CNC turning can effectively machine a wide variety of plastic materials. The most popular plastics used for turned parts and components include:
Acrylic provides optical clarity, easy machinability, and good strength and stiffness. Some applications of acrylic CNC turning include:
- Lenses - Acrylic can be polished to optical quality finishes for custom-shaped lenses in medical devices, lasers, microscopes, and other optical instruments.
- Lighting Covers - Turned acrylic makes excellent lighting globes and covers to withstand weather and provide glare-free illumination.
- Display Cases - Clear, seamless acrylic covers and cases protect retail products, memorabilia, models, or displays while allowing easy viewing.
- Signage - Dimensionally stable cast or extruded acrylic sheets are CNC routed and then precision turned to shape the edges of signs, displays, and letters.
ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)
ABS is widely used for injection-molded consumer products and has good machinability. Turning applications include:
- Auto Trim - CNC-turned ABS plastic is used for custom trim pieces, knobs, and interior parts in luxury and classic automobiles.
- Appliance Casings - ABS housings turned on CNC lathes provide smooth exteriors for appliances that can be easily molded or painted in various colors.
- Consumer Products - Toys, personal electronics, kitchenware, and more products leverage durable, smoothly turned ABS.
- Prototyping - ABS allows functional prototypes of plastic components to be quickly turned before high-volume production.
POM offers high strength, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability. Common turned POM parts include:
- Gears - CNC turning makes smooth meshing POM gears with precision bore diameters possible.
- Rollers - Tight tolerance POM rollers for conveying systems and 3D printers can operate smoothly and quietly.
- Fasteners - Turned POM nuts, bolts, and fasteners withstand vibration and torque in demanding applications.
- Bushings and Spacers - Rotation of POM bushings and spacers against mating components generates minimal wear and friction.
With its self-lubricating properties, nylon excels at turned bearing and wear components:
- Bearings and Bushings - Nylon bushings, sleeves, and bearings provide smooth rotational operation under high loads.
- Sheaves and Pulleys - Nylon sheaves turned on a CNC lathe offer lightweight alternatives to metal pulleys.
- Gears - Nylon machines well for precision gear profiles that operate quietly under various environments.
- Insulators - Turned nylon spacers and standoffs provide electrical insulation and noise damping in equipment.
PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone)
PEEK's robust temperature resistance suits it for challenging environments:
- Aerospace - Thrust bearings, valve seats, and other components replace metals with turned PEEK's strength at extreme temps.
- Medical - Implants, medication delivery parts, and lab equipment withstand repeated sterilization when CNC is turned from PEEK.
- Pumps - Tight tolerances allow dynamic sealing with turned PEEK bushings and diaphragms in high-pressure pumps.
- Fasteners - PEEK nuts and bolts maintain clamping force in highly cyclical applications.
The non-stick properties of PTFE make it ideal for fluid and material handling:
- Seals - Low friction PTFE seats and seals prevent leaks in valves and fluid power cylinders when precisely CNC is turned.
- Bushings - PTFE bushings and sleeves provide smooth, maintenance-free operation in hydraulic actuators.
- Ball Valves - Turned PTFE valve seats enable reliable shutoff while preventing material buildup in ball valves.
- Chemical Lines - Corrosion-resistant PTFE is machined into fittings and fluid lines for chemical transport applications.
By selecting suitable plastic material, engineers can produce CNC-turned components that leverage the benefits of polymers for their specific application and environment. The wide range now in use confirms plastics' versatility for precision turning. Feel free to contact us and get CNC turning parts price.