Think & Tinker, Ltd.
CNC router bits and carbide cutting tools with tutorials and technical guides

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Tools for CNC Cutting and Shaping of Thermoplastics

Machining thermoplastics like PVC, ABS, acrylic and polypropylene is a lot like working with wood in that, there can be so much variation between batches from different vendors that it is virtually impossible to come up with optimized feeds and speeds that will work in all situations.

On the positive side, there are usually enough similarities between different lots of the same type of thermoplastic that general purpose guidelines can be found to get you started. However, for those of us who want to squeeze the last drop of performance out of our CNC routers, nothing beats chasing down the "perfect" combination of RPM and feed rate(chipload) whenever we embark on a new project. To that end, we developed the "Sweetspot Test". It really works and repays the time you spend by reducing bit breakage, improving cut quality and increasing the productivity of you cutting operation.

Most of our 1/8" shank tools are available with and without depth setting rings.
1/4" Ball-nose End-mill 1/4" 2-flute End-mill Bull-nose End-mill For soft plastics. Not suitable for acrylic or polycarbonate
Tool Family: MM204

Deep cutting end-mills optimized for shaping the sheet goods commonly used in the manufacture of dimensional signage, including HDU and PVC. The flute geometry has been tuned to insure smooth cutting and low deflection under high chip loads.

Designed to work together, the fish tail bit is a high-performance roughing tool while the bull-nose and ball cutters are intended for clean-up and fine surface finishing. All of the bits can be used as stand-alone cutters for single pass, high-speed cutting and shaping .

3-flute DeepReach Straight Wall End-mills - 3/16 in. Shank 3/16 in 3-flute long
For most plastics. Not suitable for polycarbonate
Tool Family: MM3316

3-flute deep cutting end-mills designed for cutting thermoplastics used in packaging and thermoforming. The flute geometry has been tuned to insure smooth cutting and low deflection under high chip loads.

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O-flute Single Flute End-mills - 1/4 in. Shank Carbide O-flute 1-flute for softwoods and thermoplastics
For all plastics, woods and aluminum.
Tool Family: MP104

The "O" flute geometry introduced more than a decade ago is one of the most efficient flute designs for cutting thermoplastics that has yet been invented. With a high rake angle and relatively low helix, O-flute cutters manage to cut acrylic, polycarbonate, ABS, PVC and a host of other sheet polymers at very high chiploads without raising a burr or fracturing the edges of the kerf. All of this while leaving a remarkably clean surface finish. The real surprise is that this revolutionary geometry also works incredibly well in wood and aluminum.

60° V-tip For all plastics
Tool Families: EM2D8, EM2E8 & EM2E4

Designed specifically for the dimensional signage and egraving markets, 2-flute solid-carbide "V" cutters feature polished, high-rake cutting edges capable of producing a surface finish suitable for edge-lit transparent signs and plaques. Edge finishes are typically smooth and free of chatter.

High flute volume and precisely shaped ejection paths support high chiploads in a wide variety of sign making substrates. Precise "V" angle formation (±0.2°) permits either single-pass or multi-pass cutting without fear of steps or streaks.

Tapered carving tool For all plastics
Tool Families: CM204, CM304, CM404

The 1/4 in. shank with 1.00 in. depth of cut (DOC, CM304 and CM404) are designed for deep machining in large format dimensional signage as well as very detailed carving of architectural components, back-lit lithophanes and other decorative items.

Although the geometry of these tools was optimized for cutting and shaping hardwoods, they are equally at home machining plastics, phenolic composites, unfired ceramics and aluminum.

Straight Wall Micro End-mills - 1/8 in. Shank
Diameters: 0.032 in. to 0.125 in. (0.80mm to 3.15mm)
Standard Length

This tool family combines large flute volumes and high-shear flute geometries to produce clean, chatter-free cuts in most thermoplastics with little, or no, melting of the swarf. High feed-rates at moderate RPM (12K - 40K) offer significant productivity gains over conventional tooling.

micrO-flute For all plastics
Tool Families: MP103 & MP108

Optimized for high-speed cutting of thermoplastics, the very high rake angle and large flute volume make this the perfect cutter for virtually all thermoplastics, even polycarbonate (Lexan®). These tools are particularly useful for cutting plastics with low melting temperatureswhen using CNC routers with limited RPM and/or feed rate controls.

These tools excel at cutting materials that tend to fray or chip during machining.

2-flute Soft Media Cutter Carbide 2-flute end-mills for all plastics
For soft and high temp. plastics
Tool Family: MM208

High-rake 2-flute cutters optimized for cutting and shaping most soft plastics, especially high temperature materials that do not melt when being cut with moderate chip loads. The flute geometry supports relatively high chip-loads and efficient swarf extraction.

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2-flute Ball-nose Soft Media Cutter Ball-nose End-mill
For all plastics
Tool Family: MM208

The 1/8 in. dia. shank tools in this series have been optimized for single-pass and cleanup cutting in high resolution 3D carving applications where straight side walls are required.

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Precision carbide drill bits For all plastics
Tool families: DC208, DC2M8

Like all of our cutters, PreciseBIT PCB drills are  made using the finest grade submicrograin carbide. Sizes ranging from 0.008 in. (0.2mm) to 0.250 in. (6.35mm) are available from stock. Diameters down to 0.001 in. (25 micron) are available upon request. Slotting drills and high aspect ratio tools are available on a special order basis.

4-flute Countersinks - 1/8 in. shank, 1/4 in. head 4-flute carbide countersink for all plastics For all plastics
Tool family: EM4E8

4-flute tools designed to produce chatter-free counter sunk holes with no edge fraying in G10, carbon fiber and phenolic substrates. The cutting edge geometry generates virtually zero lifting forces making the tools compatible with thin sheet goods.

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ColletCare® Spindle and Toolholder Cleaner / Lubricant ColletCare spindle and tool-holder cleaner and lubricant

Tool Family: MI00-0096

Designed by a corrosion chemist to:
· dissolve varnish and gummy deposits in the spindle bore
· loosen rust
· inhibit corrosion
in spindle bores and on collets and toolholders.

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FuzzBrush® Removes Fuzz and Hair from 3D Carvings and Engravings FuzzBrush Fuzz and Hair Cleaner

Tool Family: MI00-0050

An effective solution for removing fuzz, fray, hair and splinters from 3D carvings and engravings in wood, composites and plastics. FuzzBrush is lightweight and comfortable to use.

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