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Best method of cutting Nerf plastic

cutting plastic

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#1 JoeVC

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 09:26 PM

So I have skimmed through this post and plan on reading it through when I have a spare decade to do so, but until then I am looking some tips on cutting up my Nerf blasters (it also seems to be mainly focused on making custom parts from stock plastic while I am concerned with cutting up existing Nerf blasters).  I'm not going for super awesome looks and don't have the time to do so anyhow, most of the cutting I am doing is for functional (not aesthetic) purposes, but I do want my cuts to be somewhat neat.

 

So far I have used an oscillating Dremel, rotary Dremel, and hacksaw; all of which have drawbacks.  The oscillating tool makes the most precise and controllable cuts, but the high friction causes the plastic to melt and yuck up the edge of the cut (the cut itself and surrounding plastic are fine, but the material removed melts and piles up around the cut).  Using a sideways-cutting drill in the rotary tool mostly prevents melting, but the cut is not as clean and smooth or exact and the kerf is huge; this method is also very slow.  The hacksaw doesn't melt the plastic, but it is messy and inexact and the kerf is not small.

 

I have come to a situation in a particular mod I am doing where I need to make a very precise (straight) cut where being as smooth and having as small a kerf as possible are essential.  Anyone have any recommendations on what method I should use to do this?


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#2 CaptainSlug

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Posted 01 January 2017 - 09:45 PM

If you need a precise cut, then the ideal option is a band saw. It's an investment to buy one of those, and unfortunately the cheapest ones do not tend to last very long as the guides wear out fairly quickly.

 

(it also seems to be mainly focused on making custom parts from stock plastic while I am concerned with cutting up existing Nerf blasters).

All Blasters are made primarily out of ABS plastic. The section of the guide that deals with that plastic is what you need to read.

 

Use the oscillating tool, but do so with a stream of compressed air or a weak stream of water on the cut area to keep it from overheating. Alternatively you can make a mixture of dish soap and water that you can brush onto your cuts as-needed. I've used that in place of cutting oil while milling a wide variety of plastics that should not be exposed to petroleum.

 

I would also recommend using burr bits or sanding drums at very low speeds for sanding away areas. If you just need to pull out some cross-members inside of a shell you can also make due with wire cutters and hobby knifes.


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