Machining polycarbonate

Does anyone have any experience working with polycarbonate?

I am needing to do some test cuts at 4 different depths using a 30 degree v-bit, I am trying to determine which depth will be good for use to make a go/ no go gauge for work. The cutting will just be a straight line that will later be filled with paint to make things visible, I have done 2 sample lines but I am not getting clean cuts, it seems that the poly is melting so no chips. The depth of the 2 cuts that I have made are .038mm and .6mm at a feed rate of 44 and plunge rate of 15 and the Marita router set at 4 for speed. I tried to increase both feed and plunge and also adjust the router but the results are not any better, any help would be appreciated. I forgot to mention the size of the poly, is is a 6 inch square at a thickness of 6mm.

@GettingStarted I’ve cut a lot of 6mm poly, using both o-flutes for cut outs and v bits for lettering. I’ve never used a 30° v bit, but I would suggest that you should be running the Makita at 1. When you say that your feed rate is 44. Is that inches per min? Again, I’ve only used 60° v bits, but when I do, I am running at 100ipm and Makita 1. Any slower feeds or faster speeds melts the material.


Thank you for your reply, yes it is inches per minute. I will try your suggested settings and see how it comes out.

@GettingStarted Good luck. Keep in mind that my settings are for a 60° bit. You may want to be a bit more conservative for a 30°. The key to any of the acrylics/polys is slow router speed and fast feed. Finding exactly the right combo and take time. Please report back on how you do.

The other thing that seems to work well with any v carve tool path is to re-run it with no changes in settings, right after you run it the first time. The second time around can clean things up a bit.

Thank you Grant, I will let you know how things work out, I did run run the path a second time with no improvement.

Grant, thank you for the info. I did run the project again at the feeds/speeds you recommended and it worked out for 3 of the 4 depth cuts. I stopped at 1.14mm as I was getting a lot of chatter off of the bit and did not want to damage it.

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