Plastics Machining

Fear and Insanity in the World of Plastics Machining

We have all heard the old saying: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Sometimes, we secretly can hope for things to be different. Fear can get in the way of making that hope a reality. We all know that fear can either motivate great change or cause great paralysis. Sometimes, fear can keep us taking a course of action we know deep down inside could make things better.

As it relates to machining plastics, many job shops keep machining the same material for the same application the same way just because that’s the way it’s always been done, even though the scrap rates are too high, the machine time is too long, and the material is always hard to find (this last one may not apply to one of our customers!). If you’ve grown to accept situations like these, please stop, and let some one know. Get help! The advances in technology and material science may offer a newer, faster, better way to do what you need to do with your process or application. Here at Plastics International our inventory and offering is constantly changing to reflect the changes in the market and the available technology of current material manufacturing. Sometimes what seemed impossible last year, last month, or last week is now the new standard.

Don’t be afraid of change. A little work and effort up front may make your business more successful in the long run. If you are not sure where to begin, feel free to give us a call and let us know what you are doing. We will be glad to listen and share ideas of what you might be able to do to improve your process. Our website has an entire section on how to work with some hard to machine materials. See ourĀ Material Resource Center. Plastics International can easily provide samples and resources to help you figure things out or test the ideas and concepts. The best part is, if something doesn’t make total sense or even seem remotely beneficial, you don’t have to do it. But don’t let the fear of change stick you with a material or process that you only wish could be or would be better and you do nothing about it. Looking at some of your existing business may not only help your business but may also offer your customer a better product or solution in the long term.

Plastics Materials

Options for Large Diameter Plastic Tubes

We sell numerous sizes of large diameter rods that are machined out into tube. This process is not just time consuming but also expensive. Some customers have to machine out more than 50% of the plastic they paid for in every operation. If you are strictly limited by your application as to the material you can use, then you may not have any other options. But if the application allows for material flexibility there are two great ways to make this process more cost effective.

The simple answer is to buy a tube in a wall thickness you can machine to size. One huge advantage of buying tube is the annealing process offers a better stock shape to machine from. Tube is essentially annealed on both the OD and ID. Another is the obvious savings in scrap and machine time. Tube can be hard to find. Let me first clarify that I am distinguishing tube from pipe. A pipe material that is meant to handle fluids is readily available in many standard products for the job. Tube is usually a stock shape to machine some hand of widget to complex geometry for a special purpose or made to print item. The reason tube stock shapes can be hard to find is because of the limits of manufacturing technology, volume and variety of sizes.

For low to medium volume machining where the afore mentioned material flexibility exists, consider using some basic materials like cast nylon or acetal tube. Both materials can work in a wide variety of applications and offer cost savings in machine and material scrap rates. Plastics International stocks a wide variety of both materials and can cut and ship a length out same day if you can use one of our many stock sizes. We can also custom order special wall thicknesses and outside diameters to fit you specific needs. Keep this in mind the next time you are machine a rod or disc, ask if tube is available in a material you can use for your application.