Four Tips on Tooling for Plastics
August 13, 2015 | 2:20 pm UTC
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King Plastic says its polymer sheets work like wood, and can be easily fabricated using standard woodworking tools, with one addition: a heat gun. A new fabrication guide includes general tooling information applicable to working soft plastics, along with CNC guidelines, cleaning and general care information. King Plastic also offers DuraStyle Custom Cabinet Doors made of its StarBoard ST, described as an "environmentally stabilized" polymer sheet, with designer styles and CNC fabricated so they are ready to install. The high-density polyethylene will not warp, rot or delaminate, says King Plastic, and will work inside or outdoors, where it resists water, high humidity and moisture. They will never need painting or re-finishing. The doors come in several styles and nine standard colors.

Here are some general tooling guidelines drawn from King Plastic's guide:

 1. Standard Woodworking Tools Are Okay

Use to repair or fabricate components. Hand routers, drills, circular saws, table saws, drill presses and orbital sanders all work well with King StarBoard  ST. Plug cutters can also be used to plug holes in the material or cover counter sunk/counter bored screws. Make sure to pilot hole and counterbore or countersink all screws when working with King StarBoard  ST

2. Hide Screws in Pockets

Pocket screw jigs are great for hiding screws, says King Plastic.

3. Curves & Corners with Heat

Heat guns can be used to bend King StarBoard ST around a radius. Heated bending bars  also work well for making sharp corners.

4. Use 60-teeth Sawblades

Circular saw blades will create a crisp edge. Use a good carbide blade with 60 teeth  for a 10” blade, and 40 teeth  for a 7 1/2” blade.

5. Regular Router Bits

Most router bit manufacturers classify King Starboard ST as a soft plastic. Router bits designed for soft plastics have a bit geometry that allows for a higher quality of cut, although standard woodworking bits will work fine. Carbide and high speed steel also work well.

Plastic cabinetry for outdoor kitchens.

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Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.