Precision plastic is a choice of many manufacturers of components and parts, because of properties that are unique to this material. Heat tolerance, hardness, resiliency, machinability and dimensional stability make plastic a very versatile material.
For diverse range of end-product applications, plastic becomes a bankable commodity. But, not all plastic types are fit for plastic machining. Plastics that are soft are no good because they cannot be cut into precise standards. They have the tendency to bend or deform while going through cutting pressures.
Rigid plastics are a better alternative as fine dimensional tolerances are easily achieved. Nylon, with its very good physical properties makes a good precision plastic. It belongs to a semi-crystalline group, and has an impressive resistance in heat, chemical, and wear.
Moreover, it is fair and easy in processing. Some of its applications include electrical connectors, sports and recreational equipment, fabric, carpeting, sportswear and automotive oil pans.
Nylon plastic is also used to manufacture fishing lines, brush bristles, fluid reservoirs, cable ties and film packaging. Even gears, slides, cams and bearings are available in nylon. Like nylon, PTFE is a semi-crystalline plastic. It shows a distinct combination of heat resistance and low friction with chemical and good electrical properties. There is no moisture absorption with PTFE and has high arch resistance.
Bronze filled PTFE, its complete name, is capable of lubricating itself with a low coefficient of friction. It is ideal for structural and bearing and wear applications, as it can withstand moderate to high temperatures.
Most semi-crystalline materials have less vulnerability to cracking, and chipping like other plastic materials. PEEK is also a precision plastic with its highest elongation capacity. Its toughness makes it perfect for instrument components in which aesthetics are significant.
Also, seal components in which inertness and ductility are significant, are available in Ketron peek plastic. Another group of plastics is the amorphous materials such as Ultem, Radel and polycarbonate.
These plastics are for structural parts that can operate in moderate to high temperatures, and have high resistance to steam. They are also used in making electronic components, because they have remarkable insulating characteristics. However, amorphous plastics are vulnerable to stress cracking.
Imidized materials are also precision plastic because of their ultimate high heat resistance. Polymers like vespel, and torlon can reach higher operating temperatures than any other plastic substance, before softening and breaking down.
Some of its applications are structural, bearing and wear. Imidized plastics possess good chemical resistance. But, imidized plastics drawback is its cost, highly expensive, hence, it is used only in extreme conditions.
G-10 and G-11 materials are resin-layered precision plastic, and are thermo set. To add strength to them, strengthening materials are layered into the resin. Among the strengthening materials is cloth, paper and canvass.
Thermo precision plastic is good for structural and electronic applications. Knowing the types of plastic and their properties can help you make the right choice for your machined plastic parts.