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Aluminium Composite Material

Best feeds and speeds and spindle RPM

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Alan Wood 414/01/2022 17:24:46
229 forum posts
12 photos

A contact has asked me to machine some front panels made from 3mm ACM. Has anyone had experience of this material ? (I haven't yet received the samples to play with). My first thought is that the thin top side aluminium skin is likely to tear unless I sandwich a spoil board on top of it.

Joseph Noci 115/01/2022 09:55:51
1069 forum posts
1307 photos


What composition is the material in question? There seem to be so many core material types, from resin bonded fibreglass to PTFE, PE, PVC, a variety of foams of different densities, etc...

I did actually try make some panels from a PVC cored Ali substrate - was not a great success. The PVC was difficult to machine - did not work with high RPMs ( 1200rpm..) and would go gummy and tear the Ali surface. This was quite a few years ago, when I was still in SA, and then managed to find a single flute reverse spiral 4mm carbide mill which worked reasonably - around 800rpm if I remember well and quite aggressive feed rates. The reverse spiral help push everything down, had to use compressed air on the cut line to get swarf out and keep the cutter cool. The Ali still had a rough edge - was not really acceptable to me. I tried some of the HDPE Foam core as well - I never managed with that at all.


Circlip15/01/2022 10:50:06
1499 forum posts

Isn't a high pressure water system or laser cutter essential for good results for these materials?

Regards Ian.

Samsaranda15/01/2022 14:10:04
1396 forum posts
5 photos

I would think a laser cutter more suited to this but dependent on what the core material is. Dave W

Alan Wood 415/01/2022 14:49:06
229 forum posts
12 photos

Thanks for the input on this.

I will see what the sample material performs like and let you know.


Adam Mara15/01/2022 14:49:35
167 forum posts
3 photos

At work they use a 1990's Gerber Dimension CNC router with a Perske high speed motor to cut it, using a HS cutter, very little cleaning up required afterwards. Also used with a V cutter through the top layer and core for bending purposes. For general straight cutting they use a DeWalt table saw with a fine TC blade.

AJAX15/01/2022 15:00:47
366 forum posts
42 photos
Posted by Samsaranda on 15/01/2022 14:10:04:

I would think a laser cutter more suited to this but dependent on what the core material is. Dave W

We aren't allowed to laser cut PVC at work due to the toxic fumes this releases. At home I've CNC machined panels in pvc electrical enclosures with no problems at 8000 RPM

old mart15/01/2022 19:36:13
3717 forum posts
233 photos

The variety that I have encountered had the aluminium skins bonded securely to the substrate, it would not have been easy to peel it off.

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