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Forum topic by MrRon posted 10-29-2018 02:34 PM 950 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5813 posts in 3855 days

10-29-2018 02:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Although this question is not about wood, I thought if anyone had an answer, it would be here. I’m looking for a plastic material with the following parameters: A plastic sheet/plate, 3/8” thick, black in color, hard , but easy to machine.

20 replies so far

View EarlS's profile


3436 posts in 2959 days

#1 posted 10-29-2018 02:44 PM

Take a look at to get ideas.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)


6837 posts in 1324 days

#2 posted 10-29-2018 02:48 PM :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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2282 posts in 2106 days

#3 posted 10-29-2018 03:33 PM

Acrylic, Polypropylene, Polyethylene (UHMW+other types), and Polyurethane are all available ‘off-the-shelf’ as black plate materials. Polycarbonate and PVC can be ordered custom with black pigments added.
All of them can be machined with right tools.
‘Hard’ plastic is an oxymoron, as all plastics are malleable at elevated temperatures.
Would need details like durometer, service temperatures, and environmental exposure requirements to pick one of the above.
Making selection challenge harder, hard/tough plastics usually have fillers added to reduce flexibility and add strength. Can buy ‘black plastic plate’ made with fiberglass clothe and/or carbon fiber that is as hard as aluminum and stronger than steel.

When it comes to engineering plastic materials for an application, solution is hiding in the details.


Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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6837 posts in 1324 days

#4 posted 10-29-2018 03:39 PM

there is a guy near me who welds plastic he says there are so many types its amazing

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2140 posts in 774 days

#5 posted 10-29-2018 03:52 PM

Ron, sign makers use that stuff all the time.
it is PVC sheet available in several colors and thicknesses.
common size is 4×8’ sheet. easily cut with hand tools as well as
all woodworking tools. can also easily be heat formed to simple shapes.
stop by your local sign shop to see what they have or can get for you.
if you don’t mind peeling vinyl lettering off the sheet, you probably
could pick up some used material for free.
I enclosed a chicken house out of old signs for free.

the ribbons on these two signs are 1/8” PVC that was heat formed.


-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View MrRon's profile


5813 posts in 3855 days

#6 posted 10-29-2018 06:13 PM :<))


I did find some plastic, HDPE at $13.84 per sf at metals online with a durometer of D80. I’m looking for a plastic that is hard and stable that won’t distort (warp). I realize with all the many plastic formulations out there, I as a hobbyist consumer have limited access to the real hard, stable stuff, so I have to choose from readily available stock at a reasonable price.

View bigblockyeti's profile


6201 posts in 2332 days

#7 posted 10-29-2018 09:49 PM

You didn’t mention too many of the required mechanical properties but the first thing I thought of after reading the description of what you need is phenolic.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Redoak49's profile


4359 posts in 2600 days

#8 posted 10-29-2018 10:01 PM

I have used cutting boards for plastic. You can’t d it with different hardness and relatively inexpensive.

I have a black cutting broad that meets your requirements and got it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

View oldnovice's profile


7517 posts in 3979 days

#9 posted 10-30-2018 07:38 PM

Try Paperstone or Richlite!
Both of these materials are recycled paper compressed with a binder under high pressure/temperature.
They are fantastic to machine, no mineral content, are stable over temperature, available in many color, and thicknesses.

Take a look at what these guys are making with Richlite and the Web site for Richlite.
If you search YouTube for Richlite you will see videos of guitar makers you use it for the fretboards and how many think it’s the better material.

This is the Paperstone Web site

I have used Paperstone and really like it and I want to try Richlite too.

And, because paper was once wood, it is appropriate for Lumberjocks!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View bandit571's profile


24440 posts in 3295 days

#10 posted 10-30-2018 07:42 PM


-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View SMP's profile (online now)


1629 posts in 517 days

#11 posted 10-30-2018 07:43 PM

I used to use ABS a lot when making custom enclosures for cars. Easy to work, cut, heat and bend etc.

View oldnovice's profile


7517 posts in 3979 days

#12 posted 10-30-2018 07:55 PM

I haven’t tried this material but the machine shop where my son works as a CNC machinist uses this stuff called OBO Modulan sold in the U.S. by McCausey and it looks promising for sign making and possibly other projects.

This is the manufacturer site for “OBO Modulan”:

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2379 days

#13 posted 10-30-2018 09:41 PM

Redoak49 is right on… My current router table top (attached to the router) is a plastic cutting board.


View MrRon's profile


5813 posts in 3855 days

#14 posted 10-31-2018 04:00 PM

I checked with McCausey and paperstone, but the thinnest they have is 3/4” and not sure if they would sell a small amount. That is the big problem with hobbyists. We can usually find the material we want, but it’s not available in small quantities or it is super expensive. Corian is a material I would like to use for this and other projects, but they only sell to professional fabricators. Richlite appears to have the thickness I need and I have sent them an E-mail requesting a quote on a small amount. I will see if they will sell a small amount or be like the rest of the suppliers of this material. I did have a sample of paperstone, but it was only 3”x3”.

I just found out that Corian now sells the material in small quantities from an online vendor, “

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1511 days

#15 posted 10-31-2018 04:08 PM

If you want Corian (“Solid Surfaces”) google counter top shops in your area. They always have drops.

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