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Date:  1-5-2018
Number of Hours:  20.00
Manual Reference:  
Brief Description:  Switch plate swap

With the ability to engrave my own backlit switch plates mostly worked out I am replacing all of the laser engraved plates. The laser left a residue of decomposed plastic that muddied the edges of the lettering. This also gives me a chance to fine tune each plate for appearance and readability. I also managed to leave off a switch for the Taxi light in the first version. This will be added.

Sat and Sunday time were limited. I was able to complete all but two of the switch plates. Two more to go. Then I can decide if I want to redo a few to correct very small defects on a couple of the plates.

Just for posterity here are the parameters I zeroed in on as I ran many, many trials
Engraving bit = 0.5 mm upcut spiral
Engraving speed = 7 ipm
Engraving programed cutter size = 0.01 inches
Depth per pass 0.015, Total depth = 0.025
14-point font
Cutting speed for separation and holes = 25 ipm
Depth per pass = 0.045
Plastic thickness = 0.135

As I add more text here, I just finished the last of the improved switch plate engravings. After many fails, (thus the many hours) what I learned was that the plastic stock was not perfectly flat. There was a variation in the surface to be cut of up to 0.020 inches. It might not sound like much, but with a cutting depth of 0.015 inches, an error on the minus side gave a first cut of 0,035 if the cutter was zeroed at a low spot. That will break and or melt plastic onto the cutter and burn the surface. 20 bits broken.

What I finally did to compensate was a pre-cut of 0.005 with the cutter zeroed 0.010 high. Then the 0.025 programed cut. Having deeper areas is no problem since the plastic is 0.125 thick.
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X-Carve at work

X-Carve at work

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Completed Switch plates

Completed Switch plates

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