When you machine metals in Minneapolis, you know what to expect. Some kinds of aluminum are difficult to work with, and you need to use tungsten carbide inserts for best results. Also, some metals need plenty of lubricants. However, plastics can change shape and size and sometimes warp when not properly machined and it takes special care, knowledge, and equipment when machining plastic parts. Here are some of the things that can go wrong when you work with plastics.

Heat Expansion

When you machine metals you can expect a little expansion due to heat. However, with plastics, expansion is sometimes five times greater than metals, and this can create major problems, especially when you try to do precision work. Why is this important? Let’s look at an example:

You are machining plastic parts in Minneapolis and sending them to a customer in Southern Florida. When the part leaves Minnesota, it could measure in spec. However, when it gets to Florida (where the temperature is hotter), your part increases in size and is completely out of spec.

Chemical Reactions

When it comes to machining plastic parts, your Minneapolis business can suffer if the parts fail at a later date. Plastics can react differently to some chemicals, depending on the ambient temperature. This is especially true with materials like acrylic. Something as simple as common window cleaner can cause cracks in finished material over time, and this can make it look like you produced an inferior product.

Moisture

Some nylon type plastics can absorb moisture. Just working in a humid environment can cause problems. Work like this calls for a climate-controlled work environment.

Solving Plastic Problems

It’s important to have experienced machinists with the right equipment. Top machinists know how to choose the right plastic materials for the job. However, the most cost-effective strategy involves hiring a shop offering dependable plastic machining services.

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