Cleaning up acrylic cut using router - Router Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Default Cleaning up acrylic cut using router

I have to cut some 1/8" acrylic. I was going to use my table saw with a thin kerf 72t blade. However I'm expecting I'll have to clean up some edge chipping using the router.

I'm new to routing, I've used my router free hand a few times but I've not made much use of my router table yet.

Is there any way to do the edge cleaning on the router table or am I better off clamping an edge guide to the work and running the router freehand?

To use the router table I'm thinking I'd need a very slight additional thickness on the fence behind the bit to make up for the material removed.

Thanks and sorry if this is a n00b question
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 07:05 PM
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Extreme control on the table saw will produce a near chatter free edge.
Jointing on the router table is more forgiving but will still leave
a mill mark. You could be trading one set of chatters for another.
However, wet sanding will remove the mill marks from the saw or router.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-22-2016, 10:37 PM
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I cut 12mm plexi and lexan on my table saw , then clean it up on my belt sander with 220 . You can get it to a clear edge if you use a rag with toothpaste on it and a lot of elbow grease.

If your lazy like me , you can use a torch to get a clear edge after sanding . You have to be very careful as it's very easy to burn the plexi if you hold it to long . I put masking tape on both faces and just leave the edge exposed so they don't damaged by the heat
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Last edited by RainMan 2.0; 11-22-2016 at 10:40 PM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 06:57 AM
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There is also a way of turning the edge clear like he face surface, by carefully melting the edge with a heat gun or torch, but it requires extreme skill to get right without destroying the piece. Thinner pieces require even more skill, or luck.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 07:14 AM
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In the sign business, I found that the edge from a router was typically cleaner and easier to smooth. For a while we heated the edge but found that this can cause small cracks in some plexi, which may not show up right away. I think it's worse with colours (the additives maybe?). So we switched to buffing the edges on a bench grinder setup. Unless there was obvious divots we didn't even sand the edge. We had a 1 by 6 inch plexi bar for a fence.The machinist next door kindly took a 1/16 off of half of it. If we cut parts on a panel saw, we would route the edges anyway to clean them before buffing.

If you have methylene for gluing parts, you can try wiping the edge with a rag moistened with it. That works well but you have to be careful not to get any on the face.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 08:24 AM
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Paul, good point about weakening the edge with heat . Plexi actually gets small cracks if the surface to be glued was cut with a laser
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Ok ,I never insulate
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2016, 09:02 AM
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This should be mentioned as a shop hack! Thanks, Rick. I'll use the idea.

It seems I never finish what I
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-24-2016, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chessnut2 View Post
This should be mentioned as a shop hack! Thanks, Rick. I'll use the idea.
I laughed as I asked the lady at a hobby shop if they had any plexiglass polish , and she replies with , well do you have any toothpaste ?
And I'll be dammed if it didn't work , and smelled minty afterwards too

After seeing how abrasive it was , I was kinda concerned with brushing my teeth too much after that though
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I donít always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2016, 04:52 AM
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When I did acrylic fabrication we used routers for edge preparation and then used a torch for the edges. The trick with a torch is to use hydrogen/acetylene instead of an acetylene/oxygen mix. Use a small fine flame and don't hesitate as you're running the torch along the edge. Been doing that for 45 yrs. with no issues.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2016, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyk View Post
When I did acrylic fabrication we used routers for edge preparation and then used a torch for the edges. The trick with a torch is to use hydrogen/acetylene instead of an acetylene/oxygen mix. Use a small fine flame and don't hesitate as you're running the torch along the edge. Been doing that for 45 yrs. with no issues.
Great tip . That's interesting Andy , I wasn't aware the of that

I donít always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate
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