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Cutting ABS Plastic

Post your favorite modeling 'tips' and 'tricks'

Postby Bigdave » Fri Mar 28, 2003 3:32 pm

Just wanted to pass along a good tool I use to cut ABS plastic. Dremel sells a abrasive wheel that is about 15/16 DIA and about .025 thick. They are usually sold in packs of 20-25 I think. Always by them in the packs as they do not take side loads well and will shatter if pushed. :( You may go through a few. I use a small adjustable speed rotory tool. Yary the speed depending on the thickness of the plactic. I would not go much over .060-.080 thickness. Get the speed right and it will zip through the ABS with a nice clean controlable cut. I would experiment with scrap first. This beats the long process of going over and over with a sharp knife till it cuts through. I have used this on the Subtech and Dumas hulls with great results. You can not do complex curves but for long or slightly curved cuts it's easy. :)
David Welch
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Postby Crazy Ivan » Sat Mar 29, 2003 3:32 am

Dave old buddy, don't forget the neat trick you taught me for punching out all those square limber holes in an ABS hull. Just take a short length of square K&S brass tubing of the appropriate size. Use an X-acto knife to trim the inside edges to a sharp chisel edge. Heat the end with a small butane torch until just more than slightly warm (don't burn your fingers :( ) and you can push it through to make a nice clean hole. :) Practice on a scrap piece of ABS first to get a feel for the right amount of heat. ??? I used a length of 3/4 inch wood dowel to make a handle. It gives better control and protects the fingers nicely. :D
George "Crazy Ivan" Protchenko
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Postby Bigdave » Sat Mar 29, 2003 8:57 am

Thanks Crazy, I had thought about that one also but you beat me to it. But with your natural flair for words explained it better that I would have. Don't forget you can also use that trick for scribing shapes into plastic. If you just heat the tool less and do not push through it will leave a nice imprint in the size you have chosen. Great for making hatches.
David Welch
Commodore SR-8

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