Shopbot - Non-wood materials (Plastic)


Is it OK to cut/route materials on the shopbot that are not wood? Specifically I am looking at a project that would require some cut outs in plastic like a Lexan or Plexiglas.

I know there would need to be a good clean up of the equipment afterwards.


I dont know the specific rules regarding the material at makeict, but a lot of people use it on the shop bot forum. But you have to be absolutely positive that it doesn’t contain chloride.


Nothing wrong with that.


I think you might be confusing the laser with the shop bot. One of several types of the materials you can’t cut on the laser(s) are anything containing chlorine.

As far as the shop bot goes there are several issues to contend with. Spindle speed. The lower end speed of the router is 10000-12000 rpm (from memory i think). This will limit the material/end mills you can use. The dust collection might be an issue. The last time I was in the dust boot was gone, so it was not collecting the cuttings on the shop bot well.

I have cut foam/wood I would not see an issue with plastics. You will need to pick the correct bits and feeds and speeds to not damage the work or bit. Wood will char plastic will melt. The foam and many plastics will have a static charge and the dust/pieces stick to everything, so they need to be cleaned well.

You might also want to pick up an end mill made for the type of plastic you are going to cut, and use it only for that. Then you would have the best outcome.

As long as the speeds are correct and you are making chips and not fine dust, and the dust collection is working properly the shop bot wont mind.


Hey Tom, here’s the shopbot forum I was referring to. They might have laser stuff on there also, who knows. You can search topics on that forum, such as safe/unsafe materials to use.


Good news. I’m almost done with the dust collection boot. It was carved from plastic using the same feeds and speeds I would use on hard woods. It cut great. The only thing I’m missing for the dust boot are the brushes. I can’t find an easy option for that yet. I’m open to suggestions.



I forgot to post. The boot is done and it’s awesome. It’s green and hideous. But very effective.


Pics or it didn’t happen.


I went in solely to look at it. It is beautiful.