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Discussion Starter #1
Some plastics seem to be nice for routing, the cuts are clean and easy to make. Other plastics melt when you try to work with them...... Are there guidelines as to what plastics work well and which don't? On the ones that are usable how about speed settings etc? I guess I'm wishing I could use the router as a mill to form some plastic parts I need.

Ed
 

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I'm not really sure what your asking, but if its about a plastic. I would suggest polyethylene, Oak Park uses this material to make their fences.
 

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I've routed several kinds - up to 3/4" router bits - full speed.
"Lexan" - produced long spider-web strings
Acrylic - routs well
UHMWPE - difficult but doable. Must push/move hard against the bit - almost to the point where you think you will break the bit! Not surprising - the stuff is designed to reduce friction.

* Always on a router table
* Always small cuts (1/8") at a time
* Always keep the plastic moving to avoid melting
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi,

I am familiar with polyethylene, that happens to be one that is easy to use but what I am looking for is more of a list of plastics with the property of being "route-able", and maybe a list of plastics that are "not route-able".

As an example:

One project I have is a part a canon scanner that has to be stiff, 1/8" thick, 4 inches wide by 12 3/4 long with inside cut outs for large film negatives. (oh yes it has to be black or paintable black) One plastic that comes to mind is "lexan" but I don't know it that is workable with a router or if I can get it in a black color.

Another is a table saw insert with replaceable zero clearance section.........

I have other several "plastic" things that I want to make so the question is meant to be general in nature.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #5
boomerang said:
I've routed several kinds - up to 3/4" router bits - full speed.
[ Did you happen to try lower speeds?]

"Lexan" - produced long spider-web strings
[ This is one of the plastics I was thinking about using.... This helps! So if I ruff cut (jig saw) to within 1/16" to 1/8" then clean up with a spiral bit mounted in my table mounted router this should work? So far this is sounding good. If I'm using 1/8" thick materal should I double side tape it to a base to keep it stiff? Any other hints?]

Acrylic - routs well
UHMWPE - difficult but doable. Must push/move hard against the bit - almost to the point where you think you will break the bit! Not surprising - the stuff is designed to reduce friction.

* Always on a router table
* Always small cuts (1/8") at a time
* Always keep the plastic moving to avoid melting
Thanks for the reply,

Ed
 

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Pop_pop1 said:
Have you thought of black phenolic? It saws and routes well for me.
Hi,

Am I thinking of the right stuff if I say it is a laminate, some sort of resin with what looks like linen fabric in it?

Ed
 

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reible said:
Hi,

Am I thinking of the right stuff if I say it is a laminate, some sort of resin with what looks like linen fabric in it?

Ed
That sounds like a "rag phenolic" not the same thing as the black phenolic. Although rag phenolic machines quite nicely.

John LA
 

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First time working with plastic with a router but I was using 1/2in Optix by Plaskolite which routed really nice for me. Just watch your speed with the different bits. Round Over was nice and easy quarter straight had to go slow. But worked nice.
 
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