Precision Miniature Machined Plastic Parts For Industrial Systems And Prototypes
Precision miniature machined plastic parts serve vital purposes in equipment and systems used by all types of industries. These parts are made to highly precise specifications from tough and reliable polymer-based materials.
Miniature plastic parts can be made to suit all types of purposes. Plastic, when made as an industrial material, includes a variety of polymers that vary in levels of density, resistance, flexibility, and strength.
Although plastic parts are regularly made through extrusion, molding, and conventional machining methods, precision machining makes it possible to create miniature plastic components, fittings, and hardware to exact specifications.
Precision machining capabilities make it possible to shape and modify parts to extremely tight tolerances. The results far exceed levels of detail that can be achieved through extrusion, molding, or additive manufacturing.
Precision machined miniature parts start with a workpiece made of the appropriate material. In the case of miniature plastic components, the workpiece usually consists of a medium or high-density polymer, such as nylon, Celcon, Delrin, Kynar, polyether ether ketone (PEEK), or other plastic that’s not likely to melt, fray, or chip during the machining process.
Through precision machine shop services, the plastic workpiece is shaped into the miniature part by carefully removing material. This can be carried out with a range of different equipment, such as mills, grinders, drills, saws, and other power tools. To gain such exact results, precision machinery uses a computer numerical control (CNC) process, which guides the movement of the machinery in a highly controlled manner, which enables very exact shaping.
Precision machined plastic parts can be very efficiently created for prototyping and specialty purposes. They can also be made as custom or enhanced versions of standard parts to satisfy unique demands in various mechanical and equipment applications.
In some settings, precision machined plastic parts can be used as an alternative to components made from metal and other materials. Benefits of abrasion and impact resistance, low friction, electrical insulation, corrosion resistance, low weight, and overall reliability, make precision miniature machined plastic parts a versatile option for many compact settings.
Individual properties and subsequent advantages will vary based on the individual plastic or polymer used to make the miniature part. In mechanical applications, low friction polymers, like nylon, Delrin, and PEEK perform well as moving parts or as supportive elements and fasteners in various mechanisms.
Nylon miniature parts are well suited to applications that may be exposed to certain chemicals and moderate heat, as well as high friction. For many of these same benefits, with exceptional resistance to friction, Nylatron is similar to nylon and serves as a reliable option. The addition of a molybdenum disulfide lubricant makes it useful in mechanical systems.
Both nylon and Nylatron are lightweight and resistant to wear. This can be favorable in applications where polymer-based parts are needed as an alternative to cast iron and steel parts.
PEEK is another polymer-based material that is commonly used to manufacture miniature parts that might otherwise be made from metal. It can offer comparable strength-to-mass ratios with a significant reduction in weight.
Delrin, also known as Celcon, offers very low friction and high strength for minimal weight. This material offers good machinability, especially for the level of strength it provides. It can be used for a broad range of equipment and component applications.
Kynar, also known as polyvinylidene fluoride or PVDF, offers benefits that are especially useful in applications that may be exposed to chemicals and extreme heat. It delivers some of the best thermal resistance of any polymer. Kynar miniature machined parts have been utilized in especially demanding settings, including semiconductors, chemical manufacturing, medical tools, and aerospace and defense equipment.
Precision machining can be applied to a range of polymers, as well as other types of materials used to make extra compact or scaled-down parts for miniaturized applications. These parts can be obtained from manufacturers that offer precision machining services.
What Are Precision Machined Plastic Parts?
Precision machined plastic parts are components and hardware made from various polymers. Rather than being shaped through an extrusion, casting, or other conventional plastic manufacturing process, precision machined plastic parts are shaped using CNC cutting, grinding, milling, and other methods.
Precision machined plastic parts are made to very precise specifications and are usually incorporated into more complex parts and systems. They are also used for prototyping purposes. In some cases, precision machined plastic parts may serve as a low-weight, low-friction, and non-conductive alternative to parts made from metal.
When Can Plastic Parts Be Used Instead Of Metal?
In some applications, plastic parts can be used as an alternative to those made from metal. There are a number of factors that determine whether a metal part can be replaced with one made from plastic. Usually these plastic parts must be made from a high-density polymer that will perform similar to metal in terms of stability and strength.
Depending on the application, the polymer may also need to carry thermal-resistance and chemical-resistance. Plastic will also be used in place of metal to reduce weight, remove the potential for corrosion, and greatly reduce friction between moving parts. Polymers used to replace metal include materials like Kynar, PEEK, and Nylatron.
What Types Of Plastics Can Be Machined?
A broad range of plastic materials can be machined, including many high-density, rigid polymers like ETFE, HDPE, PVC, Acetal, Kynar, PEEK, Nylon, Nylatron, and others. Instead of being extruded or cast, plastic machined parts start with a solid workpiece that is then shaped by removing material from the piece.
This can be done with conventional, hand-driven machining methods or may be done with CNC precision machinery. The workpiece can be cut, drilled, ground, and milled to achieve a part that meets with very precise dimensional specifications. Depending on the specific material, it’s possible to gain results that are comparable to parts machined from metal, wood, and more.