Milling PVC: top tips for a successful result

Are you going to mill foamed PVC or hard PVC sheets and you could use a few tips? In this blog, we explain how to tackle PVC milling and which tools you need for this procedure.

Requirements for PVC milling:

  • Router - variable speed
  • Router with one hard steel (HSS) cutting edge - different diameter
  • Support board (wood)
  • Laths for support
  • Clamps or clips
Milling PVC necessities

The right tools for the job

You can mill both foamed PVC and hard PVC satisfactorily with standard woodworking tools, such as a wood milling machine/router. Make sure that the cutter you are using has a sharp cutter and that the dust collection is clear. If you use a milling machine with a connection for a vacuum cleaner, we recommend using it. Milling PVC creates a lot of chips.

Which cutter to use for PVC?

Use single-edged carbide (HSS) cutters and choose the correct cutter diameter.

Choose your milling diameter
For PVC sheets with a thickness up to 5 mm – cutter diameter 4 mm.
For PVC sheets with a thickness of 5-10 mm – cutter diameter max. 6 mm.
For PVC sheets with a thickness of 10 mm or more – cutter diameter 8-10 mm.

Tip: To determine the correct speed, we recommend that you test mill a few pieces of scrap material first. In general, the following rule applies: for smaller cutters, use a higher speed than for thicker cutters.

Milling PVC blue
Milling PVC end result

When to mill PVC?

Foamed PVC is a decorative sheet material that is used primarily for aesthetic purposes. For example, milling the material allows you to make ceiling panels. You can also mill it into shapes, such as a map or letters that you can attach to a wall. Foamed PVC is often used in stand construction and is also widely used by businesses for indoor signage.

Hard PVC, on the other hand, is more of a technical plastic that is widely used in industry. Some examples of its many applications include electrical cabinets, coverings for fume cupboards and equipment construction.

Foamed PVC milling

When milling foamed PVC, it’s crucial that you properly support both the sheet and the cutter during the process so that the sheet does not vibrate. Make sure your sheet is on a solid surface, into which your router can run. For example, use a wooden board. Keep the top of the sheet firmly pressed against the surface. You can support the sheet along the milling line with slats and clamps or clips. If you want to make straight milling lines, run the cutter along a straight bar.

Milling PVC green
Milling PVC foamed

Milling hard PVC

When milling hard PVC, you tackle it in the same way as milling foamed PVC. We do recommend that you always finish milled sheets, because the plastic material is ‘pressed’, as it were, during milling. You can create a sleek, clean finish by re-milling.

Milling pvc solid

Ordering PVC sheets

In our webshop, you’ll find white foamed PVC and coloured foamed PVC in various thicknesses. We also offer a range of different types of rigid PVC. We saw the sheets custom cut to size for you free of charge, and you’ll receive your order as soon as possible.

More information about machining PVC?

Do you want to find out more about milling foamed PVC and hard PVC, or do you have a question about this blog? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.