GRAPHICS PRO

July '20

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6 8 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M W ith the advent of COVID-19 and the shutdown of nones- sential businesses across the globe, many CNC machin- ists have been finding opportunities to fight the pandemic through the fabrica- tion of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Industries that primarily used acrylic and plastic for products like signs and graphic displays are shifting their focus to the creation of face shields, in- tubation boxes, sanitization stations, and protective screens. Whether it's creating a face shield or a 3D sign, a superior product always includes a smooth-edge finish. There are several factors that impact this. Your machine's configura- tion—including the drive systems, spindle, and general construction—plays a big part in the quality of the cut. Another considera- tion is the type of cutter that you use. To help you understand how cutters work, follow these simple guidelines and watch how easy it is to achieve the best edge finish for all your plastic/acrylic-relat- ed projects. SELECTING THE RIGHT CUTTER Using the right cutter for the job makes all the difference between getting a jagged, rough, frosty cut or a nice, smooth, clean cut. Even though it's a small piece of the machine, the cutter is doing the majority of the hard work. When it comes to cut quality, it's one of the most important parts. The best cutters are specific cutters. While a cutter may work well with one type of material, it might not always be the best choice for others. In fact, some cutters CNC Router Tool Basics for Smooth- Edge Finishes For the best cut quality, use a larger-sized tool to do most of the cutting, then use a finishing tool to take a fine amount of material off the part at the end of the process. (Image courtesy ShopBot Tools and Glass Impressions) CNC fabricators are making a variety of PPE, such as face shields and intubation boxes, from plastic cut on a CNC router. (Images courtesy AXYZ) S I G N A G E & P R I N T I N G B Y S U S A N M A T T I N E

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