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I have a contact who owns a Corian facility and they manufacture all types of tops and various items. I helped stain some large cabinets for our church and we did it in his shop so I was given a piece of Mardi Gras Corian to play with. Very cool stuff, and I have wanted to use it for signage myself. If you speak with a Corian rep they could tell you of the possibilities. I bet you can route it but the clean out will be nasty and it probably will eat bits. Let us know if you try it out. This material would be cool for plaques or backers for dimensional letters. There is an alternative material that might be less costly though, not sure of the name but I can find out.
I do a lot of signs using both Corian & Surell the product is expensive, usually what I try to do is buy seconds. As far as the bits, carbide bits seem to last a long time. Solid surface is some what of a brittle material especially in the cold but any material can be damaged if not handled with care. We have V grooved letters and gold leafed them, we have also routed an area out for back ground and used smalts in the routed out area.
I will try to figure out how to post some photos in the gallery this week end.
I saw your pics in the gallery,very nice.I like the house sign,how did you get all the detail.the trees looked v-groved but is the rest it is hard to tell.Did you use a 1/16 bit?not many materials that can handle that small of bit without breaking it.I want to use this material for room numbers on a large hotel.So i would have to put is some small detail work along with the room #.most of the things we v/grove are much larger.
Brian and Mark the trees and every thing in that same area are cut with a 120 deg conic bit it is a 3D engrave tool path. The border is an engrave tool path cut with a 90 deg conic bit. The gold leaf letters are cut with 130 deg conic bit the rest is vinyl. I lay down paint mask before I start to machine the job this makes it easy to paint and gold leaf. The smallest bit that I have used is 1/8" end mill. The burgundy in the text is glass smalt I cut out the area to be smalted .10" to .125" deep and then apply the glass smalt.
Thanks for the info Dennis.We also have a 408 but run auto carve.I am not familiar with the software you are running.I assume the bits you refer to are for the prorgram.( auto carve makes their own bits also.)The software is outdated , auto carve 6.2, but i dont know if i will benifit much from an upgrade.I tried to pick up some corian today and was that a pain in the a**.No one would even give me scraps.I was told that corian can only be purchased by liscened installers and they in turn could not sell me the raw material.Du Pont has strict rules in the distribution of corian,even though my end use is signage.To make a long story short i have a call in to the distributor of the raw material in milwaukee,I was told they would look in to it, but no promises.They are not the only ones that sell solid surface materials, so I will call other companies tomorrow.Im told Swanstone will sell raw material to anyone.I assume it is very similar but has less color selection.
one last question,I assume you have no trouble applying paint,primer and or size to the corian?
There is a better image of the sign on our web site,under bisiness signs, service signs in our gallery.
It is a 2X VG Redwood panel.The dimensions are 3'2"X10'0".I cut the outer shape with a jig saw and primed the entire panel.I have not hade very good luck cutting through wood that thick on the router,it was over 8'and everything has to be oversized and that can get expensive with Redwood.I then rolled the entire panel with green cromatic.
The design was done on AI and then given to me ,converted to .PLT on the PC that runs the table.
Used auto-carve using v-grove option.
Sign is double sided so i had to make sure tool depth did not exceed more than half way through.ended up with these tools
top artwork 140 degee bit
copy and pinstripe 120 degree bit
panel is 10' so i had to make a horizontal cut line in panel.chose to do it between the u and l in consultants.this breaks the job into 2.I dont know it you have this option, I assume you do.using the bottom right of the panel as home point.ran first job, which was copy and pin only.Table then tells you how far to slide the panel forward.Then ran rest of copy and pinstripe.Then changed bits and ran artwork on top.obviously keeping the panel lined up is very very imporntant.Fliped the panel over and repeated the process.There are many steps involved and i tried to give as much detail as possible,Without going on and on about details that you arleady know.If you have any questions just ask.
I then primed the routed areas wiping away excess primer from panel surface.then painted them a similar color to gold leaf.Crome yellow will even work.Then gold leafed everything routed.using a roller and brush touched up around copy.
You are probally going to tell me i should have used gerber mask.I have not had very good luck with it.never seems to make a good seal after routing.
Dennis one more question on the solid surface material.How do you remove mill marks and polish the peice.I got a peice today and cut it on the band saw and it was dull and ugly.I have not put any on the table yet,I dont know if that will produce the same problem?
As far as milling marks the conic bits seem to leave small imperpfections but if I am going to paint or gold leaf those areas I just wipe them down with a cleaner and start painting. On the vertical edges like a cut out I usually run 2 passes to cut almost through the material on the third pass I will cut through and take .20" to .30" off the side for a clean up pass I run the feed on the final pass faster than the first 2.
The only time that I cut in to the material with a flat bottom bit with out cutting all the way through is if I am doing an inset or going to use smalts.
Any mill marks or scratches that are in the material can be sanded out then use rubbing compound to polish the surface.
Paint mask works very well with solid surface material because the surface is so smooth. We did have trouble one time with the mask lifting I think the paint was to hot for the mask.
I did one job that had to be paneled I used Art Path but usually I use Enroute3 I like it better, the job can be imported or built and edited right in Enroute no going back and forth if changes are required.