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Re: can you thickness plane plastic? (Read 609 times)
 
Dirk Hoogendoorn
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Jan 18th, 2017 at 1:50pm
 
My wife has an Ultra High Molecular Weight plastic cutting board and it is getting a lot of cut marks on it which in turn makes it difficult to really clean. I was wondering if I could put that board through my thickness planer I have a Rigid 3 cutter head thickness planer.
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David Hamann
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #1 - Jan 18th, 2017 at 3:59pm
 
i have heard some say you can, but....

  • melting because of the high speed head and slow feed rate
  • catches


are just a couple of worries to me. if you decide to try, take very shallow cuts per pass.
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #2 - Jan 18th, 2017 at 4:20pm
 
I would think a belt sander with various grits might be a better way to attack.

Find a way to lock the board in place so the sander doesn't make it a frizbee.

Start with an 80 grit to work down to the bottom of the cuts...depending on how deep the cuts  really are.. and then sand to finish.
Maybe a random orbiting sander for the final sanding.

I agree, the speed of a planer blade would probably melt it or clog the cutter.

An after thought here... once you are finished, you could make repeated, light passes across it with a torch just to make it smooth again. Thumbs Up
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #3 - Jan 18th, 2017 at 4:38pm
 
Not to mention that the feed rollers might not "grab" the UHMW, it may be too slick.
You can make a sled or cradle that has boards on either side (side rails) to contact the feed rollers and then make slow successive passes.
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #4 - Jan 18th, 2017 at 5:26pm
 
I have run that material thru my Jet 16/32 drum sander with good results. Just plan on replacing the belt after.
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #5 - Jan 18th, 2017 at 7:38pm
 
Give this a Try:  "Treat" the surface with a weed burner or a propane torch.  You may find that the cuts will "heal" themselves, reducing your efforts considerably.

Light, repeated passes to warm the material to raise the temp and get the desired effect.  The reported melting point is about 275F.  PS - do it outside.  Smiley

Here is a clip from Wikipedia: The weak bonding between olefin molecules allows local thermal excitations to disrupt the crystalline order of a given chain piece-by-piece, giving it much poorer heat resistance than other high-strength fibers. Its melting point is around 130 to 136 C (266 to 277 F), and, according to DSM, it is not advisable to use UHMWPE fibers at temperatures exceeding 80 to 100 C (176 to 212 F) for long periods of time. It becomes brittle at temperatures below −150 C (−240 F).
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #6 - Jan 18th, 2017 at 8:10pm
 
Be careful not to heat one side more than the other. UHMW plastics can be quite temperature sensitive. (heat expands it, cold contracts it) If you only heat one side it can start to bend or curl.
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Dirk Hoogendoorn
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #7 - Jan 18th, 2017 at 8:58pm
 
A few years ago I made a rudder for the sailboat I had and it had rudder issues so I made a UHMW plastic rudder, but sanding does not touch that stuff. I bought a hand held power planer and it worked fine, it was the only way to shape the material, but It was a big piece of plastic and a small tool. Thickness planing would be much bigger tool and much smaller piece of plastic. What I am hearing from you folks you have the same kind of hesitation as I do, might just leave the board as is and make her a new one.
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #8 - Jan 19th, 2017 at 12:00am
 
I'm thinking that it might warp the cutting board, leaving it with each end upturned. But... I have a cutting board that is getting pretty haggard, and I'm needing new blades on my planer, so I might have to give it a try to satisfy my curiosity.
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« Last Edit: Jan 19th, 2017 at 12:01am by AJ Royle »  
 
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Glenn Jacobs
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #9 - Jan 19th, 2017 at 1:04pm
 
I would try the planer. VERY light cuts. Use of a sled might be good idea.
Need to take equal amounts off each side??

Go to HF and get new one.
Glenn J.
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Buck Nemitt
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #10 - Jan 19th, 2017 at 2:08pm
 
I've got to smile at Glenn's post of getting a new cutting board at Harbor Freight as I often comment on the 2 piece Cutting board set I got there as a darn good cutting board.
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #11 - Jan 20th, 2017 at 3:33am
 
I would make a router sled like shown in this video. If you are able to reduce the router speed that should help to avoid melting or warping of the board.

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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #12 - Jan 20th, 2017 at 8:35am
 
I've run UHMW through my drum sander and it worked fine. The sander paper was even cleaned during the process.  I had to thin some down then trim to fit into a paper drill base. No ill effects from heat either.
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Re: can you thickness plane plastic?
Reply #13 - Jan 20th, 2017 at 9:09am
 
Don Bunce wrote on Jan 20th, 2017 at 3:33am:
I would make a router sled like shown in this video.

Those are typically called "router rails", they work great for rough slabs and severly warped or twisted wood.

Don Bunce wrote on Jan 20th, 2017 at 3:33am:
If you are able to reduce the router speed that should help to avoid melting or warping of the board.


Slowing down the bit speed may not always have the effect of cooling down the temperature. If the bit speed is too slow, it can actually heat up by taking too long to cut and remove debris. The combination of router movement (feed rate) and bit speed is something that's unique to each piece of wood and in this case UHMW. As long as you don't stay in one spot too long (keep the router moving) you should be fine.
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