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sbi1 03-25-2006 06:53 PM

Cutting UHMW Plastic
Has anybody had any experience with UHMW plastic? I have a piece 1/2" thick, 12" wide, and 10' long, that I need to cut down to 10" wide. My first thought is the table saw, and cut it like PVC trim boards, but I'm afraid that the more dense UHMW material will melt more than cut. This stuff was pretty expensive, which is why I ask-I don't want to ruin a board that was over $100. FYI, this will be for the bottom of a compartment on a fire truck, where a portable tank slides in and out of.

RED caddy 03-25-2006 07:02 PM

I've had the best results with my variable speed Mikita sabre saw and a coarse, (6 tooth I think) wide set, wood crosscut blade. slowest speed and light feed pressure. Just go real slow, and let the teeth cut, rather than melt. RED

Cavalry 03-25-2006 07:06 PM

same theroy...cut it before on a vertical bandsaw with a wood plade

maybe try it on a tablesaw with a "plywood" blade cut it to 11" first. that way you dont wreck it

Jeff 03-25-2006 07:23 PM

skilsaw, tablesaw, etc. It cuts easy.

TJJ 03-25-2006 07:33 PM

The plastics distributor we buy from at the shop uses a table saw to cut sheet to size for us. Lubricate with spray silicone. Don't dwell anywhere along the cut or it will melt.

Mongo 03-25-2006 07:59 PM

I've used it a lot and a table saw with a coarse blade works great. As for a lubricant, one of the best is plain old water.

Don't ever step on the stuff when there is snow on it.

Mongo 03-25-2006 08:01 PM

I've used it a lot and a table saw with a coarse blade works great. As for a lubricant, one of the best is plain old water.

Don't ever step on the stuff when there is snow on it :D

Cebby 03-25-2006 09:20 PM

I've cut 2 1/2" round solid on my wood miter saw with a fine 80 tooth blade. No problems with it heating up too much. It's nice to work with, but sure makes a mess (shavings)

Team DeSade 03-25-2006 09:53 PM

One more vote for the tablesaw or just about any woodworking tool. I've used quite a bit of UHMW. Never had a problem with table saw, band saw, spade bits, rotozip, router, etc.

theonlybull 03-26-2006 08:37 AM

another vote for the table saw. a nice course carbide blade works fine for us. curves and other details are done with out wood bandsaw.

compartment for a porta-tank eh , might be easier then up high on the side like ours :(

b-footn 03-26-2006 08:49 AM

I've used the stuff on boats, and my trailer. I had to make a block for the new transducer on my salt water boat, and that stuff worked great. On my trailer, the winch that pulls the ramp door up and down, I cut some thick stock, and hollowed it out. No squeaking on the runners with that stuff. I just used a skilsaw, sabre saw, and the drill press.

sbi1 03-26-2006 05:54 PM

Thanks for the info, folks. I figured the woodworking equipment would handle it, but nothing like a second opinion when trying something new. I should have the aluminum for the box tomorrow afternoon (12' long, so I had to get someone else to brake it) and then I'll cut the UHMW when I get the final measurements.

AZCoyote 03-30-2006 12:11 PM

I make lot's of tooling out of UHMW. I cut every bit of it on a miter or table saw. A bandsaw will take forever unless you have a very agressive blade. UHMW is designed to be abrasion resistent so it hates to be cut or sanded.

Aaron 03-30-2006 03:25 PM

I use lots of it. Cut it on a table saw. We bought a special blade to get a better finish, but just about anything will work. It actually cuts pretty good if your feedrate is consistent.

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