work - 1/2" for really hogging out material and hauling *** through stuff like 3/4" ply - and you've got up-cut end mills that clear the kirf, but some times give you tearout on top - downcut mills that can give you tear out on bottom - or compression bits - that the bottom 1/4 is an up cut and the rest is a down cut...

Then, you need ball nose bits... which is especially important for forming complex shapes (I didn't see any ball nose bits in that kit) - I have from 1/2" bits down to 1/8" bits and then I have a range of tapered ball nose that goes all the way down to 1/32"... but I don't use them very often.

One of the most common materials you'll cut is HDU - and for the most part you can cut that with almost anything - and fast. It's great stuff that will cut beautifuly.

Where would you suggest ordering these from?
 
Where would you suggest ordering these from?

I get most of my bits from www.usroutertools.com - they sell unsrud and Southwest Tools - they're affiliated w/ Camaster who built my CNC.

But this is the set I started with http://www.usroutertools.com/product_p/se bitset 10.htm

I also get some of my bits from http://precisebits.com/products/carbidebits/taperedcarve250b4f.asp they have really nice tapered ballnose bits - collets, nuts - very nice smaller bits.
attachment.php

Then I started ordering single bits - and I order as needed now, but I've pretty much built this 'set' from individual bits without the profiled bits (I can do whatever profile I want in the software and cut it with a ball nose)

http://www.usroutertools.com/product_p/cnc set.htm
 

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deanb444

New Member
Depending on the tight radius of the letters, inside curves, I use 1/4 or 1/8" onsrud spiral up cut bits. Laminate metal to plex first, oversized, then route. Remember to consider grain direction when nesting jobs. Too many times my prod dept nests all but one letter the same direction. Then they tell me we are saving material. The design program doesn't show grain. Also try routing in both directions, clockwise and cclockwise.
 

deanb444

New Member
Btw you are trying to replicate something a laser did. If not the metal was cut separate & added to the flame polished glass colored plex. Are u sure that the brushed is laminate & not vinyl?
 
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