Plastic can be cut with similar methods to a slab made of wood. ABS is a plastic variety that offers a wide range of useful properties. It is used in many everyday products.
ABS plastic is commonly used in personal and household 3D printing. FFF or FRP is what most people use. FDM 3D printers For this purpose. ABS is very popular because it can be used with either desktop or laptop computers. ABS 3D printers. It’s also cheaper than other alternatives.
You may need to have different shapes and sizes of ABS plastic if you are working on a 3D printing project.
ABS plastic can be cut with power tools. However, if the piece is thin enough, you can simply scorch it repeatedly with a utility knife.
Focus and precision are key to cutting ABS plastic. In most cases, you will need to either take control of the power tools while the plastic piece is stationary or feed it to your machine by maneuvering.
This article will show you how to cut ABS plastic for 3D printing. Although it may take some practice to get the perfect cuts, once you are proficient with the techniques you will be able to turn large sheets of plastic into substantial pieces in no time.
What is ABS plastic? And why is it used for 3D printing?
It is used for making toys and sporting equipment, among other things. You’ll find toys like Kre-O bricks and Legos are made by this filament.
It is ideal for electronic parts, home appliances, and automotive because of its high impact strength. ABS plastic can be used in your car’s dashboard and pipe fittings.
4 Methods of Cutting ABS Plastic
Now that you know what an ABS plastic is, let’s find out the best ways of cutting them. There are many ways to cut plastic.
It may seem simple, but there is always the possibility of damaging your items. You can get a perfect cut every time if you use the right techniques.
Here are some techniques to use when cutting ABS plastic
1. Use a Plastic Cutter
To cut thin sheets of ABS plastic, a plastic cutter or similar utility knife can also be used. This method works best if the sheets you are working on is approximately ⅛ inch thick.
- Prepare the work surface and place the plastic on it.
- To stop the material moving, secure it with a clamp.
- Mark the cutting line using a highlighter. This will serve as a guideline, and will help you get the shape you want. If you are working on a sheet of plastic, mark the edges.
- Make multiple scores following this guideline. The groves should be at least halfway through the ABS plastic sheets.
- Then flip the ABS plastic upside down and score the material along those highlighted lines.
- Next, reposition the sheet and align the grooved section with the edge of the workbench. Make sure to attach it with a clamp.
- Finally, take the section that is hanging from the workbench and snap it.
2. Use A Circular Saw
A table or a circular saw are required to make linear cuts in thick ABS plastic sheets. If you have a sheet that has a thickness of more than ⅛ inches, then this method will work best for you.
- Mark the cutting line with a highlighter. If you are using sheets, mark the backside.
- Next, secure the plastic with a clamp. Attach the material to the edge your workbench. This will secure the material and stop any movement.
- Then, you can begin to saw the plastic carefully. To navigate your saw, use the guideline that you have drawn.
- Allow the plastic to cool down after it is cut. You can let the plastic cool down from the friction of the blades.
3. A Jigsaw
A Jigsaw differs from a circular saw or table. A circular saw is the best tool for cutting straight lines, but a Jigsaw can be used to make complex curved cuts. The jigsaw is more mobile, so you can make curved cuts in ABS plastic. This tool is ideal to cut thick ABS plastic.
- Mark or highlight the line with a marker. If you wish, you can drill holes along the guideline.
- Next, secure the material using a clamp.
- Turn on the jigsaw to cut the plastic along the line. If you are making a curve, turn the jigsaw slowly and remain as steady as possible.
4. Use A Band Saw
A band saw is the best choice if you need to make circular and linear plastic cuts. A band saw has a longer, ribbon-like blade than other models. The blade comes up through the table’s surface. This allows for precise and detailed cuts. A portable band saw can be used to cut thick ABS plastic sheets.
- Use a highlighter to mark the cut lines.
- Next, adjust the height of your blade guard guide. Make sure it is as close to the sheet as possible.
- Turn on the machine, then slowly feed the ABS plastic in the saw blade.
- You can create curves by steering the plastic from behind, as you push it through.
Tips and caution when cutting ABS plastic
Do not switch on the saw when it is in direct contact with the plastic. This can chip some of the plastic segments and cause damage to the material. Always cut when the saw is at its best.
Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes. There is always the possibility of plastic pieces flying at you when cutting ABS plastic. Protective gloves are recommended to avoid any sharp edges cutting your hands.
To stop the ABS plastic from moving, you will need to clamp it on your workbench. The material can be damaged by over tightening it. If the clamp is not securely attached to the workbench, it should be tightened only.
It is possible to make the process more difficult by using an old saw blade. It could also cause damage to the material, giving you a rough cut. A new blade can give you a smooth cutting experience.
You can use masking tape to mark your cut lines instead of using a highlighter. After cutting the plastic, you can peel off the tape. This way you don’t have to wipe the marked lines.
The plastic can heat up from friction caused by the blade cutting it. This can lead to plastic melting. Be patient when cutting through the material. If the material gets too hot, let it cool down.
Always leave extra space between the lines and the cut you are about make. The extra room will ensure that you don’t cut too much into the shape. You can always file any extra plastic that remains after you have completed cutting the piece.
After being cut, your piece will have some rough edges. Use a metal filing tool to smoothen any uneven or rigid edges. Continue to use the file until the edges are smooth. To avoid melting the plastic, make sure you use long, steady movements.
Before you lay the material on the workbench, clean off any particles or debris. This helps to preserve the integrity of the material, and prevents debris from scratching the plastic’s surface. Use a cloth or sponge to remove dirt.
There are some similarities between cutting wood or plastic. Cutting plastic is a completely different story.
The way that plastic behaves is a striking difference between the two materials. ABS plastic can melt during cutting and is difficult to handle.
A mistake in cutting the plastic sheet can cause irreversible damage. You must be careful when cutting the plastic sheet to avoid this.
The ABS plastic thickness and the cut style you want will determine the method you choose.
We hope you find the tips and methods in this article helpful in cutting ABS plastic exactly the way you want.
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