Today we’re going to teach you how to machine carbon fiber sheets as ZMorph VX Multitool 3D Printer is a perfect device for such task. Read further to learn the most important facts about this material, its features, applications, and how to set up your machine to successfully cut carbon fiber.

Carbon CNC machining.
Samples of carbon CNC machining.

What is Carbon Fiber Laminate?

Carbon is a composite material that exhibits excellent strength-to-weight ratio and high-temperature resistance. It’s frequently used as a lightweight alternative to materials like aluminum.

How to CNC Cut Carbon?

In this section, we will guide you through a process of machining carbon fiber sheets using ZMorph VX and CNC PRO toolhead. Carbon is usually treated as an advanced material, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

Carbon CNC machining

Voxelizer Settings

Open your Voxelizer, choose ZMorph VX and CNC PRO toolhead. If it’s your first time with CNC machining, please refer to the ZMorph Academy where we explain the CNC workflow in Voxelizer and ZMorph VX.

Depending on what you want to achieve the settings will differ so it’s actually hard to give default or best milling settings. Most carbon fiber sheets are machinable with speeds 1-3 mm/s. The settings also strongly depend on the thickness of your carbon fiber sheet and chosen milling cutter.

Workpiece Holding

You can use the sheet clamps provided with ZMorph VX or 3D print other solutions. Remember that properly mounting your material to the CNC worktable is a crucial part of CNC machining in general. The material can’t be loose because it will result in a failed attempt. In case you’re still wondering how to safely mount carbon fiber sheets on your machine, we’ve prepared an article on workpiece holding solutions.

Carbon CNC machining
Carbon fiber sheet mounted on the CNC worktable.

While we were testing CNC milling in carbon laminate on ZMorph VX, we used a double-sided tape, which performed good enough.

Carbon CNC machining
Carbon laminate can be mounted on the CNC worktable using double-sided tape.

End Mills

For carbon fiber CNC machining use special end mills. The ones ready for carbon cutting have special construction and differ from regular end mills. Look for tools marked for carbon or laminate machining and refer to the photo attached below. 

Carbon CNC machining
End mill for cutting carbon laminate (click the photo to enlarge).

Carbon Applications

Carbon finds its applications in many fields, as it’s often used as a lightweight alternative to some metals like aluminum. As a composite, carbon can be used in industrial automation, robotics, drones, aerospace, tooling, and construction plates.

Samples

Carbon CNC machining
Small carbon fiber drone frame.
Carbon CNC milling
Custom freestyle carbon fiber drone frame made on ZMorph VX.
Carbon CNC milling
Custom freestyle carbon fiber drone frame made on ZMorph VX (in parts).
Custom carbon fiber drone frame
More info about custom carbon fiber drone frame made on ZMorph VX coming soon.

Health & Safety

Remember that the toolhead is operating on high speeds and you should never touch moving parts of the machine while it’s working. To be safe, close the plastic covers while CNC machining carbon or any other material. Some small particles might get loose and cause damage to surroundings if the covers are opened.

CNC machining
To maximize your safety, always close the plastic covers while using CNC PRO toolhead.

CNC milling in carbon generates very small particles that might be unhealthy. To avoid breathing in the dangerous bits, wear a protective mask.

Carbon CNC machining
ZMorph VX and CNC PRO milling toolhead.

If you have to open the covers for some reason, you should wear protective goggles. Which brings us to the next important issue. While working with materials for CNC machining like carbon fiber and doing big projects using most of ZMorph working area, you should vacuum the particles every now and then. Therefore you’re minimizing the risk of clogging and overheating that can cause the cutter breaking.

Discover more materials compatible with ZMorph VX in ZMorph Materials Library.

ZMorph Materials Library

Author

Content Manager at ZMorph

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