Plastic Material Guides

Plastics are a synthetic material that can be utilized for a variety of purposes. They're typically made of petrochemicals, although they can also be formed of natural materials. Nylon, Acetal, and High Density Polyethylene are examples of common polymers.

Rigid Plastics These are the plastics used in electronics enclosures, football helmets, power tool bodies, tape dispensers, cutting boards and in countless other applications. They're not as flexible as elastomers, but they are durable. They are typically graded on the Shore D scale. ABS, Nylon, HDPE, and PolyCarbonate are examples of rigid polymers.

The Shore durometer is a tool used to determine the hardness of materials such as polymers, elastomers, and rubbers. Higher numbers on the scale indicate more  resistance and, as a result, harder materials. Lower values indicate softer materials and less resistance. The phrase can also refer to a material's rating on a scale, such as an object with a Shore durometer of 90.

There are 5 major types of plastic manufacturing. These include: Reaction Injection Molding, Injection Molding, Thermoforming, Extrusion Blow Molding and Compression Molding.

General Information

  • High mechanical strength to withstand high torque.
  • All plastics used are resistant to acids, solvents, petroleum products, grease and perspiration.
  • Good electrical insulation properties of all plastic materials used make them preferable to like metal products.
  • Surface hardness—impervious to incandescent chips and sharp tailings as happens during machining.

Ten Most Popular Types of Plastic

Polypropylene (PP) - This type of plastic is a thermoplastic polymer, and it is the world's second-most-produced synthetic plastic. Polypropylene is one of the most flexible thermoplastics on the globe, which explains its extensive use and popularity. Although PP is more durable than PE, it is still flexible. Under repeated tension, it will not crack. Polypropylene sheets are used to produce laboratory equipment, automotive parts, medical gadgets, and food containers because they are durable, flexible, heat resistant, acid resistant, and inexpensive.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET)- PET is a transparent, sturdy, and lightweight plastic commonly used in the packaging of foods and beverages, particularly convenience-sized soft drinks, juices, and water. PET is used to make almost all single-serving and 2-liter bottles of carbonated soft drinks and water sold in the United States.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - PVC is available in rigid and flexible versions. PVC in its rigid form is employed in pipe construction as well as profile applications like as doors and windows. Plastic bottles, non-food containers, food-covering sheets, and plastic cards are all made with it (such as bank or membership cards). Plasticizers, the most common of which are phthalates, can be applied to make it softer and more flexible. Plumbing, electrical cable insulation, imitation leather, flooring, signage, phonograph records, inflatable items, and many more applications where rubber is replaced use it in this form. It is made of cotton or linen and is used to make canvas.

Polyethylene (PE)- Polyethylene is a polyolefin resin that belongs to the major polyolefin resin family. It is the world's most frequently used plastic, found in everything from clear food wrap and shopping bags to detergent bottles and automotive fuel tanks.

Polystyrene (PS) - Polystyrene is a versatile material that can be used in a wide range of consumer goods. It is commonly used in products that require clarity, such as food packaging and laboratory gear, because it is a strong, solid plastic. Polystyrene is used to produce appliances, electronics, vehicle parts, toys, gardening pots and equipment, and more when mixed with various colorants, additives, or other polymers.

Polylactic Acid (PLA) - Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biodegradable plastic with properties similar to polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), and polystyrene (PS). It can be made with currently available production equipment (those designed and originally used for petrochemical industry plastics). As a result, it is quite inexpensive to create. As a result, PLA has the second highest volume of production of any bioplastic (the most common typically cited as thermoplastic starch). Polylactic Acid can be used in a wide variety of ways. Plastic films, bottles, and biodegradable medical equipment are among the most popular applications (e.g. screws, pins, rods, and plates that are expected to biodegrade within 6-12 months).

Polycarbonate (PC)- are a class of thermoplastic polymers with carbonate groups in their chemical structures. Polycarbonates are strong, resistant materials used in engineering, and some grades are optically transparent. They're simple to work with, mold, and thermoform. Polycarbonates have a wide range of uses because to their characteristics. Polycarbonates are classified as "Other" on the RIC list because they lack a unique resin identification code (RIC). Bisphenol A, a precursor monomer, can be found in polycarbonate products (BPA).

Acrylic (PMMA)- Plexiglas and acrylic are only two of the many names for poly(methyl methacrylate), or PMMA. PMMA is commonly used in windows, aquariums, and hockey rinks as a lighter, shatter-resistant alternative to glass. As a result, it's difficult to believe that this simple-to-process, low-cost, adaptable material is also utilized in dentures, bone implants, and other applications.

Acetal (Polyoxymethylene, POM) - Acetal (polyoxymethylene or POM) is a high-strength, low-friction engineering plastic with good wet and dry wear qualities. Hydrocarbons, solvents, and neutral substances have no effect on acetal. Acetal is a great material for applications that demand intricate, tight tolerances because it's easy to machine.

Nylon (PA)- Nylon is utilized in a wide range of applications, including clothes, rubber reinforcement in car tires, rope and thread, and a variety of injection molded parts for cars and mechanical equipment. Because of its high strength (compared to other polymers), high temperature endurance, and chemical compatibility, it is frequently employed as a substitute for low strength metals in applications such as car engines.


  • Thermoplastic materials with highly advanced technical characteristics: polymide, acetyl, polypropylene, polycarbonate & polyester resins.
  • Temperature range for extended working periods
  • High impact-175° to 195°F
  • Fiberglass reinforced—265° to 300°F


  • Phenolic thermoset materials that generally harden during molding following irreversible polymerization.
  • Temperature range for extended working periods-210-230°F.

Machining Instructions

Use Low Speed or Coolant When Machining Steel Inserts to Prevent Overheating and Possible Stress Damage to Plastic

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