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  • Plastic Material Selection Guide in Manufacturing with CNC Machining

Plastic Material Selection Guide in Manufacturing with CNC Machining

You have decided to have the plastic parts you want to be produced with CNC machining methods, but if you are not sure which plastic material you should choose, this article is for you.

Plastic Material Selection Guide in Manufacturing with CNC Machining

While receiving manufacturing service, you need to make various choices that will determine the quality of your part. You want to produce plastic parts, and you have decided to have your parts produced with a CNC plastic processing method with high surface quality and low fault tolerance. Then you research the prices of CNC machining services. So have you determined which plastic material the parts should be made of? 

This article will help you choose the appropriate plastic for your project. The number of plastic material types used in manufacturing with CNC machining is quite high. In our article, we, as Tridi, will examine the plastic materials we offer you in our manufacturing service with the CNC method. 

Plastic Materials Used in CNC Machining 

ABS

Castermid (PA6 G) 

Nylon (PA)

Acrylic (PMMA) 

Delrin (POM) 

PC

PE

PET

PEI

PTFE 

ABS 

ABS is a raw material with a wide usage area and cost-effectiveness, preferred over 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding manufacturing methods. It also has high impact strength and electrical resistance. The average tensile strength of ABS material is 43.7 MPa. 

Advantages:

ABS is an excellent choice for pre-prototyping, impact and strength parts, or when low cost is at the forefront. 

Disadvantages:

It can be said that ABS has low abrasion and chemical resistance. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

Home appliances

Electronic device enclosures 

Toys 

Cooking utensils 

Musical instruments 

It has an extensive application area, such as automotive parts. 

Castermid (PA6 G) 

Castermid, a type of polyamide, has very high impact resistance. It is ideal for use in products that require abrasion and impact resistance. Since it is a self-lubricating material, gear wheels are used in moving parts. This makes it a raw material alternative for parts such as rollers and gears produced using metal with CNC machining. The average tensile strength of castermid material is 80 MPa. 

Advantages: 

It has high impact and abrasion resistance. Since its density is lower than metals, the parts produced are lighter than metal alternatives. 

Disadvantages:

It is quickly affected by the humidity in the working environment. Although the impact resistance increases at high humidity, there are changes in part dimensions and electrical insulation properties. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

Wear plates and rollers,

Bearing elements,

Rolling bearing, slides and bushings,

Steel-reinforced cores,

In shafts and millers,

Scrapers and press plates. 

Nylon (PA) 

Nylon, which we can process with CNC machines, is a durable plastic that can be used for various purposes. The average tensile strength of nylon material is 71.9 MPa.

Advantages: 

Nylon has a high-temperature tolerance. It also has good chemical resistance. And it is low cost. 

Disadvantages:

Nylon is moisture sensitive and can degrade. It is not resistant to bending. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

In the textile industry 

In-circuit board hardware 

In medical devices 

And as an economical alternative to metal materials in the automotive industry. 

Acrylic (PMMA) 

Acrylic is the trade name for PMMA plastic and is suitable for use in CNC machining. It has high impact resistance and surface resistance. It is scratch resistant. It is also a significant advantage because it can bond with acrylic cement. The average tensile strength of acrylic material is 69MPa. 

Advantages:

It is a good choice for models that require optical transparency or translucency. 

Disadvantages:

Its hardness is high, so it's brittle. The flexural tensile strength is feeble. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

In the building materials industry 

In the manufacturing of optical materials and instruments 

In automotive parts 

In the medical industry for the manufacturing of prostheses. 

Delrin (POM) 

Delrin has a low friction coefficient and high hardness. Since it is self-lubrication, it can be used to produce moving machine parts that need to work without lubrication in water and humid environments. The average tensile strength of Delrin material is 74.8 MPa. 

Advantages: 

Delrin is ideal for models that will require high tolerances and will be subject to a lot of friction. It is self-lubricating. It has the feature of maintaining its dimensions in wet and humid environments. 

Disadvantages: 

Its low friction coefficient surface makes Delrin difficult to bond. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

Machine gears, bearing, bushings, fasteners.

Making apparatus and fixtures for assembly.

PC 

Polycarbonate (PC) plastic is a transparent thermoplastic material. Various colour options are available. It can also be translucent. The average tensile strength of PC material is 66.2 MPa. 

Advantages: 

It is plastic with the highest impact resistance. It has high heat resistance. It can allow light to pass through with almost the same capacity as glass. 

Disadvantages: 

Polycarbonate is very susceptible to scratching. Transparent surfaces such as polycarbonate lenses in double glass can be coated with a scratch-resistant layer for protection.

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

Prototypes that need to be transparent,

Sports equipment prototypes,

Manufacture of diffusers and light pipes for LEDs,

Clean moulds for urethane and silicone casting,

3D printed models for high heat applications when ABS is not an option,

 Machine protection parts.

PE (HDPE and LDPE) 

PE (Polyethylene) is an engineering plastic with high resistance to wear and tear, resistant to impacts and suitable for machining with CNC machines. Different types, such as LDPE and HDPE, can be preferred according to the desired density and hardness level. The average tensile strengths of PE material are 26.5 for HDPE and 14.2 MPa for LDPE.

Advantages: 

It has very high chemical resistance, electrical insulation and a smooth surface. 

Disadvantages:

Tensile and flexural strength is meagre. Heat resistance is not very good. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

The food industry 

Manufacturing of bearing gear machine parts and machine mould parts in the chemical industry 

Tank warehouse manufacturing 

Conveyor equipment construction 

PET 

Thanks to its low coefficient of friction and excellent wear and fatigue resistance, PET materials are one of the ideal products for constructing moving parts in CNC machining. It is frequently preferred in the food industry as it is suitable for contact with food. The average tensile strength of PET material is 70 MPa. 

Advantages: 

Abrasion resistance is excellent. Water absorption is low. It is suitable for contact with food. 

Disadvantages:

The low coefficient of friction can create difficulties in painting and bonding to other surfaces. It beings to soften at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees celsius. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

The construction of moving parts working under high pressure

The food industry 

The medical and pharmaceutical industry 

The electronics and semiconductor industry 

Gear, valve and food pumps. 

PEI 

PEI (Polyetherimide) is one of the plastics with the highest mechanical strength and abrasion resistance among CNC materials. Due to its excellent hydrolysis resistance, PEI (Polyetherimide) is used as an alternative to metals in machining handles, fixtures, prostheses, medical lamps, reflectors, and medical and surgical instruments by machining. The average tensile strength of PEI material is 110 MPa. 

Advantages:

Tensile and temperature resistance are pretty high. It can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees celsius. It has very good hydrolysis resistance. It has good radiation resistance. 

Disadvantages: 

It has low flexibility. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

Medical 

Electrical/electronics 

Automotive 

Many areas of use, especially in the aviation industry. 

PTFE

PTFE is a material that has superior properties due to the strong bonds between carbon and fluorine atoms in its molecular structure, is resistant to various chemicals, and has a wide application temperature range (between -250 and +250 degrees celsius) and is suitable for CNC machining. The average tensile strength of PTFE material is 28 MPa. 

Advantages:

High electrical and heat insulation properties. Moisture resistance. Non-flammability and non-stick. 

Disadvantages:

The friction coefficient is very low. It has low-medium impact strength. 

Where Is It Used? 

It is used in; 

O-ring, V-ring, gasket, seal, packing and similar sealing materials

Bearings, bushings and circlips

Electrical insulators 

Sliding bearings 

Sheathed pipes, valves and fittings for corrosive material transfer 

The manufacturing of laboratory materials that require chemical resistance. 

Conclusion

Like other manufacturing technologies, CNC machining has a wide range of materials. Each material in this range has advantages and disadvantages. We hope that this article has helped you select plastics used in manufacturing with CNC machining. If you have any questions, you can reach us by mail or phone or contact us via the live help button on the site.

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