Recommendation for good machinable "thin" material?

One of the project’s I’d like to do is to create a custom panel to install a rather antique computer from my adolescence into a modern PC case. The computer isn’t ATX compliant, so I’d need to make a back panel for it. My maslow is in a wooden shed, and I get concerned about hot metal flying off. I understand that aluminum doesn’t spark when cut, but I imagine the chips would still be hot and I’d rather them not come in contact with saw dust. Is my concern warranted? If so, what plastic material would be the best machinable? I need it to be thin because I’ve got to extend ports through it.

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if you are cutting reasonable chips and not powder, they should not be so hot
that they cause problems.

to get big chips use a 4mm single flute upcut bit on 1mm thick (0.040" ) aluminum
I wouldnt’ worry about any fire issues. I routinely cut wood and aljuminum on the same chop saw outside. I bet I have a 5 gallon bucket full of dust on the ground that needs to be cleaned up.

ABS is probably cheaper in small quantities and easy to machine as well. use 1/16 or 1.5mm thickness if less than 8x12" should be stiff enough, bigger than that, you might want to increase thickness

I’ve cut a lot of aluminum with routers and circular saws. The chips are hot enough to be painful when they hit skin, but I’ve never had a concern about lighting sawdust on fire. My spoilboard on my CNC is MDF, and the CNC is sitting on a plywood bench top. In my experience, there is no reason to be concerned.

If aluminum swarf caught sawdust on fire, I’d have probably already done so. My dust collector bin typically has enough aluminum in it to where the sawdust sparkles.

Thanks everyone for the info.

What speed and depth of pass would you recommend?

I haven’t done any designing/measuring, but the part is maybe 6-inch by 18-inch? It doesn’t have to be overly stiff since it will be screwed into a rigid case… I just don’t want it flopping around :slight_smile: Maybe I’ll try ABS first.

1/16 abs should be fine at 6x18" if screwed in on the sides. also use a single flute upcut bit. I would just cut it at a single pass.

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