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Working with Common Plastics in the Woodshop. Plastics have a Place in “High End” Work Shelves for Built-Ins Art Glass for Doors Glazing for Art Frames.

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Presentation on theme: "Working with Common Plastics in the Woodshop. Plastics have a Place in “High End” Work Shelves for Built-Ins Art Glass for Doors Glazing for Art Frames."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working with Common Plastics in the Woodshop

2 Plastics have a Place in “High End” Work Shelves for Built-Ins Art Glass for Doors Glazing for Art Frames Display Cases

3 Plastics Have Practical Uses in the Production Shop Safety Shields and Guards Guides and Slides Push Sticks and Hold Downs Shims and Spacers

4 Working Plastics with Tools You Already Own Sharp, clean bits and blades will provide very good results with most common tools. Table saw, Router, Bandsaw, Sander and even Hand saws are effective tools.

5 Friction causes melting, resulting in poor edge quality and “weld back” Vibration and unsupported cuts can cause excessive tool marks and chipping Heat and Vibration are the Major Obstacles to Good Results

6 Many Plastics Can Be Easily Worked with Hand Tools

7 Drilling Requires Regrinding the Cutting Edge to Prevent “Self-feeding” Flatten the back angle of the cutting edge Achieve a scraping cut, rather than a digging one.

8 Common Plastics: Acrylic- Good optical properties, but brittle and more prone to breakage Glazing applications, signage, protective covers, tool sub-bases

9 Common Plastics: Acrylic- Good optical properties, but brittle and more prone to breakage Glazing applications, signage, protective covers, tool sub-bases Polycarbonate- Lesser optical properties, highly impact resistant Shields and guards, hold downs, tool sub-bases

10 Common Plastics: Acrylic- Good optical properties, but brittle and more prone to breakage Glazing applications, signage, protective covers, tool sub-bases Polycarbonate- Lesser optical properties, highly impact resistant Shields and guards, hold downs, tool sub-bases Nylon, Polyethylenes- Opaque, flexible, good wear characteristics Slides, runners, wear strips, push sticks, backers, tool sub-bases

11 Common Plastics: Acrylic- Good optical properties, but brittle and more prone to breakage Glazing applications, signage, protective covers, tool sub-bases Polycarbonate- Lesser optical properties, highly impact resistant Shields and guards, hold downs, tool sub-bases Nylon, Polyethylenes- Opaque, flexible, good wear characteristics Slides, runners, wear strips, push sticks, backers, tool sub-bases PVC- Opaque, good adhesive properties, available in sizes and fittings DC pipes and connectors, structural components

12 Common Plastics: Acrylic- Good optical properties, but brittle and more prone to breakage Glazing applications, signage, protective covers, tool sub-bases Polycarbonate- Lesser optical properties, highly impact resistant Shields and guards, hold downs, tool sub-bases Nylon, Polyethylenes- Opaque, flexible, good wear characteristics Slides, runners, wear strips, push sticks, backers, tool sub-bases PVC- Opaque, good adhesive properties, available in sizes and fittings DC pipes and connectors, structural components Styrene/ABS- Opaque, good adhesive properties, very thin sheets Spacers, shim stock, templates

13 Cutting/Milling Blades should be clean and sharp TPI seems to be optimal ATB or “Triple Chip” grind scores edges before cutting through Zero-clearance inserts to support material

14 Cutting/Milling Fine tooth band saw blades will successfully cut plastics Edge quality will be poor Sanding or routing is an effective method for cleaning up the edges

15 Cutting/Milling Router bits are highly effective at cutting plastics CNC machines can cut complex shapes in sheet plastics Feed and RPM settings greatly effect edge quality. Pay attention to chip load. Lower RPM with higher feed reduces friction heat and “melt- back”

16 Cutting/Milling Milling with hand routers is most effective when using templates Band saw oversize, then trim to template Spiral bits are highly effective, leaving few tool marks Lower RPM with higher feed reduces friction heat and “melt- back”

17 Hand Tools Straight cuts in thinner plastics such as Acrylic or Styrene can be made by scoring a line and snapping the material very much like cutting glass.

18 Hand Tools Thin Styrene/ABS can be cut with a utility knife to complex shapes. Thicker parts can be scored and snapped as described previously. Hand saws can cut most plastics effectively.

19 Dedicated Plastic Tooling Saw Blades Most manufactures make dedicated saw blades for plastics. Look for tooth Alternating top bevel or triple chip ground blades.

20 Dedicated Plastic Tooling Router Bits Most manufactures make dedicated router bits for plastics. “O-flute” bits have a concave inner face that curls the plastic chip reducing stress and chipping during the cut.

21 Forming Plastics “Soft” plastics like polycarbonate and styrene can be “cold formed” if thin enough. A sheet metal brake can be used or the parts can be clamped in a vice and bent. They will likely need to be over bent to account for spring back.

22 Forming Plastics Acrylic or thicker polycarbonates can be bent with heat. Apply pressure in the bend direction and gently heat the bend area with a torch until the part softens enough to bend. Overheating will result in bubbles appearing in the heated area.

23 Forming Plastics Many types of electric strip benders are available for bending plastics up to ¼ inch thick. These heat the material slowly and safely to insure proper softening without over heating.

24 Edge Polishing Clear plastics parts may require polished edges. Sand edges in successive grits to about 400 Use a buffing wheel with compound to polish the edges clear.

25 Flame Polishing A torch can produce a quick polished edge. Sand to 220 grit Pass flame quickly over the edge to very lightly melt the sanded surface Parts can be stacked Hydrogen/oxygen torch is most effective.

26 Adhesives Acrylics and polycarbonates Can be glued to themselves using solvent cements such as IPS Weld-On The parts need to be aligned and held with a consistent joint. The adhesive is then flowed into the joint using an artist’s brush or syringe applicator. Capillary action causes the glue to fill the joint.

27 PVC plastics can be glued together using common PVC cement available at any hardware store. Styrenes and ABS plastics will bond together with common model maker’s glues from a hobby store. Polyethylenes and nylons are impervious to virtually all adhesives and must be mechanically fastened. Adhesives

28 Plastics Distributors in the local area For small quantities, online sources such as McMaster-Carr are excellent. Plastic saw blades and router bits can be sourced from your current suppliers. Specialty hand tools, adhesives and strip heaters for plastics are harder to source if you don’t have a plastics distributor locally. Sources are in the handout. Sources


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