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Get accurate before & after purchase advice from the industry experts!
Get accurate before & after purchase advice from the industry experts!
All you need to know about cutting ACM (aluminium composite materials)

Cutting ACM on CNC Routers? Eliminate all common issues in one hit!

Yes, we’ve heard it many times over, over many years! So many people are having issues when cutting ACM on a CNC Router – cutters not lasting, burring on the top edge, small parts moving and so on. We present the consummate answer - our in-house designed DLC cutters. Absolutely brilliant solution for cutting ACM on CNC Routers! 

Let’s visit the most common concerns one by one:

Small Parts Moving on CNC

  • Spiral upcut cutters are essentially ideal for ACM because they cut fast and help remove the chip well. However, when cutting small parts, especially on smaller CNC routers, the spiral upcut cutters can cause issues with the aggression of their upcut causing these smaller parts to move.
  • There are ways around the problem; some users like machining tabs to hold the small parts together or others use double-sided tape.
  • All these all fiddly little tricks, while generally effective, do take extra time and dont always work well.

Burr on the top edge or bad finish in ACM

  • Again, this is to do with your cutter style. With cutting ACM on your CNC router, the 3 main styles of cutters arent ideal in all cases.
  • The spiral upcut cutters can leave a burr on the top edge, the spiral downcut cutters dont extract well and can cause major issues with heat build-up and the straight neutral cut cutters dont leave as good an edge finish as the spiral cutters.

CNC Cutters not lasting in ACM

  • Let's make it clear. Some ACMs contain materials in them that are very abrasive. Thats why your CNC cutters last well in some brands and batches of ACM and not in others.
  • Premature wear comes down to a few main factors but the most common one is incorrect feed & speeds. Unmatched feed speeds & RPMs often cause issues with cutters overheating. This prevents a nice clean cut edge because the low melting point of plastic fouls the aluminium.
  • It is essential to get the heat away from the cutting edge as quickly as possible.

DLC cutters designed specifically for cutting signage ACM

After many, many exhausting months of trialing and testing back and forth with our manufacturers in Europe, we designed a cutter with the proprietary base material, unique flute design and massively improved cut geometry and a special coating to eliminate all the above issues in one hit.

This in turn means a longer-lasting cutter, better edge finishes and less clean-up work needed. No surprise why they are becoming the favourite tool bit for cutting aluminium. If your tool collection doesn’t include SOLID TUNGSTEN DLC COATED UPSHEAR CUTTER FOR ACM – SINGLE FLUTE, then you’re missing out!

Watch the video to find out more.


Here is why our in-house designed DLC cutters working so well:

  • Its not nearly so aggressive; just aggressive enough to optimise chip extraction, give a beautifully clean, burr-free cut, at the same time drastically reducing part movement issues.
  • It has a special DLC coating. DLC is a thin coating that has similar properties to diamond. The edge stays sharper for longer as it easily copes with the abrasion and remains cool running. DLC gives the cutter a slippery finish to stop the soft aluminium & plastic from sticking to the cutter.

Do you need to use lubricant when routing ACM on your CNC Router?

  • The short answer to this is no, it is not essential and ACM can easily be cut dry. That being said however, using lubricant will help the cutters last longer by both helping the tool to stay cooler while cutting and also assisting with chip removal.
  • There is an aerosol spray lube for ACM & aluminium which is great for use on CNC routers that don't have a misting unit fitted.


Every day our team strives to boost your confidence, productivity and results through our accurate service and tailored support. Feel free to contact us at 0800 488 647 or for more information.


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