We are one of the best CNC machining manufacturers for plastic material with more than ten years of experience. We tend to offers a one-stop solution for CNC plastic machining services, covering from single part prototyping to small batch runs, and high- volume production.
We continue to invest new types of equipments that enable us to handle high tolerance requirements at competitive pricing. Our reliable custom machining capabilities provide you with quality custom plastic machining parts. Send us your drawing now!
RapidDone has a professional plastic machining capability. We can handle all kinds of different plastic manufacturing projects depends on customers’ ideas and preferences. Our engineer team can always be able to choose the most suitable process to build your project.
RapidDone provides a good service for polycarbonate machining, your custom will be impressed with our polycarbonate product.
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√ Offer the best CNC machines to allow us to machine high-precision parts
√ Offers the best CNC machine tools to allow us to machine complex plastic parts
√ We can support both CNC Lathe and CNC mill services at the same time
√ Use a high-quality raw plastic sheets and plastic blocks for machining
√ We are one of the best companies with competitive price in China
√ We have a professional engineering team and sales team as support
√ Our strong engineer team can support you with custom plastic machining parts
√ Our one-stop of CNC machining plastic solution makes your business safe
√ We support NDA to protect your design and your business
Custom Plastic Parts Prototype to Skyrocket Your Brand
RapidDone has an experienced team that has built more than 1000 plastic projects, covering different types of sizes, materials, surface finishings. We keep developing unique products to meet every client’s needs.
Well, this guide shall help you in this regard. In this article, I am going to cover everything to let you know about all the details.
What Is Plastic CNC Machining?
This refers to a subtractive manufacturing process that transforms a stock piece of plastic material into a finished part by using a milling machine, lathe machine, or other machines.
Compared with metal material, we are using the same CNC machines to deal with plastics. However, plastic material is much softer than metals. Therefore, CNC machines simply run faster and turn a design into a physical part at a higher efficiency.
How Many Typical Plastic CNC Machining Processes Are There?
There is a lot of machining progresses for plastic material.
First, milling is the most widespread method that most of the plastic parts are created by the CNC milling method. The reason is that milling is easier to build complex features that fit with part manufacturing requirements.
Next, we have the Lathe machining process. It normally is well suited for producing parts with a circle shape. As the turning process usually cut material at a higher efficiency, so people always like to pick this process as a priority selection.
Lastly, the other typical operations include drilling, sawing.
What Plastic Material machining services Can Rapiddone offer?
CNC machining is a good choice for making prototypes and low-volume plastic parts. It has such a strong manufacturing ability that it can cut most of the engineering plastic materials in the market.
At RapidDone, we have a full range of machined materials including sheets and round rods. See the below list to check out all plastic machining services we can work on.
What Are Secondary Processes For Machined Plastic Parts?
Usually, the plastic part surface is a little ugly after machining, people can see tool marks and blurs. Thus, we will ask for an additional process done to your machined parts, this is called surface finishing progress.
At Rapiddone, we support a full range of finishes for your product. The following is a list of the standard secondary processes we can do. Besides, we would be happy to discuss any custom process needs you may have.
What Are Application Fields For Plastic Machining Services?
Today, the CNC machines are found from small scale industry to big companies in almost all industries. There is hardly any facet of manufacturing that is not touched by CNC machining.
CNC plastic machining is an important part of CNC machining, we can rely on it for an endless number of applications to meet our business needs.
Based on our manufacturing experience, we apply the below application for both prototyping and end-use production.
√ Automotive Industry √ Medical Industry √ Optical Industry √ Robotics Industry √ Electronics Industry √ Measuring Devices Industry
What Are Cutting Tips For Successful Plastic Machining?
RapidDone team have more than ten years in this manufacturing field, to have your plastic part done with high quality cost-effectively, we suggest to consider the below important points.
#1-Reduce numbers of Setups
As you know, setup is related to machining time and efficiency. If you have more setups, you need more time for re-clamping. Besides, it creates an additional tolerance deviation.
Therefore, fewer setups can reduce machining time and raise machining tolerance for plastic parts.
#2-Reduce Clamping force
Compared with metal, plastic is a much softer material. Once you clamp it with too much force, you may create a visible mark that you do not want to have, worse case it will crack the blank part during machining due to too much tension.
Therefore, it is important to clamp the part correctly, make it as free of tension as possible to avoid the mark issue.
To prevent this, we suggest below two steps clamping procedures. First, make sure to use less force during clamping. At the same time, we can use a softer material between the fixtures and machined parts, this is helpful in absorbing some additional forces.
#3-Try to use a harder plastic material
Usually, plastic material involves three types of materials.
The first one being thermoplastics. This is a soft plastic material, it is easy to shape under the heat effect.
Next, we have thermosetting plastics. Thermosetting material can stand high-temperature heat.
The last one is the elastomers. This is a flexible plastic, like rubber, it is very soft and not easy to be handled with CNC machining.
The CNC machining process does not like low hardness material, when we cut materials with a CNC machine, the softer plastic is, the more difficult to be machined. Because soft plastic tends to deform when the cutter attempts to cut the material, making the part come with bigger dimensional tolerances. Thus, we should try to use thermosetting plastics, avoid the other two types of materials.
#4-Make A Correct Selection For The cutting tool
Since plastic material stands less heat and lower temperatures during the cutting operation, we should pay attention to the chip out from the blank. As a smaller chip normally brings less heat, we should try to use a cutting tool that can create smaller chips as the first rule.
Let us take the drill selection as an example, the normal drill tool is 120 degrees. This is good for the metal cutting operation, but it is not good for plastics. A better solution is to change it to be 60 degrees because this one can bring smaller chips.
We all know that a blunt tool will have more difficulty to cut material and create more heat than a shape one, this applies for both plastic and metal cutting operations. Therefore, it is important to keep your cutter to be as sharp as possible, especially for a softer plastic material like rubber.
#5-Set correct cutting parameters to create less heat
As the hot chip is not good for the machined part especially for plastic parts, it is important to remove the chip as fast as possible during machining. It is suggested to take below three steps to create less heat during the plastic cutting operation.
Step one, keep the cutting tool move fat all the way, this can prevent creating too much heat.
The next step is to keep a big feed rate. Based on our experience, it is suggested to make it be 3X faster comparing with aluminum machining.
Lastly, remember do not to keep the tool running in one place for too long, this will create huge heat and damage the plastic part badly.
#6-Cooling the cutting tool
For most types of plastics, it is necessary to cool the whole process directly on the tooling using coolant. This effect is obvious as this will take out a lot of heat and prevent the plastic part from damaged by heat.
#7-Remember the Deburring
Deburring is a necessary and important step, it can get you to remove the sharp edge issue and be helpful for cosmetics.
What Are The Advantages Of Plastic CNC Machining?
CNC plastic machining is a manufacturing process that involves using a high-speed tool to remove plastic from a solid block of plastic material. It is repeatable progress, resulting in the same part every time. Thus, the advantage is so obvious that it is the first option for a lot of applications.
Quick Turnaround Time
Unlike plastic injection molding, it does not ask for tooling that takes about several weeks, CNC machining only asks for a CAD file for the CNC machine. Usually, this cuts down production time dramatically to be several days.
Easy To Produce High-Quality Parts
Due to the materials available and the production process, CNC machining can produce more robust plastic parts than the 3D printing process. Besides, it is easy to create precision parts that reach 0.001” mm.
As the material is much softer than metal material, it can be cut easily in a high-efficiency way with a shorter manufacturing time. Therefore, it brings the cost down.
Good For Prototyping Build and low volume production
CNC machined parts can provide exactly what is needed for testing, including high tolerance dimension and cosmetic checking, yet, the cost and lead time are reasonable. Those are the requirements for prototyping and low volume production. Therefore, it is ideal to be used for a prototyping build and low volume production.
What Are The Limitations Of Plastic Machining?
Yes, there are quite a several including the following.
First, plastics materials do not conduct away heat generated well in the machining process as well as a lower melting point, the plastic machining heat needs to be handled correctly. Otherwise, the hot plastic chip can cause a burning and distortion problem for the machined part easily.
Next, the machining ability is limited to the more rigid plastics materials.
Thirdly, it will require robust jigs and fixtures for volume production.
At last, the cost is relatively high for volume orders. In another word, the CNC machining method is only good for prototyping order and low-volume production.
What Are the Size Ranges for plastic machined products?
Unless the size is tiny, there is no limitation for the short size part. Short size runs comparatively economical as it takes less material and less machining time.
However, there is a limitation for the large size part. It depends on the machine processing stroke, most CNC machining has a processing stroke at 1 meter, rarely reach 2 meters.
Therefore, it is suggested to design your plastic part to be less than 1 meter if you want to build it with the CNC machining process.
Can You Machine Nylon Gear?
Yes, it is. We machined a lot of Nylon gear parts in our factory.
Normally, nylon gear asks for a high precision regarding dimension due to function requirements. As nylon has good machinability, it is easy to create it into a precision part with tight tolerance by using the CNC machining process.
How to Avoid Distortion During Plastic Machining Process?
This is a tricky issue.
It is all about friction and heat during material cutting. Basic on our experience, to avoid melting the plastic, you need to set the three processing parameters right at the same time: RPM, bits, and feed speeds.
Once you have a solid project, please talk to our experienced team to get a detailed answer.
When You Should Use CNC Machining Way For An Plastic Prototype Order?
There are usually three manufacturing ways for plastic prototyping including CNC machining, 3D printing, vacuum casting.
CNC machining is a good prototyping order and low volume manufacturing order. Therefore, when the order quantity is less than 100pcs as well as high-quality requirements, it is ideal to use the CNC machining way.
However, the best way is to talk to our quotation team about your project. Our team can work out a quotation sheet with cost and lead time information based on different processes, then you can make the best decision.
What Are The Differences Between Plastic machining And Metal machining?
Metal and plastic are two totally different materials, so there is a lot of difference for the CNC machining process, the major differences as the following:
√ Metals tend to have higher melting temperatures than plastics, thus, metals have less chance to have a melting issue during machining.
√ Plastics have higher elasticity than metals. Therefore, plastic cutting can run the bits at a higher feed speed, as well as leading to a higher cutting efficacy.
√ Usually, plastic parts are cheaper than metal parts by using the same CNC machining process.
What Is The Difference Between Plastic Stamping And Plastic Machining?
Plastic stamping refers to the use of a die and a high-speed punch press to cut raw material into parts.
Plastic machining, on the other hand, refers to cutting raw material by using a bit at a CNC machine.
Therefore, they are two different manufacturing ways. Plastic stamping is good for simple parts in high volumes, while plastic CNC machining is ideal for lower quantity production as well as prototyping build.
What are the Tips Of Material Selection For the CNC machining process?
We suggest two tips for plastic material selection to approach this.
First, try to choose a blank material that is a little larger than the final part’s design dimension. By doing this, it can minimize material waste and lower production time.
Secondly, we should know that material machinability impact production time and cost. Therefore, it is important to choose a material with better machinability. For instance, if there is a selection with ABS material and Polycarbonate material for one same project, it is wiser to choose ABS material because ABS takes less machining time.
It is very important to note that you need to work with a professional partner, a good supplier can make you sleep easier at night.
When you need plastic CNC machining services, we are here to make your business profitable.
What matters to us most is your success.
We offer the best plastic CNC machining in a cost-effective way. Please contact us today, and we’ll tailor a suitable solution for your needs.