The Material Properties of Machined Plastic
If your ultimate product development plan involves a move to injection molding, CNC machining offers a material selection conducive to a transition into increased molded quantities. Protolabs has more than 30 engineering-grade thermoplastic materials with various benefits.
To illustrate the material properties better (Figure 1), we took four frequently used thermoplastics — ABS, polycarbonate (PC), polypropylene (PP) and nylon polyamide (PA) — and compared the maximum heat deflection, tensile strength and elongation at break that occurs within injection molding, machining and 3D printing.
|ABS Molded||ABS Machined||ABS-like SL|
|Tensile Strength||6,091 psi||6,100 psi||7,800 psi|
|Elongation at Break||30%||40%||6 - 20%|
|PC Molded||PC Machined||PC-like SL|
|Tensile Strength||10,442 psi||8,000 psi||11,300 psi|
|Elongation at Break||100%||50%||1.0-13%|
|PP Molded||PP Machined||PP-like SL|
|Tensile Strength||5,801 psi||4,800 psi||7,250 psi|
|Elongation at Break||100%||14%||7-25%|
|PA Molded||PA Machined||PA-like SLS|
|Tensile Strength||16,500 psi||10,000 psi||6,946 psi|
|Elongation at Break||60%||25%||14-51%|
Figure 1: Thermoplastic material properties compared between different manufacturing processes. Properties are dependent on actual material selected, part thickness and geometry. Please review each material data sheet individually as these are estimates.
Translation: Plastic CNC machining is ideal for functional prototyping and end-use production parts, and readies your design for an eventual move to injection molding. We have a full staff of technical experts that can answer any machining questions you have at [email protected] or 877-479-3680. For more information on 3D printing, CNC machining or injection molding at Protolabs, head over to protolabs.com.