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  • Writer's pictureDiversified Designs

Plastic Favorites

What we are talking about here are plastics that we often machine over all other thermoplastics that make up the vast choices of plastic items we use and often see every day. Of course, there are other more specialized or high-performance engineered plastics available with their own unique capabilities like, strict limitations, special handling requirements and high price tags. This list is among our main stay based on several factors like, relatively accessible, typically easy to use and reasonably affordable. Also, it is what we here at Diversified Designs is requested to quote and machine on a daily basis.

  • ABS: excellent impact resistance, modern strength and good cosmetic appearance. Though poor in heat resistance and more expensive than HDPE and PP, useful in applications like golf-club heads, radio case, wheelchairs, highchairs, printers, desk trays, hangers, helmets, musical instruments, handles, smoke detectors, protective headgear and Lego building blocks.

  • ABS/PC: this blended version of ABS combines the strength and impact resistance of Polycarbonate with the cosmetics of ABS. Offers a moderately priced plastic material suitable for a variety of applications like automotive components, glove boxes, overhead consoles, knee bolsters, telecommunications and electronic housings.

  • Acetal (POM): high strength and lubricity makes this material suitable for bearings and on the styli used on PDA devices, highly resistant to hydrocarbons and organic solvents. Typically used to replace metal and wood components, potable water applications, bearings, bushings, electrical components, structural keels, gears, rollers, pump/valve parts, wear pads, scraper blades and has been used in the manufacturing of musical instruments.

  • HDPE: notable for flexibility, chemical and impact resistant with low cost. Lacks heat resistance with poor dimensional accuracy, found in applications like food containers, detergent bottles, automotive fuel tanks, water and gas pipes, park furniture, lawn chairs, decking, manifolds, well heads, valve boxes, outdoor signs and cabinetry, marine use, piping systems, food and beverage, arena board and a great metal replacement.

  • Nylon (PA66): strong, chemical resistant except strong acids and bases. Thin parts can be made although Nylon is subject to warping, the price is moderate to high. Great wear properties and is used in a variety of applications like automotive, machine parts, bearings, rollers, wheels, gears, diffuser nozzles, wear pads, handles, connectors, plugs, coils, terminal blocks and sporting goods.

  • Nylon 33% Glass-Filled (PA66/GF33): has the characteristics of Nylon but twice the strength, it does lack Nylon's non-lubricated wear properties. Due to the glass content, it will be abrasive to other contacting materials. Typical uses in bearings, bushings, valve seats, rollers, guides, wear surfaces and gears. Often suited for replacement of aluminum, brass, bronze and steel.

  • PBT: tough and flexible in its unfilled form, the use of glass will increase strength, reduce flexibility and increase warping. Excellent electrical properties make it a great material for insulators. Also used as cams, bearings, gears, food pistons, wear strips, scraper blades, valve bodies and conveyor components.

  • PC: excellent impact resistance across a range of temperatures, available in visually clear grades. Not very resistant to chemicals and is moderate to high in cost, its strength and clarity make it great for eyeglass lenses, sight glasses, glass replacement for automotive headlights, insulators, manifolds and also used in medical applications (Medical Grade Polycarbonate).

  • PP: not as tough as HDPE but not as brittle either, can withstand higher heat allowing it to be sterilized for medical and laboratories. Less expensive substitute for engineered plastics ABS and PET. Used in caps, toys, car batteries, furniture, cold weather gear, sunglasses, loudspeakers and luggage.

For more information on these material grades or for more choices please see our material lists for more options.

Again, these are our most popular or customer favorite materials that we machine daily here at Diversified Designs. This list is not complete or limited to other shops or material grades out on the market today. Please always do your own research and verify all materials or information before proceeding in the design or manufacturing of your components.

All statements, technical information and recommendations contained in this publication are presented in good faith and are, as a rule, based upon tests and such tests are believed to be reliable and practical field experience. The reader, however, is cautioned, that Diversified Designs does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and it is the customer’s responsibility to determine the suitability of Diversified Designs products in any given application.

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