Are you building a prototype plastic part? It’s crucial to pick a suitable material, but that process can become intimidating as different plastics vary in durability, aesthetics, and strength. Even when prototyping, you’ll want to produce a production-grade prototype that lets you evaluate your product’s performance in the real world. Here are some tips to reduce your guesswork in choosing plastics for your prototype.
Consider these critical factors.
Know the purpose of your part and its mechanical functions. You should also consider your manufacturing processes, such as CNC vowin.cn/en/News/news1251.html' target='_blank'>machining, injection vowin.cn/en/News/news1251.html' target='_blank'>molding, or 3D printing. Moreover, determine the quantity, the cost, and the lead times.
Explore commonly used plastics
Reputable manufacturers constantly update their selection of plastics, but these are the most common types you can consider for your prototype plastic part:
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS): This is a strong material with an excellent surface appearance. It can be metalized, painted, or decorated to achieve your desired look.
Polypropylene (PP): A plastic that may be suitable for prototypes that must be flexible, making it ideal for automotive interiors and injection molding. It won’t react with most substances while resisting stress and cracks, but it’s challenging to glue or paint.
Polyamides or nylon: Nylon can be formulated in different ways to produce a prototype plastic part that requires durability and strength. For instance, glass-filled nylon has added heat resistance and strength.
Polycarbonate (PC): This is a robust and clear material with some flexibility. It can be difficult to glue and may scratch easily. It’s susceptible to discoloration when exposed to UV light, but a UV protective coating remedies this.
Acrylic or poly methyl methacrylate: This is another clear plastic that’s hard to scratch and strong, with a glossy finish.
If you’re still unsure, get help from a professional rapid manufacturing and prototyping company. They will review your project and suggest the best prototype plastic part based on your design and requirements.