Plastics, Foams, Materials
ABS, Acrylic, Butyrate,
Delrin, EPP, Expanded PVC,
Fiberglass, Nomex, Nylon,
PVC, Styrene, Teflon,
Tyvec, UHMW, Urethane
|> Miscellaneous Links
properties: highly durable, foam core versions.
uses: water pipes, plastic cases, white-water canoes.
brands: Kydex, Royalite.
properties: low cost, somewhat brittle, high clarity, different colors and patterns,
easily cut by scoring and snapping, heat formable
misc: popular with robotics, apparently a bad static producer.
properties: clear, moderately flexible, thin cuts easily.
uses: mailing tubes and point-of-purchase parts containers.
<| Carbon Composite
properties: carbon fibers suspended in epoxy; moldable like fiberglass; prone to
cracking and delamination.
<| Delrin (acetal)
properties: can be turned, milled, cut using std tools
uses: structural plastic. It often outperforms nylon at a modest cost premium.
properties: epoxy or polyester plastic resin reinforced with glass fiber mats.
uses: boats, cars, building materials, insulation, printed circuit boards (FR4).
properties: stable, with very high temperature capabilities, good electrical properties.
uses: fire suits.
properties: engineering thermoplastic, easy to machine, highly stable, injection molds.
uses: bearing surfaces.
properties: older, brittle thermosetting plastic, brown in color,
good electrical properties, reasonable temperature performance, cracks easily.
uses: cheap circuit boards.
properties: tough, clear, replacement for acrylic.
uses: bulletproof windows.
properties: dimensionally stable, strong in thin films, temperature resistance,
uses: recording tape, laser-printed slides, decorative apps, solar screens.
properties: flexible, slippery, low cost -
uses: wide use, food bowls to adhesives, ziploc bags, construction films.
misc: linear polyethylene is improved and stronger.
UHMW - (variant of polyethylene)
proporties: high molecular weight, very slippery, extreme cut and impact resistance.
uses: "self-healing" cutting blocks.
<| Polypropylene - (variant of polyethylene)
properties: highly flexible, difficult to bond
uses: "unbreakable" hinges.
EPP - (expanded polypropylene)
properties: rigid yet flexible foam, compressible.
uses: packing material, model airplanes.
<| PVC - (polyvinyl chloride)
properties: chemical resistance, heat formable, can be welded with heat gun + PVC rod
uses: printed circuit etchers, page protectors, sewer pipe, rigid vinyl.
properties: lighter weight and less dense than PVC.
uses: sheets make good robot base material - at thickness twice that of acrylic.
properties: inexpensive, brittle, expands with heat, heat moldable.
uses: light foams, expandable beads, drinking cups.
Polystyrene - (improved form of styrene)
properties: can be made clear, good high frequency electrical properties, brittle,
low melting point.
uses: polystyrene capacitors.
properties: fluorinated hydrocarbon, extremely slippery, good chemical resistance,
uses: frying pans.
uses: paper replacement made from ground up polypropylene fibers.
properties: slick, impossibly tough mailers.
properties: durable, rubber-like, rigid to ultra flexible.
uses: low-temperature casting.
also Shoe Goo, Zap-a-dap-goo, PFM [hobby-lobby.com]
- binds to most materials inc ABS, doesn't dissolve, stays pliable, removable
- [unchecked: thick silicon, said to dissolve white foam]
<| Miscellaneous Links
Molding - casting:
3D plastic prototyping:
"The Prop Builder's Molding and Casting Handbook",
Gordon McComb of
has an in-depth article about plastic casting in the Sept 2004 issue of
© Oricom Technologies, updated Sept 2004