Plastic machining

Machining of plastics covers a wide range of topics related to milling of plastic, plexiglass or PVC tiles. The machining of each of these material groups has different requirements and parameters. In many of them you need to use the right tools or conditions to get a satisfactory result. In most cases, commonly used CNC machines can be used. Milling plastics, e.g. polyamide, is widely used in industry.

CNC plastics milling

Plastics is a very broad term covering both hard and flexible materials. The latter usually contain additives, e.g. rubber. Also includes, for example, foamed PVC. They are difficult to machine, the best results are obtained by using cutting plotters or a laser. The machining of plastics mainly concerns hard plastics. These include PET, PVC, Plexiglas, ABS, Polyamide. However, each material requires different cutting parameters such as not to melt the material.

Plexiglas is a material often used in advertising and construction. It is stiff, colorless, transparent and easily machinable. Normal tools (similar to aluminum, high speed steel or carbide) can be used for its processing. Its full name is polymethyl methacrylate. Usually available as discs. It is very easy to drill, mill and cut. However, care should be taken not to overheat the plexiglass (it melts easily), ensure liquid or air cooling, and often remove swarf. The best effects are achieved by using high speed at low feeds. PVC is a widely used material. It can be in the form of a hard disc. CNC milling machines and plotters are best suited for its processing. It is an easily machinable material, e.g. with HSS cutters. PVC is most often used in construction and advertising. Foamed PVC, in turn, requires the use of e.g. cemented carbide tools. It should also be selected with the appropriate spindle speed.

Laminates (laminated material, pressed under high pressure, hardened with resin) are often used for furniture production. It is also used for floors, panels, doors, countertops. It is a hard material and is well suited to 2D machining. You can use woodworking tools, high speed steels, or preferably carbides. Reverse milling is possible to get the best surface quality (then the plate does not fray). Cutting data depend on the cutting depth and tool. CNC milling of plastics, e.g. ABS, requires specific parameters and speeds to avoid sticking the tool. It is good to use single- or double-cutters. For foam materials, it may be necessary to use tools, e.g. carbide.

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