I am very interest in what the best material to make instrument panels. I am endeavoring to use a CNC to engrave placards and letter so the back light can illuminate them. What material is optimum for the front and back light panel and where can i purchase them?
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Re: Panel Material
acrylic sheet is easy to use, takes paint well, relatively inexpensive, but when engraved the letters look dull grey not whiite. Boeing use clear acrylic painted white then grey(or brown) and the engraving only cuts throught the top colour coat showing nice white letters underneath. Needs laser for this accuracy. Use slow feed rate and airjet to cool and clear the cutter otherwise the acrylic melts and sticks to the cutter. I've had good resuts with single flute cutters and spindle speeds as low as 7000rpm..
You can use HIPS(high impact polystyrene) which gives a whiter white when engraved but it's really difficult to paint, nothing wants to stick to it. I'd go with the acrylic(Perspex) because if you've gone to the trouble of backlighting it looks so good you want to leave the lights on always.Use OPAL as it acts as a diffuser for your LED's otherwise you get spotlight effects