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Old October 7th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #1
Dirt_Devil
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Machining polyethylene...

Anyone on here mess around with machining of PE? Looking to do some work with LDPE, HDPE, or UHMW. The end product will be plumbing manifolds for water, so abrasion and impact resistance are no issue. The part will be in the presence of corrosive gasses, thus the use of PE. My question is, which is easiest to do machining on? I will be doing some drilling and tapping of holes, and that is about it really. Your insight is greatly appreciated!
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Old October 7th, 2009, 12:16 PM   #2
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UHMW is easy to machine and cheap, but finish doesn't turn out the best. It's very stringy. I've machined much HDPE with good success. I can't say much about LDPE.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 12:20 PM   #3
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UHMW is very easy to machine and tooling concerns are of no issue. Drilling holes is very easy to do. You can tap UHMW but I would use helicoil inserts if there is a fair amount of torque on the screw being used.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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Just slow your tool down or you'll melt it and have a mess.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 01:31 PM   #5
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I do hdpe and I can do almost any thing with it. Just shoot any ? and line sizes.

Im more in the field for anti abrasion. I normally deal 4" or larger

Last edited by Disco Stocker; October 7th, 2009 at 01:35 PM.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #6
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Pretty much as said above. A finish pass can achieve nice finish though. Also, if going deep, use a peck method to keep from "packing" the tool with the material.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #7
Dirt_Devil
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Thanks for the input guys... I am most concerned about tapping the holes and getting a clean cut on the threads so they don't leak. I have enough material that I will have a couple chances to mess up a couple times though.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #8
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We Machine Quite A Bit Of Hdpe, Uhmw,nylon,delrin And Other Plastics, By Far Hdpe Is The Best For Machinability
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Old October 8th, 2009, 12:00 PM   #9
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Would nylon work? I (my work) have a line of nylon manifolds for plumbing and injection mold machines.....
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Old October 8th, 2009, 12:13 PM   #10
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HDPE ftw.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #11
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I would definitely stay away from UHMW for anything with tapped holes in it. I don't have any experience with using it for manifolds but I would think that if there is any amount of pressure the threads might just rip out of it.
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Old October 8th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #12
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Going with HDPE... Nylon actually breaks down in this application. Thanks again guys.
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