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Plastic Machining: Design Guide for Plastic Parts

How to use the Plastic Design Guide

  1. Refer to the Design Considerations at the bottom of this page. Consider whether each item on the checklist is a factor in the application or affects performance requirements for the component design.
  2. Select the categories that have the greatest affect on your application.
  3. Review the materials in the Free Plastic Properties Handbook and make a list of possible material candidates.
  4. Contact our technical support to discuss options or ask additional questions.

Custom Plastic Machined Components

Plastic Machining Design Considerations

  • Thermosensitivity – tolerance can change in different temperature conditions
  • Sensitivity to humidity and hygroscopic absorption affects tolerance
  • Sensitivity to chemicals and oils
  • Notch sensitive corners and square ID’s
  • Tolerances
  • High loads
  • High impact
  • Fatigue loading or cycle loading requires consideration of flexing, deflecting, and compression
  • Temperature – max/min extent of time
  • Electrical considerations such as insulating properties
  • Wear resistance or abrasion resistance
  • Dimensional shape retention (load, cold flow, temperature)
  • Regulatory requirements (FDA, UL, etc.)
  • Appearance (color, texture)
  • Optical requirements
  • Outdoor use

Now that you’ve identified the important factors in your application, evaluate material specs in the Plastic Properties Handbook and select your material!

Plastic Machining: Plastic Prototypes and Plastic Machining-Save Money and Time When Innovating

Fast Plastic Machined Prototypes as a Quick, Inexpensive Solution

In the new product development process, teams are faced with two roadblocks: cost and time. Specifically in a down economy a business needs to be innovative in order to stand out from the competition.

The initial frustration for research & development teams is cost. Valuable projects are put on hold because R&D budgets cannot cover the expensive introductory costs of new tooling and initial manufacturing of new designs. In today’s economic environment, corporate cost cutting is needed to help companies survive the recession. While the cost cutting is crucial, revenues must also increase as a means of beating the competition.  Of course new product development is required to do so, but it needs to be cost effective.   If projects have plastic components, then the cost of tooling can be a huge obstacle.  Tooling and molds can cost tens of thousands of dollars.  The solution: have the plastic parts machined. Prototypes as well as the first few years of production quantities can be produced for a fraction of the cost.  While molding requires full commitment to a part’s design, design changes to plastic machined parts cost absolutely nothing.

Time is of the essence regardless of industry. After costs are sorted out and the decision to use plastic machining has been made, time becomes the largest constraint.  That is where fast plastic prototyping comes into play. EPP Corporation is capable of short-run, quick-turn Custom Plastic Prototypes with delivery in one week or less.  The plastic machined prototypes are of the highest quality on tolerances up to +/- .001″.  Simple or complex 3D parts are welcomed for fast plastic prototyping, and free application engineering is available.
Don’t time and cost from preventing innovation.  Stand out from the competition through new product development. Save time and money by machining plastic components, and have your plastic prototypes delivered in under a week.

Contact EPP Corporation now to see how plastic machining and plastic prototypes can help your new product hit the market and put your company ahead of the game!

Plastic Machining: Free, Helpful Tools in Selecting Plastic Machined Component Materials

All plastic materials are not created equal. When having custom plastic machined parts produced, it is crucial to select the appropriate materials in order for the plastic machined components to meet desired specifications and performance requirements.  In order to simplify the process of selecting the appropriate plastic material for your machined plastic parts, EPP Corporation offers a free Plastic Properties Handbook and Plastic Machining Design Guide.

How to Use the Design Guide

  1. Refer to the Design Considerations at the bottom of this page. Consider whether each item on the checklist is a factor in the application or affects performance requirements for the component design.
  2. Select the categories that have the greatest affect on your application.
  3. Review the materials in the Plastic Properties Handbook and make a list of possible material candidates.
  4. Contact our technical support to discuss options or ask additional questions.

Custom Plastic Machined Components

Plastic Machining Design Considerations

  • Thermosensitivity – tolerance can change in different temperature conditions
  • Sensitivity to humidity and hygroscopic absorption affects tolerance
  • Sensitivity to chemicals and oils
  • Notch sensitive corners and square ID’s
  • Tolerances
  • High loads
  • High impact
  • Fatigue loading or cycle loading requires consideration of flexing, deflecting, and compression
  • Temperature – max/min extent of time
  • Electrical considerations such as insulating properties
  • Wear resistance or abrasion resistance
  • Dimensional shape retention (load, cold flow, temperature)
  • Regulatory requirements (FDA, UL, etc.)
  • Appearance (color, texture)
  • Optical requirements
  • Outdoor use

Now that you’ve identified the important factors in your application, evaluate material specs in the Plastic Properties Handbook and select your material!

Plastic Machining: In a Time Crunch? – The Solution

Fully Functional Plastic Prototypes In Under A Week Are The Answer

Throughout the R&D process delays are expected.  Projects are often put on hold for months, only for a deadline to another project quickly approach.  At EPP Corporation, our delivery dates are typically 2-3 weeks from order date on production plastic machining orders however, what if you need parts sooner?

The solution is to utilize EPP Corporation’s fast plastic machined prototype service. Plastic prototypes will arrive to your dock in under a week. Our custom plastic prototypes our fully functional, saving the time and trouble involved in simply ordering a prototype for only form and fit.  Any flaw in the component’s design will be caught quickly, rather than being caught post production.

Our plastic machined prototypes are of the highest quality with close tolerances.  Simple or complex parts are welcomed for fast plastic prototyping, and free application engineering is available.  Since drawings have already been provided when prototyping moving these plastic machined parts to production is quick and easy.


For more information on EPP’s custom plastic prototype capabilities CLICK HERE

For information about EPP’s plastic machining production capabilities CLICK HERE

Plastic Machining: Using a Metal Machining Company to Produce Plastic Machined Parts: The Risks

Engineers and buyers often reach out to metal machining companies to produce plastic machined parts, thinking, “They use the same manufacturing processes, don’t they? Does it really matter?”

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

Here’s why:

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.