Ultem glass filled plastic
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  1. #1
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    Does anyone have experience with machining Ultem 2300 glass filled plastic material on a production basis? Easy? Mean? Rough on tools? Whatever. Can't seem to find any real machining info on it so far other than cautions about certain kinds of coolants.

  2. #2
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    I did a lot of Ultem work a few years ago. It is very abrasive. You must be aggressive when turning and drilling. Mills great but will chip on edged with deep cuts. Drilling holes you need to re-tract and re-enter at a rapid move as it tends to drill a few thousands smaller than drill size. Your drill will heat up and the chips will just melt to drill.Coolant and a high pressure fine stream work great.Also use tooling with high cutting angles and drills with polish flute (Guhring drill work great).You can turn to a finish size in one pass but if you do more than one pass leave about .025 for finish. A small pass of a few thousand a will only mark your part and dull your bite. Here a link to a project I made a few years ago (DARPA & ONR JOB). The project is completely made of Utem 1000 (utem 2300 more glass more abrasion and more heat). The project is of a Biomimetic Underwater Robot based on the American Lobster. Also I was the Engineering Model Maker for the First article and first production run for the Chin Projector Sonar Array.Used for the Virginia class attack sub
    http://www.massa.com/underwater_whatsnew_military.htm

  3. #3
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    I used to turn some years ago. I used very sharp tools, like vpgr inserts with .016 n.r. with good results. You do want heavy finish cuts, like Boston said.
    My biggest problem came from drilling. If the end of your drill heats up, the material in front of it melts, and the hot material "pushes' it's way thru, melting more material. If you dont have coolant thru drills (we didnt) then peck shallow and often.
    If memory serves, we machined it in the annealed state, and then baked it in one of those BlueM ovens to harden. Our engineer did have some specs for machining that he got from a website, but I dont remember whose site that was.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    hi Mike

  6. #6
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    Thanks guys. No wonder the buyer seems so anxious to get quotes. I'm getting too old for new no-fun learning experiences, so I think I'll pass on this one.

  7. #7
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    I have a slightly different tip on drilling Ultem 1000. It is a plastic that puts the heat directly to the bit or tap, and the drills will actually come out smoking hot. If you don't want a dragged/smeared drilled hole, what works for me is low RPM's and very heavy feeds with only a few pecks. It's important to feed heavy to stay in front of the heat, and to be certain that the drill retacts a good amount so that no chip get's drag back into the hole....because that's the kiss of death.

    So for example, with a F drill: I'd drill at 800 RPMs, feed 15-20 ipm and peck like 4 times to go an inch deep. I haven't yet noticed a problem with the holes closing up.

    For tapping, it's messy but WD-40 is a good lube (though I worry about oil absorbsion). I don't have have flood coolant, but that should suffice (mist coolant hardly cuts it).

    As the others mentioned, it's a hard plastic that chips real easy, especially where the tool exits a cut. So program accordingly and smartly, and add a typical bottom finish cut of .025-.040" to clean up chipped edges. Otherwise, it's a pretty easy to machine plastic that's pretty resistent to melting.

    As for 2300-series. 30% glass, I'm not certain how much it's going to effect machining properties. But abrasion is definitely going to be an issue in a production scenerio, but it's not going to be on the order with like G10 or something. Let us know how it works out!

  8. #8
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    I'm getting too old for new no-fun learning experiences, so I think I'll pass on this one.
    Aren't we all?

  9. #9
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    hi Mike
    Hi to you too. Reverse-engineered an American Lobster? WTF?

  10. #10
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    Hi to you too. Reverse-engineered an American Lobster? WTF?
    I just did what the print calls for. [img]smile.gif[/img] It can be a nasty little critter with a temper. When you make the claws out of C-4

  11. #11
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    I used to live on Hersey St. in Hingham a few years ago...so that's what Massa does huh? What is the possible use of such a thing?!? That's even left-field for DARPA stuff...

  12. #12
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    Frank Massa who started Massa Product is thought to be the Father of Sonar. Every sub ever built (after 1948) Massa Products (Massa Labs) did the Sonar on one part or another also most of the surface ships. Frank Massa recived his degree from MIT. He then went to work for RCA Labs. one of his invention that we all know is the loud speaker.
    The use of the Lobster is for shallow water clearing of mines. The most dangerous place on a naval landing for the U.S. Marine Corps is the surf zone.


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