10 Types of CNC Plastics You Will Encounter In Your Machining Projects

If you're looking for the best materials for your machining projects, you should consider the many types of CNC plastics available. CNC plastics are a versatile and cost-effective option for prototyping and manufacturing. From acrylic to PP to PTFE and more, there is no shortage of options for CNC plastics. In this blog post, we’ll cover ten common plastics used in CNC machining projects and tips on choosing the right plastic for your machining needs.
types of CNC Plastics

10 Types of CNC Plastics For Machining Projects

When machining plastics, it’s important to stick to the appropriate plastic for your part. Here are some types of CNC plastics that we provide for your machining projects:

– Acrylic

– PC

– PP

– PTFE

– ABS

– Delrin/POM

– HDPE

– Nylon

– PEEK

– PVC

These plastics vary in cost, strength, and durability. They’re suitable for machining applications for their excellent wear resistance, chemical resistance, stiffness, and impact strength.

Acrylic (PMMA)

Acrylic (PMMA) is a lightweight and versatile plastic that is easy to machine. Common processes for acrylic machining include turning, milling, and laser cutting.

Acrylic’s lightweight and high-strength characteristics make it ideal for applications where precision is essential.

Overall, acrylic has many desirable properties, making it an ideal material for machining applications.

acrylic CNC milling

Polycarbonate (PC)

Polycarbonate (PC) is a durable, lightweight plastic commonly suited for machining projects.

Benefits

It has excellent thermal and electrical insulation properties.

PC is also lightweight, weather-resistant, and available in various colors. This makes it ideal for precision components with intricate details.

PC is machinable with CNC milling machines for precision components with intricate details. This makes it a versatile material for machining projects that require precision, stability, and strength.

Common applications

Common applications for PC include instrument panels and headlamps in the automotive industry.

Polycarbonate machining is an excellent choice due to its strength, durability, and versatility.

PC parts

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is a lightweight, strong, and flexible thermoplastic used extensively in machining projects.

Benefits

It has excellent chemical resistance and good electrical insulation properties, making it a popular choice for applications in the automotive and medical industries.

Polypropylene is commonly suitable for manufacturing durable and lightweight, high-quality plastic parts.

The material is resistant to most acids, alkalis, oils, and solvents, making it reliable for manufacturing parts with high-performance specifications.

Polypropylene exhibits excellent heat resistance and low friction properties, making it ideal for creating wear-resistant parts.

Common applications

One of the most important uses of PP parts is in the automotive industry.

Bumpers 

Body panels 

Window frames 

Engine covers 

Door panels 

Overall, polypropylene is a cost-effective material that can create high-quality machined parts. 

Teflon® (PTFE)

Teflon® (PTFE) is a fluorocarbon-based plastic with excellent chemical resistance and low friction properties. 

Benefits

Teflon is also known for its high-temperature resistance, making it suitable for machining at high temperatures.

It is often suitable for applications where corrosion, wear, and electrical insulation are important.

Common applications

This plastic is commonly suitable for food processing, medical applications, and gaskets due to its non-stick properties. In addition, Teflon is commonly suitable for automotive and aerospace components due to its heat resistance properties.

If you are looking for plastic with excellent chemical resistance and low friction properties, Teflon may be the perfect choice for your machining project. 

Learn more about PTFE machining services.

CNC machining PTFE/Teflon parts

ABS

ABS is a thermoplastic material commonly used for injection molding and machining projects.

Benefits

It has high strength and can be formed into various shapes.

It is resistant to water and chemicals, making it ideal for use in the automotive industry.

Additionally, ABS can be easily painted or colored to give it a unique look. This material is affordable and easy to work with, making it perfect for industrial and consumer applications.

Common applications

ABS parts have proven indispensable components in modern manufacturing, from consumer electronics to automotive components.

Smartphone cases

Bumpers  

Prosthetics 

Medical implants

As a result, ABS is a common plastic used in machining projects around the globe.

Learn more about ABS machining.

CNC machining ABS parts

Delrin/POM

Delrin/POM is an acetal homopolymer plastic with excellent strength, stiffness, and resistance to wear. It is great for CNC machining projects requiring high-precision parts and tight tolerances.

Benefits 

First, POM plastic has a low coefficient of friction which helps reduce the energy used in moving parts of machinery or products. This makes it perfect for applications such as bearings or bushings.

Second, Delrin is easy to work with and can be molded into virtually any shape imaginable, making them ideal for custom pieces or intricate designs.

Common applications

This material can be easily machined and has good chemical resistance, which allows it to be used in applications such as mechanical parts, consumer products, electrical components, and automotive components.

Learn more about CNC machining POM.

POM parts

HDPE

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a thermoplastic material that is strong, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant.

Benefits

HDPE has good machinability and can be easily cut and drilled. This makes it excellent for precision parts that require precision machining.

Additionally, HDPE offers excellent wear resistance.

This thermoplastic material is also chemical resistant making it a good choice for parts requiring resistance to corrosive materials.

Common Applications

It is commonly used in packaging, protective casings, and tank liners.

Overall, HDPE is a durable material with many desirable properties making it a popular choice for precision machining applications.

Nylon 6/6

Nylon plastic is an incredibly versatile material ideal for a variety of applications.

Benefits and applications

It is lightweight and strong, with excellent abrasion, impact, and wear resistance.

Nylon plastic is also highly shock absorbent, chemical resistant, non-toxic, and easy to clean.

Its low coefficient of friction makes it great for moving parts such as gears and bearings, while its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio makes it suitable for load-bearing components.

Learn more about CNC machining nylon.

PEEK

PEEK, or polyetheretherketone, is a thermoplastic material that offers superior mechanical and chemical resistance in various applications.

Benefits

With excellent dimensional stability, fatigue resistance, and low moisture absorption, PEEK can be used in high-temperature applications up to 250°C.

It is also highly resistant to hydrolysis and has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for parts that require minimal weight but maximum durability.

Furthermore, PEEK is lightweight yet strong enough to withstand extreme pressure and temperature changes. It is capable of withstanding harsh chemicals as well as high temperatures without degrading.

Common applications

Customers benefit from the fact that PEEK can be machined into complex shapes and components, making it useful for various projects such as medical implants or aerospace components.

Learn more about CNC machining PEEK.

PEEK PARTS

PVC

PVC is a durable and versatile plastic used in various applications, from building materials to medical devices. It is lightweight, strong, and easy to work with, making it ideal for CNC machining projects.

Benefits

PVC is resistant to abrasion and chemical corrosion, making it suitable for outdoor use.

It has excellent dimensional stability and heat resistance.

Furthermore, PVC is lightweight and easy to mold into complex shapes.

Common applications

The most common applications for PVC machined parts include plumbing systems, piping systems, automotive parts, valve components, and furniture.

Overall, PVC is a cost-effective CNC plastic used in various applications.

Tips for Choose Right Types of CNC Plastics For Machining

First, when choosing CNC plastics for machining, you need to consider the mechanical properties of the plastic. This will help you choose plastics with high tensile strength and stiffness.

Additionally, consider the chemical and heat resistance properties of the plastic being machined. By doing so, you can select plastics that can withstand high-temperature machining processes without breaking down.

Another important factor to consider is cost-effectiveness. By comparing different types of CNC plastics, you will find one that is cost-effective and suitable for your machining project.

Lastly, look at the availability and accessibility of CNC plastics in the market. This will help you choose a plastic that has the properties you want.

Our Plastic CNC Machining Capabilities

We have high-performance CNC plastics machining capabilities. These machining capabilities include milling, turning, drilling, and milling with a lathe. Our capabilities allow us to precision-machining plastic parts.

We use high-precision milling machines to mill plastic components on a precision level of 0.0002” or better. We also have high-precision turning machines for turning plastic components on a precision level of 0.001” or better.

Our machining capabilities are an excellent choice for plastic machining projects in terms of precision, accuracy, and cost-efficiency.

Conclusion

In conclusion, CNC machining projects involve many different types of CNC plastics, each with unique features and benefits. From ABS to PEEK, each plastic has its own set of characteristics which will help you decide which is best for your project. Understanding the specific qualities of CNC plastics you use to ensure optimal results is important.

latest articles