How to Cut your ChromaLuxe panels with a CNC router
(adapted from the Universal Woods instructions from www.starttosublimate.com)
Based on our experience, cnc-routing of ChromaLuxe panels is very different from routing other substrates.
Our panels are coated with a unique coating containing very different properties than the substrate. Consequently, the cutting parameters must be understood and controlled carefully to produce a good quality cut. You can use a CNC router to cut Aluminum, Hardboard, FRP, MDF and HDF. Buying an in-house CNC router gives you the possibility to cut any shape or size, reduce mistakes and keep labor down to the absolute minimum.
We present the settings below as our advice on how to cut our full sheets. You should contact your local cnc-reseller for specific settings for each substrate. Correct machine settings and using the correct bits are key to have a perfect cut. In the download section you can find machine specific settings for Zund G3-3XL 1kw & 3kw, ESKO Kongsberg C/X/XS and Summa F-series.
We advise not to cut aluminum ChromaLuxe panels with a laser cutter, as it will harm the polymer coating.
We achieve the best results using a 3/16" single edge straight O-flute bit manufactured by Onsrud when routing a full sheet of ChromaLuxe material. We have tried several other cutting bits, but have found the 3/16" single edge straight O-flute greatly reduces the chance of chipped coating near the cut edges of the part.
Our optimal feed speed (the speed at which the cutting tool travels around a part) is anywhere between 100 to 150 ipm (inches per minute). This allows us to reproduce consistent quality edges in a relatively short amount of time. Attempting to increase the feed speed beyond 150 ipm will increase the chance of chipped coating near the cut edges of the part. The size of the final panels will determine also the speed you can use. You can find online feed rate calculators to understand the best settings.
We achieve good results using a rotary vane vacuum pump that generates anywhere from 22 to 27 in Hg. Smaller parts require more vacuum for sufficient hold down pressure to resist moving when being cut. It is very important for all parts (small and large) that enough hold down pressure occurs near the edge of the part being cut to eliminate vibration that can be created by the cutting tool. If vibration occurs, there is a greater chance of chipped coating occurring near the cut edges of the part.
We have achieved the best results using a climb cut tool path. Not using a climb cut tool path when milling ChromaLuxe may increase the chance of chipped coating near the cut edges of the part.
RPM depends on the design of the cutting tool, the cutting feed speed, and the spindle power, so it is not a requirement that this parameter is followed.
We know that cutting in 2 steps will give the best results. That means that we first remove 3/4 of the material with a speed of 150 inch/min, and in the second step the leftover material with a slower speed of 100 inch/min. If you want to invest in your own CNC cutting device, you should test the device before buying. Try out several shapes (big, small, ...) and send us some cut samples, so we can confirm you if the cut is made well.
Please find here below some technical information about the bits we use:
More info: Visit www.onsrud.co