Has anyone had any experience with solid surface? What tooling works best in a router/machining center? And what kind of feeds and speeds can I expect? Also, I have cut acrylics before and found that in some cases back cutting as opposed to climb cutting gives a better finished edge. Is this the case with solid surface?
Solid surface has great machining qualities and so is very easy to work with. In general, much of what you know from cutting acrylics can be applied to solid surface, since it is a type of cast acrylic. More specifically, the following tooling works very well.
Chipbreaker tools are good for roughing passes or edges that are not exposed. A 2 or 3 flute finishing tool does a great job when taking a small finishing pass. There is no clear cut answer as to whether climb or conventional cutting works best; it depends on the material and sometimes even the batch. Start with conventional cutting, but experimenting is the best way to be sure.
As far as feeds and speeds, it depends on what type and make of machine you are using. On a good solid cnc router, feed speeds of 500 inches per minute at 15,000 rpm are very realistic, cutting with 1/2 inch 3-flute tools in 1/2 inch solid surface. In lighter machines, you will need to slow down somewhat and take multiple depth passes. Keep your chiploads in the range of .005" to .012" per tooth.
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Antistatic air curtains seem to work best. While they won't eliminate the sticky situation entirely, they will help a great deal.
This is something you should be aware of if you are planning to machine a good deal of plastic.
As far as feed speeds, 5-6 meters per minute for linear cuts on average, slower on arcs/curves depending on the radius.