The Ultimate Guide to CNC Machining Cutting Acrylic parts

the ulitmate guide to cnc machining cutting acrylic parts

cnc machining

Acrylic is an excellent material and ensures you a perfectly smooth finish and good optical clarity without losing the quality of acrylic components. Extruded acrylic cut and cast acrylic cutting are entirely different processes. You must consider the cut quality of acrylic and know how to use the correct cutting strategy and tool. To get good results and for consistent finishing, an upward geometry is suitable to use.

What is CNC cutting Acrylic?

CNC cutting acrylic is a machining process in which an acrylic workpiece can be cut down by using a CNC router. The direct contact of the device can perform the cutting with the acrylic workpiece. The computer programs determine the actual path in the CNC acrylic cutting.

Tool selection, cut quality, and machine acceleration play a significant role in producing higher volumes and making your project a successful project..

Why use CNC machining to cut acrylic?

CNC routers can effectively and quickly cut acrylic and produce the accurate sizes and shapes of acrylic components. It improves performance, enhances accuracy, and reduces waste.

A CNC router or a strong machine used for cutting acrylic parts, and purchasing a suitable CNC router is a key starting point for a project. You should consider four key components during the buying process

  • A heavy-duty router with a solid gantry supports demanding processes and offers a robust and reliable unit. It can minimize vibration and movement.
  • Servo drive motors and Helical Rack systems to deliver a smooth drive. Resulting in the machine can cut, producing higher volumes without compromising quality.
  • Drive system and smooth control to produce a quality outcome. correct tool and machine configuration are essential to consider for a good project.
  • A component vacuum ensures the staying of materials during the cutting process. The slightest material movement can put a software program and spindle out of sync, invariably ruining the piece completely.

Applications for CNC machining acrylic parts

The acrylic components are trendy because of their worldwide use. Recently acrylic pieces were extensively used to make canopies, gun turrets, windshields, and many more products.

Some of the commercial applications of the acrylic components are as follows.

Glass alternative

In manufacturing, the CNC machined acrylic is used as a glass alternative. Acrylic offers more benefits than glass because of being a more rigid material. Glass cannot be machined as easily as acrylics. Acrylics can manufacture products that require a high level of optical clarity and much more complex geometry. Moreover, CNC machined acrylic components are two times lighter and 30 times stronger than glass, thus increasing the durability of products. Acrylic components are also less expensive than glass.

Medical and dental

CNC acrylic pieces have various applications in the medical industry, and the CNC machined medical components maintain highest quality because of the tight tolerance and CNC router tooling. Electronic enclosures, implants, surgical instruments, and orthotics are some quality outcome parts. Acrylic is easy-to-clean and pure material. So, they are beneficial in manufacturing the devices, cabinets, and incubators in various medical centers. Moreover, they are highly used in dental. These are the best choices for dental cavities and fillings. This choice is because they are highly compatible with biologics.

Consumer Goods

The CNC machined acrylic components show various applications in consumer goods. These are used to produce different consumer electronics such as smartphones, laptops, and multiple products. They also make many automotive parts, pipe components, and gear bearings.

Considerations for CNC machining cutting acrylic parts

The following considerations should precisely cut the acrylic pieces with minimum damage.

Adapting your feeds and speeds per application is essential to getting the best out of your investment. Machine settings must reflect what you are trying to achieve as each material differs in thickness, texture, and usability.

The key here is not to set your acceleration rate or feed speeds too high but to start with a lower figure and adjust accordingly.

Metal bits or standard wood can cause a rougher cut, so a large bit size selection is suitable for your job.

A tool with the shortest flute length and cutting depth of 1/2 diameter of bit is suitable for quality cut and reduces the chatter deflection and chatter.

To secure the acrylic, use double-sided tape that can secure your piece, and a 1/4" bit having an edge finish is enough to be glued. You can choose a begin cutting with a ramp inside the V carve pro software.

Choose the suitable acrylic material

Choosing a suitable material is one of the most important things for a correct cutting strategy to create an acrylic piece. So, choose good quality acrylic material and acrylic sheets for your design. It suggests choosing cast acrylic than extruded acrylic as cat acrylic is more clean and easy to cut through during the cutting process. Extruded acrylic can not prove suitable for cutting and get gummy while you cut it.

Different toolings are available for CNC router, such as compression, straight and spiral flutes, and single, twin, and triple flutes. The coating makes the task extremely difficult to complete, but if you select the right tool for your work, it can make a clear distinction between a clean and perfectly smooth cut.

A high-quality router bit is necessary while operating with plastics, and an upward spiral, single flute geometry provides excellent results on acrylic without losing quality. The upward geometry ensures optimal chip extraction and a smooth and consistent finish. Tool selection with the shorter flute length is recommended for best cut quality, and it will be helpful to reduce cutter deflection and chatter.

You must meet an expert who will help you in your tool selection and buying process and determine the suitable material.

Control the cutting speed

It would help control the speed for accurate acrylic CNC cutting. For the precise cutting of the acrylics parts, the spindle speed is recommended to be 18,000 RPM. You can use higher RPM, but it can cause material melting. So, to prevent material from melting, you have to adjust the feed rate at high RPM for the cutting process. Initially, it would help if you used this feed rate for food best cutting. You can set the feed rate on the lower end and multiply the current feed rate to make a new feed rate for your tool.

If you want to get the best results, it is good to divide the cutting process into two small parts, and each part needs to perform with a different tool. You can preserve your finishing tool for a long time, and this action, in turn, enables you to get a high-quality finish. To maintain the highest quality, and if your quality starts to decrease, you should replace your finishing tool regularly.

Use the Correct Bit

It would help if you used the correct bids to create accurate acrylic holes. In the case of acrylic drilling, carbide considers the best choice. O-Flutes End Mills Bits are also an excellent choice because they are designed especially for acrylic cutting and drilling. The bits must remain sharp because the clean edges do not create dull bits.

It is not possible to get good results using wood bits to cut acrylic, and chip removal is the essential factor to consider. Use a bit that is specifically manufactured for cutting acrylic.

Dull bits can also cause crazing and stress cracking. Using a ramp with a bit is recommended during CNC machine acrylics because it helps produce a smooth and consistent finish and protects from any damage.

CNC machining cutting acrylic parts with Worthy Hardware

Worthy Hardware is an industry leader in manufacturing clear acrylic optical components and has maintained its prestigious position. If you need more information about our products and CNC router, get in touch with us.


Worthy Hardware is a CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication company,including CNC machining services,CNC milling services, CNC turning services, laser cutting services and stamping services.Call us +86-76989919645 or email us [email protected] for more discounts for your projects.