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best way to cut 0.8mm clear PVC sheets

taiwanluthiers

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Location
Xinjhuan District, New Taipei City
Right now I'm helping someone with prototyping a product, and the product includes a very large (4x8 feet sheet) thin PVC sheets that I currently cut with a razor using an acrylic pattern as a guide. It's tedious and very tiring to do, but since it's prototype stage, it's fine.

But eventually I will need to find a way to automate the cutting. I mentioned laser but then laser cutting PVC will release fumes, and so this isn't good for the laser or the operator.

What do you think is a good way to cut PVC sheets? Laser? Water jet? Routers (my concern with router is bit wear and also all the dust that will clog the bit)? Or some other method (like those computer vinyl cutters that cuts with a computer guided razor)?

The plan is to produce something like 5000 units a month...

If using water jet do we need the garnet grains? The PVC isn't all that hard so I don't imagine it needing abrasives...
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Probably a router with an R-8 spindle on it.....:D
Atom makes cnc knife machines for all sorts of materials
 

taiwanluthiers

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Location
Xinjhuan District, New Taipei City
Steel dies might work if the material isn't so large, but we're talking about a 4 x 8 feet sheet of material, and the pattern is just as large. The press needed for this would be prohibitive (and likely cost just as much as a waterjet machine).
 

surplusjohn

Diamond
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Location
Syracuse, NY USA
4x8 is not large for a roller die cutter. How big are the finshed parts? Companies that make clamshell packaging use these types of cutters and they could do the work for you. They can also supply the plastic
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
I would think polycarbonate would be fine in a large router with small reverse helix cutters, regardless you need a big machine or lots of folks with razor blades
 

taiwanluthiers

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Location
Xinjhuan District, New Taipei City
Yea, I'm thinking router would require very good clamping or else there will be out of spec parts.

I don't know if water jet requires clamping...

Trying to avoid razor blades because it tore through razor blades like crazy (had to get a new one after each sheet), it would be nice if it can be laser cut, but as far as I know not only PC doesn't cut well with a laser, it also releases toxic smoke.
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
A piece that big could vibrate and wonder around some on the waterjet as the spray moves over the support grid, a vacuum fixture holding a 4 x 8 sheet has a fine grip on a part that size, a router can do that easy and its a way cheaper machine
 

macgyver

Stainless
Joined
Aug 2, 2012
Location
Pittsburg, KS
Cnc router with a 4x8 vacuum table is a common machine, if you do not need a toolchanger, they can be very inexpensive. At that volume, it would be worth it to get 2 or more machines to have double or more output if you have the space for them.

Tooling can be made to last a long time, talk to the manufacturers of it, dial in the feed/speed and keep the chips sucked away with dust collection and you will have good results.
 

Mike Henry

Titanium
Joined
Aug 18, 2001
Location
Batavia, IL USA
Would Delrin or acetal work for you? That can be cut with a CO2, though a machine that can cut a 4'x8' sheet in one shot might be fairly expensive, though maybe only a few dollars per part averaged over a couple years of your production.
 

surplusjohn

Diamond
Joined
Apr 11, 2002
Location
Syracuse, NY USA
Pc on a cnc router with vacuum hold down is easy and common. Any sign fabricator or eood shop can do that. Fast and cheap. A basic cnc router might start in the 30s and much cheaoer if used. Water jet will give you a serrated edge. Routing will give a perfect edge
 

specfab

Titanium
Joined
May 28, 2005
Location
AZ
I would opt for doing machining on polycarbonate with a router setup, including air blast for cooling and some sort of vacuum chip pickup. It isn't really clear whether you are making finished workpieces that are single-piece at 4x8 ft size, or taking the 4x8 sheet and cutting out multiple parts of smaller size. in any case, I would work with straight-flute carbide router bits, so you are neither lifting the material at the cut or forcing the material (and the chips) down onto the support surface. A vacuum table will certainly hold down a large sheet of material to do profile cutting, as long as you don't have a lot of narrow/delicate sections that may see less atmospheric clamping force.
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
I believe this is the die cut machine, it is cheap enough though the boat ride may not be.
275790490_6602563253129121_2577690866091962712_n.jpg276030656_5061560627220741_5130901987751101892_n.jpg276069143_4378964725538254_616890888281099902_n.jpg

Embosser Machine
$100
Listed 3 weeks ago in Spokane Valley, WA
Details
Condition
Used - like new
Old embosser machine. Does work. But ideal for scrap $$ believe has copper wiring throughout as well. It is heavy so will need trailer.




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