Alternate Spoiler Board Material?

Does anyone use anything other than MDF for spoiler board on a Nomad 883? I have been using the MDF ones from Carbide 3D, but I’d rather have something not made from MDF for health reasons, and they seem to be absorbing some oil from me cutting aluminum and does not adhere to the double sided tape well.

I looked for plastics on McMaster-Carr and found some like this:

I mainly machine aluminum and I am looking for something that will keep the evenness after multiple times of facing, soft enough to screw a screw into a drilled hole without threading and preferably cheap. Please let me know if any of you use something like this, or if there is some reason I should stay away from using plastics.



I think plastic food cutting boards are made from polyethylene (HDPE). It should be very stable and oil won’t affect it. You can find cutting boards very cheap then just trim them down to size using a table saw. It might leave some gummy lines where the cutter cuts it that you might need to trim off.

PVC is pretty cheap and stable and machines very well. Just don’t burn it or it releases toxic gasses.

Its actually pretty easy to make a PVC spoil board from a PVC pipe. You need an old toaster oven to do it.

  1. Just get piece of Sch 40 PVC pipe 3" dia or larger and cut it a little over 8" long.
  2. Cut a slit through one wall along the entire length.
  3. Put it in an oven (not one that you use to cook food in) at 250 degrees F until you see it sag quite a bit.
  4. With some thick gloves on, pull it out and roll it out flat.
  5. Quickly put it between two flat pieces and clamp it in several places until it cools.
  6. Trim it to 8"x8" and drill the holes needed to bolt it to the Nomad’s plate
  7. Tram the top of the PVC by milling all of it using the Nomad

Hi Jim,

Plastic would be great except the stuff you would probably want to use (UHMW or HDPE) is designed to not really stick to anything, so using a tape would probably be out of the question. You could however drill and thread holes pretty easily.


good point. I didn’t think about that.

Thanks Tony! I am thinking about using HDPE too.

It’s good to know how to make the board out of a PVC tube, and it seems easier than it sounds. But I probably won’t be melting and reshaping plastic any time soon! I will stick to plates I can buy or find easily.

Thanks again,


Hi Edward,

I did not think of that either. I was actually imagining it being easier to stick than MDF. It will probably work for me just fine without tape since I usually only rely on the tape to hold the piece down before I use the Nomad to drill holes and bolt them down, and hold the leftovers/scraps in place so they don’t move around.

Talking about fixture, I mainly use thin plates, and I am thinking to make some sort of mini C-clamp to hold them in place.

Thanks Edward! It’s great to hear from your input.


Here’s a video that will take the mystery out of making PVC plate stock out of ordinary PVC pipe.

Bootstrapped an HDPE board on my SO3:

Other options:

I use cast Acrylic sheet from McMaster. It’s quite dimensionally stable, resists chemicals well, very tape friendly, machines well, and faces nicely. Also far less dangerous for your lungs than MDF. Good luck!

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Very cool! The PVC plate looks great

I will try that too. It’s good that it is tape friendly, saves me some time if I don’t need to secure everything.

Nice work! It looks kind of like the screw board they are selling on the Carbide store, but costs a lot less I guess :grinning:

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