Technical Tip of the Week: 5 Materials You Thought You Couldn’t Cut with Your CNC Router Machine

If you recently purchased an AXYZ CNC Router machine, you’ll be happy to learn that you can cut a lot more material with your CNC Router than you originally thought. With the right tools and options, cutting new material can enhance your company’s business as well as increase profits and productivity.  In this week’s technical tip, we’ve come up with a list of 5 materials you thought you couldn’t cut, but will definitely want to consider, as additions to your existing material library.

Textiles/Fibreglass

Textiles, or carbon fibers, are low weight fibres that have high chemical and temperature resistance. They are most popular in the aerospace, civil engineering, and competitive sports industries, but you can also use them for other purposes (for example, floor coverings or window shades). Fibreglass is a less expensive alternative, stronger than most metals and easily molds into interesting shapes. You’ll see this material in aircraft, boats, bath tubs, roofing and many other industries.

Both materials are permeable and difficult to hold down, requiring a careful approach for successful CNC Router cutting. In this video, you’ll see how to properly use the AXYZ pizza wheel knife with attached tangential knife to cut both types of materials successfully.

Vinyl

Vinyl is a strong and durable type of plastic, resistant to moisture and humidity and inexpensive to produce. It’s commonly used in floors and siding, and other applications in the construction industry including signmaking. You’ll also find it in the production of products like gloves, inhalation masks, mouthpieces and dialysis equipment, in rigid or supple forms.

In this video, you’ll see how easily the AXYZ CNC Router machine cuts vinyl using a vinyl knife or heavy duty (kiss cut) drag knife option.

High-Pressure Laminates

In simple terms, a high-pressure laminate is the fusion of heavy paper and resin, with a higher level of resistance to heat and chemicals than low-pressure laminates. Brand names like Trespa, Bakelite and Formica are popular examples of high-pressure laminates, and they’re often used for exterior cladding, facades as well as interior surfaces. You will also see them in floors, countertops and desktops. Durable but abrasive, they often cause major wear and tear on your cutting tools. For this reason, we recommend the Belin Cristal tool or the Onsrud upcut bit for optimal cutting results and tool life extension.

For more information, read Technical Tip Of The Week: How To Cut High Pressure Laminates or watch this video of a Pacer machine cutting Trespa. 

Xanita Fibreboard

Xanita is an engineered fibreboard made from recycled and repulpable cardboard boxes. Lightweight, and non-toxic, it’s often described by industry experts as the perfect solution for companies who regularly use printers. It’s much stronger than traditional honeycomb fibreboard and great for overhead and short-term retail displays, such as point-of-purchase, 3D signage, exhibits and brand activation.

For a better understanding of how this material can be cut, watch this video of an AXYZ Trident machine cutting Xanita using twin knife tools.

Corrugated Plastic

Often referred to as “Twinwall Plastic”, corrugated plastic is made up of polycarbonate and has a neutral PH factor. It performs very well when exposed to harsh chemicals or adverse weather conditions, making it an ideal choice for cladding and other exterior surfaces. You will also see it being used in signage, for either commercial or political purposes, as well as in the manufacturing of reusable packaging. Much lighter than wood, corrugated plastic cuts easily with a utility knife.

This video demonstrates the many graphics and print finishing applications you can get on a variety of materials (like corrugated plastic) using a Trident CNC Router-Knife Hybrid machine.