Nowadays, plastics are widely used in a variety of industrial applications, hence the importance of plastic machining. Plastic machining should be done by highly trained and experienced workers who follow strict quality standards and use proper equipment. Only this way will plastic parts be machined right and to exact specifications. The range of plastic machining processes is wide and you can choose the most suitable one for your needs. But before doing that, it is imperative that you explore all the methods and options first.
Employees involved in plastic machining need to be skilled in milling, drilling, forming, turning, sanding, grinding, punching, tooling and assembling. But besides being skilled and armed with knowledge and skills, plastic fabricators should also be proficient in using computers in order to be able to operate all the machines.
Machining of plastics can be beneficial for applications that require low volume production, difficult to mold configurations and/or close tolerance dimensions. Today, there is a wide range of plastics you can choose from – from low performance and low cost products to highly engineered high performance products. Among the most common industries that use plastic machining are the medical, automotive, transport as well as the construction industry. All of them use components made from machining Acetal and Nylon. Speaking of machining Acetal, it is worthy to mention that Acetal is a hard engineering plastic that has a high tensile strength and rigidity.
Stock shapes are generally clear but after being machined, they become translucent to opaque. Therefore, they need to be polished so that they become clear again. Some of the polishing methods are vapor polish, direct machine polish, flame polish and buffing.
Machined plastics definitely do not have the structural stability that metals have. This is mainly because of their tendency to absorb water and a high coefficient of thermal expansion. The more stable materials have a low CTFE and a low water absorption.
Impact or toughness resistance is the ability of plastics to withstand sudden shocks or blows. Make sure you do not confuse this with resistance to steady state stress.
If under load, consider either heat deflection temperature or continuous service temperature in air.
The chemical resistance of plastics can vary. That is so because some materials show a universal resistance to chemicals, while, on the other hand, others are very sensitive and crack when exposed. The smartest thing to do is consult a reference guide for a specific plastic/chemical interaction.
Speaking of plastics costs, it can be noted that higher performance engineered plastics come at higher prices.