How to Cut UHMW

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Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW) is one of the strongest plastic materials available and is used in everything from railroad cars to snow mobiles. You can purchase UHMW in large flat sheets, rods and a variety of other forms. Cutting UHMW is accomplished with standard saws. However choosing the proper blade is critical to creating a smooth, ridge-free cut line.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Safety glasses
  • Table mounted circular saw or band saw
  • 12- to 14-inch carbide-tipped blade with 24 teeth
  • Use a tape measure and mark the cut location with a pencil if the UHMW is a light color. If the UHMW is dark black or gray, mark the location with white chalk to make it visible.

  • Install a 12- to 14-inch diameter carbide-tipped blade with 24 teeth into a table-mounted circular saw. Put on safety glasses to protect yourself from small plastic chips.

  • Place the piece of UHMW onto the work surface and align the pencil or chalk line in front of the circular saw blade. Turn the saw on. Cut along the designated line. Keep your hands well away from the saw blade as you do this.

  • Continue pushing the UHMW through the saw blade until you have two pieces. The proper feed rate is approximately 10 to 40 feet per minute, according to the American Plastics Depot.

  • Move the UHMW out of the way and turn off the saw before removing your safety glasses.

Tips & Warnings

  • If desired, you can cut UHMW using a band saw instead of a circular saw. When using a band saw, use a carbide-tipped blade with three teeth per inch.

References

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