This question came into our Ask the Experts portal and it bears repeating. There are many variables when it comes to machining plastics that one must consider, such as thermal expansion, the speeds and feeds of the machine, plus the need to use a coolant ― and choosing the right one ― to prevent melting.
How can you avoid the machining pitfalls of chipping and threading?
For many machinists, moving from metal to plastic can be a bit of an adjustment; particularly in determining heat tolerances. Each plastic is unique; some expand during the machining process, and then shrink again. Some require a dual approach; with an initial round of machining, followed by a cooling-off period, then a final round to complete any final cuts.
To help you through the process, we’ve prepared a machining video (see below) that is full of tips and tricks. Be sure to also check out the complete TriStar video library on YouTube for more timely information on plastics.