The article presents the methodology of introducing automatic carbon fiber panel cutting technologies at the Composite Testing Laboratory of the Institute of Aviation. It describes the process of implementing the new cutting technology which boosts the efficiency of preparing composite samples for strength testing, with the requirements applicable to edge smoothness and dimension tolerances taken into consideration. It also reviews the literature concerned with three most popular composite material cutting methods: laser cutting, abrasive water jet cutting and machining, presenting the strong and the weak points of each one of them. After selecting the machining technology relying on a disc, cutting tests have been performed. Cutting discs coated with diamond particles, and carbon fiber panels were used during the tests. The tests were performed with the use of the INFOTEC CNC machine, with an adapter enabling the installation of cutting discs with the maximum diameter of 150 mm.
The article presents the description of technological trials and the results of three methods of machining carbon fiber reinforced composites panels. It also reviews the literature concerned heat affected zone in composites and its influence on material properties. As a part of the research, the cutting method using diamond coated saw was tested, as well as the milling method with two different types of carbide milling cutters. The processing of the panels was done using 4-axis CNC machine with special adapter for cutting discs in Composite Testing Laboratory (Center for Composite Technologies, Warsaw Institute of Aviation). The methods were compared in terms of machined edge quality and panel temperature during the processes. For this purpose, thermocouples were mounted into panels. Records from thermocouples were included. Edge quality and surface roughness have been checked by microscopic observation. Additionally, samples machined by each evaluated processing method were tested using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The method was used to determine the glass transition temperature of the tested material. The article conclusions contain a comparison of three processing methods in terms of cutting quality, process temperature, processing method productivity as well as DSC tests results.