Need machine recommendations to cut Foamboards
Basically I need to cut foam sign boards much like Ultra Board's and I have zero experience.
It's panel consist of a rigid polystyrene face laminated on both sides (it's similar to cardboard)
The inside is closer to polystyrene foam.
I need to manufacture intricate cuts with minimum dimensions of 150cm x 120cm x 10mm (aprox. 60 inches x 48 inches x 3/8 inches )
These boards cut like butter with a sharpened blade, but quite frankly, it is not feasible for mass production by hand.
Can anyone recommend an inexpensive machine that meets the requirements of the dimensions?
I was thinking of some sort of router that can cut two boards double stacked. Or a drag knife, I'm sure you could increase the IPM with just a knife.
I don't think you can use a drag knife on material that has any significant thickness. Sounds like any router will do a good job.
From ultra board website:
ROUTERS: Routing of ULTRA BOARD works well for creating irregular shapes. We recommend bits available from Onsrud Cutter, Inc., (847) 362-1560 and Vanguard Tool Corp. (276) 673-3496. Use Onsrud Cutter series 52-200 or Vanguard Tool part number VSC-102. Router bits should be double fluted carbide, upward chip removal, with a 1/4” shank diameter and a 3/16” cutting diameter. For best results run at 18,000 rpm and 85 inches/minute. Feed rate may be varied to compensate for larger bit diameter and different rpm. For special and long router bits for CNC routers, we recommend contacting Hartlauer Bits (541) 343-0390.
Good to know, do you have any recommendations on inexpensive machines? I just don't quite trust those chinese made machines.
I should say that I have pretty limited experience with drag knives but it seems like the knife would bind when turning. I think any router would be fine. Your cutting forces are going to be pretty minimal. If your material is really the same as Ultra board you need an 18k rpm spindle and 85 ipm feed. Is this a business? Cutting signs 8hrs/day? more? less?
Yes it is a business. The demand would vary, cutting 4 to 12 hours per day, so yes, average 8hrs/day.
Originally Posted by will gilmore
Cardboard is slightly softer than the ultraboard, from this video it seems a drag knife would do ok. Then again, I have zero experience with cnc routers and the material I aim to cut is going to be between 5mm - 10mm.
If I use a router, would I be able to stack 2 boards and clamp them down, or would that compromise the quality in the cut?
I am a small business, so the more economical/inexpensive the is machine, the better for my pocket
I was looking at shopbots and those look amazing, but far too expensive, I'm sure I could use a lower quality machine since I don't need to cut any metals.
I would call your material manufacturer and ask them. Also call the drag knife companies and ask them. That video is pretty cool. I thought that the knife orientation was actually controlled by a separate axis but reading the comments it looks like it's not. No way that leather is 10mm thick though. They are going to want to know the smallest radius you want to cut.
Does anyone have experience with the Shapeoko? That seems to be the most affordable solution for my application
Hot wire and hot knives are commonly used to cut polystyrene. You can make a simple cutter using cheap coping saw, nichrome wire and an AC variac or variable DC supply to test it out. Whatever you use to hold the nichrome wire you will need a spring under tension when the wire is cold as it lengthens when hot.
Hot Wire Polystyrene Foam Cutter Build « KwartzLab Makerspace
Hot Knife | Polystyrene Foam Cutting Hot Knives, Blades, Hot Wire Tables, & Parts - HSGM USA
A Shopbot is a pretty inexpensive machine I own one and doing what you want they would work great. You can get a PRS standard 4x8 machine with a spindle for under $20K if are running 8 hrs a day and can't afford $20K the product is not worth doing or you don't have much of it to do IMHO. Vacuum hold down would work on 1 sheet or maybe just screwing it down to plywood it depends on the shape and size of parts. You could also build a fixture if you are cutting the same parts all the time.
This is what I use to cut Gatorboard for odd shapes. It will also cut plywood with the proper blade. I'm not sure I would like to use it for hours and hours though!
Die Shop Equipment - Cutawl Saws - AmeriKen Online!
Eastman machine co. www.eastmancuts.com
A few other brand routers to look at Camaster, FMT, Techno & Shopsabre. There are many more some very expensive and then the China made machines but I would stick to USA made for service and parts.