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I'm wondering if anyone has any experience cutting aluminum foil on a very cheap CNC or laser cutter. I have a lot of 3d printers but haven't yet purchased a CNC router.

I am talking about aluminum foil about as thick as Reynold's wrap (brand named aluminum foil). So, that's about 0.2mm thick.

I have another use case where I may want to cut an aluminum sheet that is about 1.0mm tall. Do you think it would be able to cut that, in multiple passes even?

To what extend can a cheap CNC router cut aluminum?

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  • $\begingroup$ Laser will be better than router - how would you hold it down on the router? If affixed to a sacrificial bed, then how would you get it off? Food wrap often has a matte and a shiny side - make sure you put shiny side down when laser cutting. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan R Swift Dec 18 '19 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ You may be able to attach a laser to your 3D printer and use the existing motion system - there are guides online. $\endgroup$ – Jonathan R Swift Dec 18 '19 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, lasers can't cut aluminum unless they are very expensive fiber labers (even aluminum foil). That's what led me to the router solution. And yea, you can turn any machine like this into a laser cutter, but you can't turn them into a router -- Routers require a lot more stability at the "print head" for torque $\endgroup$ – nick carraway Dec 18 '19 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ The aluminum foil will reflect the CO2 laser, i have researched $\endgroup$ – nick carraway Dec 18 '19 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe one of those rotating craft knife scalpels? 🤨 $\endgroup$ – Jonathan R Swift Dec 18 '19 at 23:11
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Aluminium foil will probably shred. Stick it on the back of a cardboard,maybe? I would rather use a blade or scissors.

For 1 mm aluminium you should try to use low feed rate (x and y axis speed) and depth of cut (z depth, which corresponds to number of passes) and iterate till you get desired finish and productivity of the machine and tools. Pair it with a coolant of either compressed air (eye protection required), water or oil (check if the machine has a way to drain these fluids properly). Use a cutting tool designed for cutting metals as wood cutting tools might damage prematurely and will put undesired loads the machine.

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