UHMW Fabrication Methods:
UHMW is highly versatile and easy to machine - even by a do-it-yourselfer. It’s cost-effective, outperforms metals in many applications, moisture-resistant, and easy to fabricate.
UHMW can be sawed, turned, planed, milled, drilled, stamped, and welded easily on woodworking or metalworking machines. The following instructions are general guidelines to observe when machining UHMW.
There are many ways to cut UHMW material - circular, bank, reciprocating, and guillotine saws are generally suitable. Band saws are particularly suitable for large cross-sections since they conduct the heat away and allow high cutting speeds. To prevent the saw blades from becoming jammed, the teeth must be set at approximately 0.5mm. When using circular saws, saw blades with a minimum setting of 0.5mm are also preferred.
UHMW does not harm the saw or blade, but if you are cutting a lot of it, there are few things you should watch out for. For example, if the blade speed slows while cutting the material, UHMW will produce “stringers” that can wrap around the arbor. It’s important to clean the end of the arbor at regular intervals. If you are cutting a thick piece of UHMW, it’s best to do short cuts as it will minimize the stringers and prolong the life of the saw.
Plastics can build up heat very easily during drilling operations, especially when hole depths are greater than twice the diameter. Therefore, a cooling liquid is recommended. Lower RPM drilling is recommended. Twist drills are most commonly used for small diameter holes (0.5 - 25mm diameter) and thinned web (dubbed drill) is recommended for large diameter holes (25mm diameter and larger). This is because it reduces friction and heat generation.
Because of its high melt viscosity, friction and butt welding are the only practical methods for joining by welding.
ShapesPlastics experts recommend using a hand diamond lapper to polish grind marks.
ShapesPlastics Custom Fabrication
For users who do not have the skill, experience, tools, or time to fabricate these sheets, ShapesPlastics offers cut-to-size ad hoc services. The ability to create cut-to-size products that deliver the best quality, precision in cutting, and tight tolerances, is what truly sets us apart. You can also benefit from additional savings in shipping as cutting the sheet down to your final size, might qualify it for free standard shipping.
Cleaning / Maintaining UHMW
A popular method is wrapping UHMW parts with a self-sticking film. You can even wash them with standard dish soap and a little bleach to return to its natural color.