It does matter. If you’ve wondered whether you should have a metal machinist produce your plastic machined parts, The Short Answer Is – No, You Should Not
Cutting fluids for each material are crucial: Equipment used to machine metal – even if only used for metal occasionally – can contaminate parts with oil-based cutting fluids. Many plastics are also very sensitive to petroleum based cutting fluids and will degrade if they come into contact with these fluids. Additionally, many plastics are hydroscopic and will absorb the cutting oils. If the parts are being manufactured for FDA-approved uses or medical applications, they will not meet standards.
Metal fragments contaminate plastic parts: It is difficult to adequately clean a machine that has been working on metals, especially if it has been working on stainless steel. This can lead to another contamination problem. If the plastic material is soft, residual metal fragments can become embedded in the plastic machined parts.
Metal shops are experts in metal, not plastic: Metal machining companies rarely have any in-depth knowledge of plastic materials, or more specifically, which material to use in an application. Plastic machinining specialists know what plastics are best for any function, and can produce the plastic part you need without the “trial-and-error” processes a metal machinist would use. A good plastic machining firm will have the material knowledge and the right machining processes to consistently give you the highest quality plastic machined parts.
If you’ve got custom plastic machined components, EPP Corporation can help.