What is Plastic CNC Routing?

Plastic CNC Routing

CNC routing, in simple terms, uses factory tools and machinery controlled by pre-programmed computer software. In the case of plastics, it is used to cut precisely and into complex shapes from plastic sheets, rods, or other forms of raw material. The accuracy and repetition of the process are high due to its automation.


The 4 processes in CNC Routing.

  1. Design and Programming: The first step involves using CAD software to design the 3D model of the part. The design is then converted into CNC code by CAM software, which generates toolpaths required for the process of routing.

  2. Material Setup: The material is mounted onto the CNC machine's table. Properly aligning and securing the material to the table is critical for precision cutting.

  3. Routing Operation: The CNC router follows programmed toolpaths to cut, engrave, or mill the plastic material. Various tools and methods, such as end milling, engraving, and carving, can be applied to achieve different results depending on the desired outcome.

  4. Finishing: After the routing operation, the part may undergo additional finishing processes, such as sanding or polishing, to achieve the desired surface quality and precision.


What type of applications are there CNC Routing Plastics?

The precision and versatility of CNC routing of plastics mean that it is applied in a variety of industries. Key applications include:

  • Prototyping: CNC routing is rapid and precise, making it ideal for creating prototypes of plastic parts, allowing for rapid iteration and testing of designs.
  • Manufacturing Components: Industries like automotive, aerospace, and electronics use CNC routing to manufacture components with high dimensional accuracy and consistency.


Important considerations when CNC Routing Plastics.

  • Material Properties: Plastics differ in hardness, flexibility, and melting points, which determine the cutting tools and parameters to be used.

  • Tool Selection: The selection of the cutting tool material, geometry, and coating in the router determines the quality of the finished part. Tools must be chosen with respect to the plastic workpiece material. 

Why you should use CNC Routing?

CNC routing of plastics is a very effective and accurate technique for generating many shapes of plastic parts and products.

By understanding the properties of materials, selecting the right tools, and optimising the cutting parameters, manufacturers can achieve quality results with minimal losses and reduced production costs.

The advancement of technology continues to expand the capabilities and applications of CNC routing of plastics, leading to new possibilities for innovation and efficiency in manufacturing.

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