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Finding the Right Plastic Machining Tools for the Job


Plastic routing has only had dedicated tools since the 1980s, but since then the technology has consistently improved over time. Plastic machining, composition and fabrication have all had their own growth spurts and have greatly surpassed the capabilities that were available 20 or 30 years ago. The plastic routers bits and other cutting tools that are now available have allowed the plastic industry to grow by leaps and bounds as well, but there is still a lot of confusion about which tools to use.

Now that plastic routing has become more complicated, plastic fabricators have found difficulties finding the best tools to produce parts faster with better finishes, and they need technical assistance to find solutions to this problem. There are also more people in the plastic machining industry, as many of them have left the metal working industry and have decided to work with the fabrication of primary and secondary plastics instead. The plastic routers bits and other cutting tools that are available have enabled these people to make intricate, multi-axis cuts on a large variety of soft and hard plastics. They have also allowed people to be more efficient and effective; but only if they find the right tools for the specific job.

With the plastic routing technology that is available today, the feed rates are five to 10 times faster and are achieved with higher surface finishes and much less programming effort. In order for these processing parameters to be realized for the plastic machining industry, however, proper tooling must be used. End mills are designed to run at up to 10,000 RPM and 150 IPM, and do not complement a CNC plastic routing machine that is capable of spindle speeds of 9,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM with 1,000 IPM feed rates, for example.


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