Prototyping is essential for part testing prior to production. We work with our customers to determine what types of functionality and the deliverables they need. We then produce parts that are derived from one of our three processes: 3D Printing, CNC Machining, and Injection Molding.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is a subtractive manufacturing process wherein pre-programmed computer software employs factory machinery to remove layers of materials from a workpiece, producing a custom design part. Subtractive manufacturing is a process where blocks of materials are cut, drilled, grounded, and so on—materials are “subtracted” or removed to create a new product.
Essentially, CNC machining is contrary to traditional devices that are manually controlled by levers or wheels. Instead, today’s modern factory machines are highly automated and use a machining language for CNC machining projects called G-code, which indicates the precise measurements for production such as feed rate, dimension, coordination, and location.
This process is suitable for low-volume CNC machining projects and begins with a 2D or 3D computer-aided design (CAD). Then, the computer-aided designs are rendered into manufacturing directives by computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software.
A CNC machining can achieve radii as small as r0.05 mm and tolerances as tight as 0.0005, more or less. The more rigid a plastic, the better it is to be machined. Select plastic materials suitable for CNC machining projects:
Injection molding is a process where an injection molding machine injects raw, molten plastic into a mold and then cools them to solidify. The process of injection molding is suitable for low-volume manufacturing with engineer-grade resins.
Select plastic materials suitable for injection molding:
There are varying methods for 3D printing. These include Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), and PolyJet.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a process where a melt extrusion method is used to deposit filaments of thermoplastics according to a precise CAD pattern. The layout for FDM comprises a printhead that moves along directions over a build platform.
FDM 3D printing is suitable for high-performance end-use parts, fixtures, direct digital manufacturing (DDM), and real thermoplastics.
Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) is a 3D printing process where a continuous filament of plastic is fed through a hot-end extruder head that deposits to form layers of plastic. The head typically moves in two dimensions, creating one layer and then adjusting vertically to begin a new one.
FFF 3D printing offers a fast printing time compared to others.
PolyJet is an industrial 3D printing method that builds multi-material prototypes with flexible and complex features—even with intricate geometrical designs or varying durometers (hardness).
PolyJet 3D printing is suitable to form, fit, and function.
With 3D printing, you achieve radii as small as r0.03 mm and tolerances as tight as 0.0015, more or less.
Select plastic materials used for 3D printing:
Prototyping is necessary to assess and ensure a product is ready for full-scale production. At All-Plastics, we realize every brilliant concept by producing precise prototypes for large markets and niche industries.
|Best Use||Materials||Minimum Feature size||Minimum Clearance||Typical Tolerances|
(Fused Deposition Modeling)
|High performance end-use parts; manufacturing fixtures; direct digital manufacturing (DDM); real thermoplastics; thick walled or bulky designs; color prototypes||ABS, ABSi, ABS-ESD7, Nylon12, PC-ISO, ULTEM (in a range of colors)||0.040 in (1.0 mm)||0.030 in (0.76 mm)||+/- 0.005”
|Poly Jet||Form, fit and function testing; validating conceptual designs prior to injection molding; creating detailed prototypes and models||Poly Jet Rubber (TagoBlack); PolyJet White (VeroWhitePlus); PolyJet Clear (VeroClear); PolyJet Blue (VeroBlue); PolyJet Black (VeroBlackPlus); PolyJet Polypropylene-like (Durus)||0.030 in (0.76 mm)||0.020 in (0.51 mm)||+/- 0.005”
(Fused Filament Fabrication)
|Low-cost early stage prototyping; vibrant color prototyping; visual models and marketing samples||PLA; PLA Wood- Like; PLA Flex (in a range of colors)||0.040 in (1.0 mm)||0.0197 in (0.5 mm)||+/- 0.010”
|Best Use||Materials||Part size||Typical Tolerances||Finish|
|Low volume manufacturing; fully functional parts for testing||EPTFE, Peek, Delrin, UHMW, Nylon, Phenolic materials, Vespel, Acrylic||0.05” to
|+/- 0.0005||Variety of surface finishes available|
|Best Use||Materials||Part size||Typical Tolerances|
|Low volume manufacturing with engineer grade resins; fully functional parts for testing||ABS, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PC, NYLON, TPE, HIPS, PET, PVC||0.05” to 26” diameter||+/- 0.0005|