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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Default Working with UHMW plastic

I'm seeking a little advice. One of my table saw upgrades is building a crosscut fence, I chose to build the Super-sled, referenced here:Eagle lake woodworking. The sled has two plastic runners that fit in the mitre slots of the saw. Yesterday, I stopped at my local Rockler and purchased a 3/4" x 4" x 24" piece of UHMW plastic. Unfortunately, this stock is thicker than .750. Will a conventional planer work to take it down to the proper dimension? Are there any special caveats about drilling or cutting this material?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 09:29 AM
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Hi Lance

Just use your table saw/band saw,,the planer will make it a mess...the norm.
Just cut a stick or two and then and little trim again on the table saw.
No big deal about drilling it..

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I'm seeking a little advice. One of my table saw upgrades is building a crosscut fence, I chose to build the Super-sled, referenced here:Eagle lake woodworking. The sled has two plastic runners that fit in the mitre slots of the saw. Yesterday, I stopped at my local Rockler and purchased a 3/4" x 4" x 24" piece of UHMW plastic. Unfortunately, this stock is thicker than .750. Will a conventional planer work to take it down to the proper dimension? Are there any special caveats about drilling or cutting this material?



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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 01:51 PM
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As was said already, UHMW makes a big mess when cutting it. You can use pretty much any cutting tool on it that you can use on wood.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys! Full steam ahead on the sled.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-23-2009, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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You were both right about the UHMW being a mess. The saw was full of small hairs and such. Gave me a chance to blow everything clean, anyway. I did throw a stick through the planer to achieve dimension. I didn't have the dust collector hooked up and was surprised to see what looked like 10,000 short straws on the floor. That gave me an excuse to clean the floor.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 02:03 PM
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I bandsaw with a fine blade, then handplane to size. Drilling no probem, but don't try to clear the swarfe on the drill while it is running.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 09:37 PM
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A little different question but along the same line. Has anyone machined polyethelene? I need a zero clearance insert for my table saw and have been eyeing the wifes plastic cutting board, plenty large enough and smooth. Naturally I will be disavowing all knowledge of it's whereabouts.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-02-2009, 08:19 AM
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A little different question but along the same line. Has anyone machined polyethelene? I need a zero clearance insert for my table saw and have been eyeing the wifes plastic cutting board, plenty large enough and smooth. Naturally I will be disavowing all knowledge of it's whereabouts.
If you talking machining with a Mill, etc Yep cut all kinds of plastic before I retired from my tool and die career.

should cut just fine, just dont go too high on the rpm on the mill it will cause the plastic to melt unless you have a real fast feed rate.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 02:49 PM
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The wife always knows. She knows. Period.

Anyway, I used some leftover floor boards to make the zero inserts. It is from redoing our floor and it is one of those laminated floor boards. Really strong, smooth, square and temperature/humidity resistant stuff. It is about 1/4 inch thick, fits perfectly into the slot.

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A little different question but along the same line. Has anyone machined polyethelene? I need a zero clearance insert for my table saw and have been eyeing the wifes plastic cutting board, plenty large enough and smooth. Naturally I will be disavowing all knowledge of it's whereabouts.
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