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Machining Polycarbonate

Advice For a Beginner?

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#1 UpperHand

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 09:53 PM

I just had a few questions about Polycarbonate, considering I am new to working with the material.

1. What is the best way to get a straight cut in polycarbonate? I read in the beginners guide to machining plastics that a tablesaw with the correct blade will work, but I'm afraid that it will shatter 1/8" polycarb. If I use Mcmaster part #4079A15, will I be OK?

2. What speed should I set a scroll saw at if I want to cut the plastic? I was thinking something around 800 would work, I just wanted confirmation. (I have a Ryobi model; I dont think that matters)

3. Which blades should I use for the scroll saw? (a Mcmaster part # would be greatly appreciated)

Also, any other tips for someone new to this (tapping holes, using the plastic weld, etc) are welcome.

Thanks,
Upperhand

Edited by UpperHand, 14 February 2009 - 09:54 PM.

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#2 cheesypiza001

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 10:11 PM

Sorry. Please disregard

Edited by cheesypiza001, 14 February 2009 - 10:12 PM.

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#3 CaptainSlug

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 10:25 PM

I just had a few questions about Polycarbonate, considering I am new to working with the material.

1. What is the best way to get a straight cut in polycarbonate? I read in the beginners guide to machining plastics that a tablesaw with the correct blade will work, but I'm afraid that it will shatter 1/8" polycarb. If I use Mcmaster part #4079A15, will I be OK?

2. What speed should I set a scroll saw at if I want to cut the plastic? I was thinking something around 800 would work, I just wanted confirmation. (I have a Ryobi model; I dont think that matters)

3. Which blades should I use for the scroll saw? (a Mcmaster part # would be greatly appreciated)

Also, any other tips for someone new to this (tapping holes, using the plastic weld, etc) are welcome.

Thanks,
Upperhand

1. If you are using the plywood/OBS blade (in the size that matches you table saw) you won't experience any shattering or chipping so long as the blade height is not set too low. You should wear a face shield though since shreddings and chips can accumulate and get ejected from the dust chute. The shreddings can even gather into cotton-candy like blobs. Stop cutting and remove those if they start to rub up against the blade.
2. 800spm
3. Any blade will do. Just keep a steady flow of air on it.
4. When tapping do not try to do it all in one go. You need to back out and clean off the bit for every eighth inch of thread you make. Neglect to do so and your tapping bit is likely to break off in the hole.

Edited by CaptainSlug, 14 February 2009 - 10:30 PM.

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#4 TheNerfLoki

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 10:44 AM

3. Which blades should I use for the scroll saw? (a Mcmaster part # would be greatly appreciated)

I don't have the part number, but I like spiral coping blade for harder materials, such as polycarbonate.
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