As the price of metals continues to rise, an increased number of product designers are looking to see how they can replace machined metal parts with plastic parts. In addition, there are more opportunities for machine shops to bid on jobs that call for machining plastics, and they are finding it profitable.
The equipment is essentially identical and, for the most part, so are the tools and techniques. However, even with the many similarities, cutting plastic is not the same as cutting metal and even cutting one plastic is often not the same as cutting another plastic, so shop operators need to research plastic CNC machining if they want to avoid costly mistakes.
Plastic CNC Machining
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and the manufacturing process now uses CNC machining with computers to control machine tools such as mills, lathes, grinders and routers.
Before the CNC machining can proceed, a CAD drawing that is either two- or three dimensional of the part to be made is created, and then the code is generated that the CNC machine will understand. The program is loaded and finally an operator runs a test of the program to ensure there are no problems. This trial run is referred to as “cutting air” and it is an important step because any mistake with speed and tool position could result in a scraped part or a damaged machine.
Under CNC Machining, a computer has special software and a console which control the functions of the machine tools. A part that needs to be made has a computer program customized for it and then the machine that is going to be used to make it is programmed with CNC machining language that controls the features required to precisely create the part. With CNC machining, the computer can control velocity and exact positioning
Plastic CNC Machining has several advantages over manual machining as it is more precise and can be repeated over and over again with the same accuracy. The precision that is made possible with CNC machining enables the production of complex shapes, particularly ones that are three-dimensional, that would be almost impossible to create with manual machining. As a result, plastic CNC machining is used where a high level or precision is required or the tasks are very repetitive.
PEP Connecticut Plastics has been in business for more than 35 years as plastics experts who focus primary on plastics polishing and machining. The company has been known for its ability to create the highest quality components with tight tolerances. To learn more how PEP Connecticut Plastics can provide custom solutions for your company, visit Pepctplastics.com.