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MACHINING FOR PLASTIC PARTS: CNC MACHINING


Posted on: Sep, 13, 2017

Plastic products are one of the most popular kinds of products on the market. With a whole range of applications, it is easy to see why people would want to work with Poly-carbonate. If you haven’t fully explored the techniques and processes of PC or PMMA (acrylic) prototyping, you’re in for some great news.

A Switzerland designer contacts WayKen for a plastic prototype, an early concept of the products, the designer wants the part can bear A stress of 60N on it , and the goal is for the part to last 5-10 times. After discuss of further details, we found that the stress concentration point is the key point to use more than 10 times. Because the product structure cannot change, otherwise it will affect its final function. We provided our suggestion from material side. And at the first time, we use CNC milling the first trial. if they want the final product get a better result from material side, we suggest PA66+GF or POM.

What plastics are available for prototyping?

With so many materials available, this list is an overview of some of the most commonly used plastics in prototyping, and important things to consider when making your choice.

Polypropylene: For injection molded prototypes, polypropylene stands head and shoulders above other options for two specific uses: living hinges and medical devices/components. As a material for those applications, it can be difficult to find another option that recreates its specific qualities, so you will often want to prototype using the same material. The specific strengths of polypropylene are high flexibility, ability to stay intact at very thin gauges (ideal for living hinges), and resistance to bacteria and other contaminants (ideal for medical functions). It also has a very high melting point, making it more receptive to sterilization.

ABS: Think of ABS as the jack-of-all-trades of plastic prototyping. It’s a readily available, easily machinable material that performs well in just about every area you’d be concerned with for a prototype.

Nylon: In powdered form, nylon can be used in SLS, 3D printing for a variety of part types. A key benefit of nylon is its strength throughout a wide range of thicknesses: thin parts or part sections can be created that are flexible while still structurally sound, making nylon a strong choice for electrical connectors and enclosures.

PLA: For rapid prototyping, PLA holds one benefit over all other materials: it is made from renewable resources and is completely biodegradable (while most other plastics discussed here are recyclable, but formulated with petrochemicals).

Working with plastics is a great way to develop anything from an aesthetically designed piece of furniture to lab equipment or automotive headlamps. As one of the most popular composite materials, polycarbonate parts are often CNC machined directly from the CAD data. If you are interested in working with PC or PMMA products, you need to know the CNC machining process.

How to choose between PMMA and PC? The question is in the functionality of the part or product. PMMA has even been found to have a good degree of compatibility with human tissue, while other applications can include clear bottles, lenses or anything that requires a high degree of transparency. PC, on the other hand, is used primarily for those jobs that acrylic (PMMA) can’t handle, such as the durability of automotive headlamps, safety shields or for use in the construction industry. PMMA and PC are then usually CNC machined.

The CNC machining process is actually considered the most accurate prototyping process, creating a product that handles finishing or polishing quite well. Nowhere is this more important than with a PC or PMMA product that must be as transparent as possible. The higher quality the part, the easier the finishing is, perhaps being able to immediately start out with a special liquid and mesh cloth for hand polishing. The easier the polish work is after production, the less stress on the product and more suitable the product becomes for engineering and evaluation.

In addition to part quality and ease of finishing, CNC machining is also very cost-friendly and fast. Often, parts can be finished in as few as 3 – 9 days. A CNC machined prototype most accurately represents to a client or investor what the final, marketable product is going to look like.

For questions about CNC machining or to talk with one of our project engineers, contact Wayken Rapid today.

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