What Type of plastic to Use

I just got a 7x12 mini lathe,I want to practice on cheap plastic meterial before I become proficient enough to work on metal.Do you think plastic is a good material to learn basics of turning and if that is the case what type of plastic do you recomend, and some suppliers. I tried the internet,but the choices are limitless and many suppliers deal with other companies

Reply to
Joe Corona
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Any of the higher density plastics will work: Delrin is wonderful, but ABS or PVC are decent. Delrin is available from

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in rods, a selection of 1/2", 3/4", and 1" rods shouldn't cost over $20 or so.

But the cost of plastic is usually more than the similar parts > I just got a 7x12 mini lathe,I want to practice on cheap plastic

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?PMAKA=505-3626&PMPXNO=944154&PARTPG=INLMK3 google on for >5,700 hits.

You can recycle with a double boiler.

Reply to
F. George McDuffee

PVC water pipe machines pretty well, except for the tangle of stringy chips. Don't let it extend very far out of the chuck without tailstock support because the tool can dig in and jam, possibly stripping gears. That's one disadvantage of learning on plastic rather than aluminum.

Steel isn't THAT bad as long as you start with shallow cuts. Some hardware-store steel rod doesn't give a smooth finish.

Reply to
Jim Wilkins

Find your local scrap yard and look for steel bar -- mine usually has odds & ends that look like they're from a machine shop. They're not so good with aluminum, but I've found some useful chunks.

If there's much surface rust grind it off before you use it to dull your tools with.

Or find your local machine shop and ask if they have odds & ends that haven't made it to the scrap yard yet -- some folks will be so tickled that you're wanting to learn that they'll give you stuff for free, some will chase you off with a stick (don't go to the latter kinds of places more than once each).

Reply to
Tim Wescott

Some of that mystery metal can be very discouraging, or worse, case- hardened.

A type of steel that's fairly easy to find and very nice to turn is "12L14". I've bought some shafting at the local bearing supply stores that turned almost as well.

Brass brazing rod from a welding store is nice, too. They may have larger diameters than hobby stores carry.

Reply to
Jim Wilkins

Do yourself a favor, and go to a local metal supply source (or on-line source like Metal Express) and buy some steel round stock of known composition. The supplier can recommend some inexpensive grade that machines well, and you will be happy and much more at home with your new lathe when you finish turning $20 worth of stock into chips. On the other hand, an evening with the sorts of hard and tough alloys that show up in scrap yards can be frustrating, uneducational, and perhaps downright dangerous. Ruining a couple of pieces of your tooling can cost far more than you can save by being "frugal."

Reply to

What materials you plan to turn when you get past practice time? I'd just start with some

12L14 or aluminum. I have a feeling your lathe will tell you quite quickly if it doesn't like what you are doing.

Play with the feed levers and such while not having material chucked to make sure you understand how things work. Start out with low feed rates, low speeds, small depth of cut. Listen to the machine, it will tell you when it is working.

Look up sfm values for cutting with carbide and HSS.


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