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How to make better router cuts

bradleyheathhays

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I'm in the process of building some molds out of 1/2" acrylic sheet and I'm using pattern pieces and a straight cut bit on my router to cut the acrylic to size (first time I've done this btw). Although I know my pattern pieces are good and straight (come from a pro cabinet maker) the acrylic ends up having little ripples on the cut face no matter how little I try to take off at a time. Since the patterns are good I guess the problems got to be with my setup.

I'm running a Dewalt DW616 1.75? HP router on a flimsy Skill RAS900 router table that weights maybe 15 lbs. and not held down. The bit set was cheap off amazon and unfortunately has a 1/4" shank.

I'm guessing I need to at least screw the router table down and use a 1/2" shank bit. Any other suggestions?
 

trc65

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I think a spiral cut bit would give you a better cut. Lots of companies advertise bits specifically for plastics.
 

DLJeffs

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I've not cut any acrylic with a router but another problem might be heat. Acrylic melts easily. I suggest cleaning out the chips constantly to reduce the heat buildup. An upcut spiral bit as Tim suggests would also help remove chips from the cutting area.
 

barry richardson

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You might have an out of wack bit from poor machining or a hard catch. Also your "flimsy" router table might be causing chatter....
 

bradleyheathhays

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Thanks for all the good advice.

I guess the good news is there's lots of room for improvement.

I've had a lot of suggestions for a O flute upcut bit but despite all my searches I don't believe there's one of these made that's designed to be a trim bit, with a guide bearing. All of them I found were meant for CNC. The closest kind of bit I can find to what's been suggested is something like the Whiteside RS5200 1/2" shank 1/2" bearing 2" cutting surface length. If a O flute upcut can't be found would this do?...

bit.jpg
 
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gman2431

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You could use a guide bushing, but then you would have to account for the offest. It might be easier to adjust your templates than to chase bits... The 2 flute you pictured will still show tool marks.
 

frankp

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I always cut acrylic with a bandsaw and a high TPI blade. With a router I'd definitely go with a flute bit and maybe play around with the speed to see how much of an affect that has. I suspect DLJeffs is onto something with the heat.

EDIT: Good grief, I didn't realize the OP was from June. Did you ever figure out a good solution?
 
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gman2431

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I always cut acrylic with a bandsaw and a high TPI blade. With a router I'd definitely go with a flute bit and maybe play around with the speed to see how much of an affect that has. I suspect DLJeffs is onto something with the heat.

EDIT: Good grief, I didn't realize the OP was from June. Did you ever figure out a good solution?
O flute cutter. Lol
 
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