Working with UHMW Plastic

I recently ran into a pretty good deal on varying widths and lengths of UHMW plastic (actually, a really good deal -- a cabinet shop gave it to me for the bubble). I'd like to use it to make things like zero-clearance fences and throat plates for my table saw and such.
I know that I can cut it and rout it, but does anyone know if I can plane it without damaging the blades on my nice Dewalt 735?
TIA
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I have not planed it but have run a dovetail router bit thru it I do not see a problem with planing it, it mills rather well What i could not do is get epoxy to stick to it, so much for the saying that epoxy will hold anything to anything
Not true with this stuff
Good Luck, George

UHMW
it
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George M. Kazaka wrote:

Be prepared to have a LOT of fluffy shavings, don't try to use a dust collector with this stuff, it makes strings that will tie the fan up.
There might be a solvent to weld it to itself, but otherwise you have to use mechanical fasteners.
Turning it is fun too.
Stuart
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There are glues made for low surface energy plastics. They are very expensive. 3M Scotch-Weld DP-8005 Structural Plastic Adhesive 35 ml C$35.00 - from a local shop catalogue (note that 35ml is 1.25 oz. for ~US$27).
Locktite makes one as well for around the same price.
I saw something on the Discovery Channel recently about the strength of mussels when they bond to rock, piers etc. They can stick to Teflon. They hope to use the knowledge of the chemical structure of the mussel goop to create a new range of superglues.
Mike
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Unless something has changed in the last couple of years there is no way to chemically bond this stuff and many good companies have tried. It is virtually chemically inert so nothing can dissolve it to the point of bonding and it's so slick that nothing can bond to it. It is also virtually impossible to weld since you can't melt it. You can heat it and flow some HDPE into it but it would be more for appearance as it will have no structural integrity.
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On 19-Jan-2004, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net (Tom) wrote:

How do they get ski bases to stick to skis?
Mike
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Beats me - don't have much use for skis here in Houston so I've never looked at them. Which part is UHMW? It's possible to compression mold UHMW which could be done around a part and one company can injection mold UHMW which could also be done around a part.
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On Tue, 20 Jan 2004 21:08:04 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net (Tom) wrote:

The slippery part? ;-)
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Harvey
It is softer than most woods, so it shouldn't HURT you planer
John
On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 21:21:42 -0500, "Harvey Levin"

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I ran it through my old planer, did not hurt the blades any. Tony D.
wrote:

UHMW
fences
it
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your cutting blades may gum up from the heat, but other than that i would think it could be done.
however i wonder if when it first touches the blades if it may splinter???? DON'T KNOW THAT PART EITHER.
just make sure you weare your saftey glasses when trying this and i think we all would like to know the results.
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On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 21:21:42 -0500, "Harvey Levin"

It won't hurt, but neither does it give a good surface finish particularly easily. Sharp planer knives, and check the height on the outfeed table. The surface is soft and so it's prone to "scalloping"
I tend to go for hand tools with it - low angle planes, hone the iron before you use it.
If you're needing to machine a lot of it, consider using HDPE instead. It has nearly all of the advantages of UHMW, but the extra surface hardness means that it wears better in use and it's easier to machine with power tools. . -- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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That depends on the advantages you are looking for. HDPE has a higher coefficient of friction and doesn't wear as well. Not bad stuff but not in the same class as UHMW.
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On Sun, 18 Jan 2004 21:21:42 -0500, "Harvey Levin"

You can plane it, but there are some issues. I have run it through my stationary planer. I haven't tried it in my portable..
1.) It makes long, stringy shavings that essentially try to form slick ropes that will choke your DC and will completely gum things up inside your planer if not attended to. I would suggest disconnecting the DC, and cleaning out the shavings by hand on each pass. This is less of a problem with small pieces, of course.
2) This stuff often has a lot of curl in it, and you need to resist any impulse to hope the planer will somehow make this better. Choose a reasonably flat piece to work with. In particular, if you feed it through with as curl facing up, you're going to get a nasty bang when the material hits the blades. If you have curl, you need to eliminate it first, hopefully by just cutting the curled part out.
3) Don't expect a mirror smooth surface. It will have a machined look, with some surface variation, but it will be pretty good.

Tim Carver snipped-for-privacy@twocarvers.com
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"Harvey Levin" writes:

UHMW
it
You can certainly machine UHMWPE; however, a word of caution.
It has a relatively high coefficient of thermal expansion.
You need to take very light cuts and allow the piece to cool before taking measurements.
I used this stuff to make sleeve bearings for the rudder of the sailboat I'm building so lathe work was involved.
Personally, I'd probably not use it for zero clearance inserts, it would be a waste, even if you got it free.
When it comes to UHMWPE, think bearing surfaces.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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