Milling Acrylic

Black LED Acrylic

Pre cut sheets of Chemcast Black LED acrylic can be purchased from TAP Plastics. This acrylic allows the colors of the LEDs to shine through and features a nice matte finish. 

Acrylic Sheet Size:

  • width: 100mm
  • height: 100mm
  • thickness: 1/8in (~2.8mm)

Bantam Tools CNC

In this project, we're using the Bantam Tools desktop CNC milling machine to cut out the heart cover. An 1/8in single flute upcut endmill is used to cut the acrylic.

Generate Toolpath

The acrylic heart cover was designed in Fusion 360. A 2D contour is used to create the outline using an 1/8in flat end mill. The stock acrylic measures roughly ~2.8mm thick and 100mm x 100mm. Max roughing stepdown of 0.2mm is used for cutting multiple depths.

Feeds & Speeds

  • Spindle: 16400 RPM
  • Cutting feedrate: 1500 mm/min
  • Plunge feedrate: 46 mm/min

Download GCode 

The toolpath was generated using the Othermill(otherplan) post processor and exported from the manufacturing workspace in Fusion 360. Download the zip file below and make sure the gcode's file extension uses .nc

Bantam Tools Setup

Set the material to generic using the dropdown menu. Enter in the width, height and thickness so they match our stock material.

  • width: 100mm
  • height: 100mm
  • thickness: 2.8mm

The material placement is set to be aligned at left of the spoilboard origin.

Plan Setup

Open the gcode .nc file using the open file button in the plans section. Set the XYZ placement and enter the values below:

  • X: 2mm
  • Y: 2mm
  • X: 0mm

Milling Tools

Select the 1/8in Flat End Mill from the dropdown menu in the milling tools section.

Install & Probe End Mill

Change the tool using the change tool button in the bantam tool software. Install the 1/8in end mill and select it from the dropdown menu when it's prompt. The tool will slowly plunge and touch the spoilboard to probe the tool.

Secure Stock to Spoilboard

Use the shiny side of the black LED acrylic to adhere to the spoildboard. Strips of double-sided tape is used to adhere the acrylic stock to the spoilboard. The acrylic is placed at the lower left corner of the spoilboard.

Start Milling

Once the end mill and stock has been installed, it's time to start milling! The cutting job takes around 7-8 minutes to complete.

Vacuum Snow

Once the cutting job is complete, you'll want to clean up the acrylic swarf shavings. A tiny tube style attachment can be quite helpful as it can get into all of the nooks and crannies. 

Remove Acrylic Heart

Use alcohol to soften the adhesive from the tape. A palette knife or spatula can be used to get underneath the stock to pop it free.

Heart Shape Acrylic Cover

Use paper towel with a bit of alcohol to wipe the acrylic piece clean. Now it's ready to use in our project! Go ahead and try press fitting it into the 3D printed heart case.

This guide was first published on Feb 12, 2020. It was last updated on Feb 12, 2020.
This page (Milling Acrylic) was last updated on Aug 02, 2020.