Face Shields, Sneeze Guards, Machining Plastics and Acrylics

While we have found ourselves in the midst of a situation no one could have imagined we would ever be in, quite a few of our customers have to stepped up and contribution their production capacity and be a part of the solution to nationwide shortages of personal protection needs. For those volunteering their time and efforts, we commend you!

In this article we will highlight particular tools that may be needed in the production of urgent supplies. The common applications that we have seen among our customers has been for face shields and sneeze guards.

Parting Material for Face Shields

The material that we have found most common for the face shields is .02″(.51mm) PETG. Typically we would suggest a Polished O-Flute up-cut bit for most rigid plastic materials. The reason for this, is to get the plastic chips out of the cut so they won’t melt and form back to the material. However, when you cut material that is .5mm thin you have the risk of an up-cut bit pulling the material off the table. An alternative bit for this is a Straight O-Flute as it won’t have the tendency to pull the material off the table. Some CNC Machine have a “shoe” that is under the shroud that applies pressure on the material which in this case an up-cut can work. If there is no shoe and the material is very thin we recommend a Straight Polished O-Fute.

Should I go with 1 Flute or 2 Flute Bits?
Due to the nature of face shields, being typically sized 9″ x 9″ (with a radius on the corners) the machine has trouble getting to full speed before it reaches the next turn, so a single flute is a better choice. If the tool has 2 Flutes and is not moving through the material fast enough, the chip load will be too small, creating excess heat and cause melting.

Cutting Material for Sneeze Guards

Sneeze guards, which are commonly seen in use at grocery stores, banks and gas stations, are manufactured with a more rigid plastic and acrylic than the face shields. The most common thicknesses that we have encountered are 1/4″ and 3/8″. For machining these, a Polished Up-cut O-Flute router bit will work best.

Rounded Edge
Some customers have found that that it’s easiest to finish the edges with a Solid Carbide Rounding Edge Straight/Upcut Bit. The style of cut depends on how strong your material hold down is. We recommend a Straight O-Flute for weaker material hold down and Up-Cut for stronger material hold down.

We want to thank all the customer’s that are donating their time to provide resources to the healthcare industry, if we can provide any information to assist with the production of the live saving equipment please reach out 800.544.8436