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Small PVC Letter help

Discussion in 'Laser Cutters' started by Routerguy, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Routerguy

    Routerguy New Member

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    Hey guys I could use some info, I have a customer that wants some text that is .5-.75" tall cut out of .5" thick PVC. That alone is a bit of an issue as my 1/8" router bit will not fit into some of the details. I was thinking of going 1/16" bit but am not sure if its worth it becuase they want rowmark mounted to the top so it looks like a metal face.
    Has anyone done very small letters like this on a 3 axis router before and had luck?

    Jake
     
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  2. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    i've done more 1/2 in letters than i care to remember (especially when you take into account lower case letters).

    i know many people are not big fans of taping their work down like i am but on smaller objects i have had much more success than with a vaccuum and much easier than bridges.

    just adjust your feedrate down. use multiple passes if necessary because of smaller diameter bits.
     
  3. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    Dan, what's a bridge?
     
  4. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Doug,

    Bridge tabs are small wedges or square tabs you leave on the cut letter to keep them from moving away from your sheet material. It's a bridge of material that leaves your letter or shape connected to your sheet material. Once your done, take a sharp knife and cut your letters free. I use them a lot! You should be able to program the size and height in your software. I like making mine about an 1/8" thick and a .25" wide.

    Edited to add, your software should let you add them a specific distance, say every 6" if you like or a set amount, say four for every letter. This would be outside the letter "and" on the inside if it's a letter like a P,Q,O,D,B, etc...
     
  5. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    That's a job for the laser. We cut 1/2" thick acrylic letters from time to time on the laser. Did 100's of them last year for a big job. You can't use PVC in the laser, so you'd have to go with some other material, but a laser will do that job just fine. Plus it'll cut the rowmark for the tops as well.
     
  6. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    so what you are saying ces020 is that a laser is NOT the tool for the job since you can not use the material specified. there are many instances where you do not have the ability to switch materials at will and since the OP specified that material that is the answer that has been given, in addition most people want to utilize the tools that they have in their own shop...there are not too many shops in the sign industry that i have encountered that have the tools to cut any and all substates that we all may encounter.
     
  7. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Yep, laser would be nice tool in the arsenal, but not in the budget. Will have to suffer with the $65k router table that we have on hand. Taping down does work, I've used it before but will use bridge tabs when I have the option. We chop up tons of PVC and 84.3% of the time, requires bridge tabs.
     
  8. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    thanks for the info on bridges... I'm surprised I've never heard of that... that's good information!
     
  9. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

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    Yes Dan, that's exactly what I'm saying. I wasn't suggesting buying a laser. I was suggesting working with someone that's got one and you might end up with a more cost effective solution for the situation at hand.

    There is no reason you couldn't substitute an alternative laser friendly product and knock the job out and make some money.

    Sorry for suggesting an alternative. I'll remember that next time when I see someone else offer up an alternative when they are trying to use the wrong tool for the job.

    Just because you own a hammer, doesn't mean everything you see is a nail.
     
  10. Routerguy

    Routerguy New Member

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    Ok too many angry people this morning, we actually do have a laser, well 3 of them but as noted the client has asked for PVC, Ill run the numbers today and see if acrylic would be an option but I think the cost will be a bit high for the customer. I would like to be able to cut them on the router just looking for tips and tricks. I searched for 1/16" tools yesterday, Harvey has a endmill but its reach is right at 1/2" to short if i lay some rowmark on it. Anyone know another tool supplier where a tool like this would not be custom or is Harvey the only micro tool company around?
     
  11. signage

    signage Major Contributor

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    Try MSC Direct!
     
  12. JoySigns

    JoySigns Member

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    I'd consider Gemini laser cut acrylic.
     
  13. jemmyell

    jemmyell Member

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    Do you have a drum sander? Maybe you could glue the PVC to a thin backer board, screw that to a thicker spoil board then sand the thin backer off after the letters are cut. This is used to production process some laminated abalone products on CNC routers.

    PreciseBits.com is a great source of micro tools but their 1/16 deep reach only has a .500 DOC also.

    -James Leonard
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
  14. petrosgraphics

    petrosgraphics Member

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    i have cut many a letter on my router, i believe onsrud makes the bit you are looking for.
    you can use a .25 backing piece of pvc, clean it up real good, spray it with 3m #77
    adhesive, works real well for keeping your material down, in the past i have even lite sanded the back of the .5 pvc to add a little extra grab... just make sure your materials
    are good and clean before you place 1 on top of the other..try it a couple of dif. ways
    it should work for you... good luck
     
  15. mtmdesigns

    mtmdesigns Active Member

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    small letters with pvc can actually be pretty simple, I used to use the bridge but the cleanup after was a pain, so what I do now is take my 1/8 onsrud and any A's or B's etc. that it wont let you toolpath because the bit is to big you change the settings of the bit to make it work only on the internal cuts, then go 1 pass at 100 feed rate 24000 rpm without using your hose vac and the chips from the cut will hold the letters in place. This is done without glue, tape etc. Just make sure your spoilboard is level.
     
  16. visualeyez

    visualeyez Member

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    Just a thought, would a vacuum table work well with a router?
     
  17. astro8

    astro8 Active Member

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    A little late to the conversation but if you d/sided tape it, no vac or dust extractor and most importantly in my mind is to check your toolpath start points.

    Most letters are ruined by not optimising the start points. The tool gets jammed at the end of the cut and trys to lift the letter and ruins it. I've cut hundreds of tiny letters with a 2mm router bit after I've optimised the start points, before I figured that out it was a frustrating exercise.
     
  18. mtmdesigns

    mtmdesigns Active Member

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    Good Point.
     
  19. miltondavis

    miltondavis Member

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  20. eddesign

    eddesign Member

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    Application tape

    I have used application tape mount tape to back side of sintra spray 3M mounting spray glue to one side of cardboard and mount to back side of application tape. It holds the letters in place and tape peels off with no glue clean up
     
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