turning plastic - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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turning plastic

Right right, this is a woodworking forum, but on occasion I turn nylon plastic to practice a shape or create something to add into the real design.
My questions though, I'm assuming that nylon plastic won't dull or damage the knives at all but is that a wrong assumption. Second, I use nylon because it's cheap and readily available, but I find that it won't turn smooth - that it always comes out with a fuzzy texture, even when honed with a piece of fine sandpaper. I got the same effect with HDPE (high density polyethelene). What other types do you think would produce a smooth finish?
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 11:21 AM
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Try using carrots, turnips or potatoes.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 02:09 PM
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Sound like your are scraping instead of cutting. I don't think I have turned Nylon but have turned lots of other plastics and resins. If you use a sharp tool and don't force cut you will get thin shavings coming off and sort of a wisper sound. If your getting a cracking kind of sound you are forcing the cut.
Scraping on many materials will produce fuzzy edges. Not always on plastics so it is worth a try but I use cutting edges whenever possible instead of scraping.
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the heads up, I'll give the tools a good sharpening and see if that improves the cut.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 05:10 PM
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When I worked with UHMW poly-something I found it best when I slowed the tools down all the way. (Maybe there's less heat that way?)

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post #6 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 06:30 PM
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When I get any plastic custom cut and ask for a smooth finish, the cutters will run a portable torch over the cut to make it slightly melt the edge and make it pretty. I have also done this when I sand or drill into plastic.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 07:55 PM
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A great and cheap source of practice turning materials is a common 2X4 etc.
I made this desk set from a short piece of a 2X6.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duncsuss View Post
When I worked with UHMW poly-something I found it best when I slowed the tools down all the way. (Maybe there's less heat that way?)
I definitely have the lathe set to it's slowest speed, but I might give the suggestion that jniffel made in heating it to smooth it out.

I think simply sharpening the tools first would be the best route to go.

thanks all.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-21-2011, 11:34 PM
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turning plastic

Hope nobody smack's me,but I turned some nylon before I started turning acrylic pens to make some bushings (spacers)and I found (for me) that If I turned it at a high speed,it worked great.I used the Ci1 rougher tool and it worked great.

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post #10 of 11 Old 05-22-2011, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klr650 View Post
Right right, this is a woodworking forum, but on occasion I turn nylon plastic to practice a shape or create something to add into the real design.
My questions though, I'm assuming that nylon plastic won't dull or damage the knives at all but is that a wrong assumption. Second, I use nylon because it's cheap and readily available, but I find that it won't turn smooth - that it always comes out with a fuzzy texture, even when honed with a piece of fine sandpaper. I got the same effect with HDPE (high density polyethelene). What other types do you think would produce a smooth finish?

There are so many different types of polymers/plastics out there now, it's hard to keep track of them. Like the other guys say, razor sharp tooling, experiment with the RPMs.

Harrison, at your service!
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-29-2011, 04:47 PM
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Machining

Try teflon. It's probably the easiest plastic to work with other than delrin. Try Industrial Plastic Sheet, Slab, Rod and Tube 866-832-9315
They have both materials in both sheet and rod.
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