Community challenge #10: Milling plastics (closed)

Entry #1 (Henry’s Space Room)

The plastics contest hit at the perfect time for me as I was planning and working on several pieces that utilize the cutting of plastic. Long story short(er), we had our 3rd child at the end of March (crazy time to bring a baby into the world), and probably like many parents of two preschoolers, we didn’t prepare as much as we should have. Then quarantine happened and my wife decided that we would empty our “office” and move the 3yr old in there, so the baby could eventually move into the “baby room”. He got to choose what kind of room he wanted and he said “I want a Space Room”. My thoughts immediately went toward making a “control panel”, but that will be for another day (if I get the permission). My wife wanted a “less flashy” style for the room…she likes Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel type stuff. Anyway, enough of it…here’s what I came up with.

There’s a few more stars and a “shooting star” on the opposing wall. The white is all 3mm white (very slightly translucent) cast acrylic.

All designed in inkscape initially, and then moved to Fusion for the toolpaths. The wood is just ¼” birch ply from Lowe’s also cut on the SO3 (the H-E-N-R-Y letters had been done a couple years ago). Acrylic super glued to the wood.

After some testing, I settled on:

⅛” single flute upcut endmill (cheap one)

Feedrate: 3210 mm/min
Speed: DeWalt on 1

Plunge: 888 mm/min

DOC: 1mm

Screenshot of initial Inkscape design:

I had to change the Earth design later because it didn’t fit the simple theme (looked like a PITA to cut). And the rocket? Well…more to come on that.

Anyone else measure success by whether or not you cut through the bottom layer of tape?

I really was surprised at how well the acrylic cut. I got to a “That’s a pretty good result” point almost right away, tried doubling the feed and got to a “That’s a faster way to get to a pretty good result” point. I didn’t need to do any post processing to the acrylic. I found that the key was to have it secured everywhere…I went through a LOT of tape and a LOT of Super glue. I’m assuming another key was that I was using cast acrylic. I had one break point that erased the Panama Canal, but it broke cleanly and now it’s part of my “simple design”.

Not knowing there would be a plastics contest, I just imported one SVG at a time into the same Fusion project. Basically used it as a template. I’ll share the Inkscape vector and the Fusion template (with toolpath). I just needed to change the sketch and update the toolpath. One could also use Carbide Create or any other CAM program.

SpaceRoom_Acrylic (97.8 KB)