Discover what is Plastic or polymere, a manufacturing material, and its usage in the industry.
Plastic is a material consisting of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable and, therefore, can be molded into solid objects. Plasticity is the general property of all materials that involves permanent deformation without breaking. Polymers’ name is derived from their elastic and plastic properties.
Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass, but they often contain other substances. They are usually synthetic and most commonly derived from petrochemicals. However, today’s focus on the environment has led to a growing number of plastics derived from renewable materials such as polylactic acid from corn or cellulosics from cotton linters.
Plastics have been adopted in a significant and ever-expanding range of products thanks to their relatively low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, and imperviousness to water. Plastics are everywhere in products as simple as paperclips or as complex as planes.
A significant source of diverse plastic material is available across a widespread manufacturing spectrum. One of the latest and exciting manufacturing domains is in 3D Printing. New applications for 3D Printing emerge almost daily, and a diverse array of plastic objects have already been produced using the 3D Printing process. The usages of these objects are mainly in prototyping labs, toys, mechanical gearboxes, medical prosthetics, and many more.
Material Engineers generally classify plastics by the chemical structure of the polymer’s backbone and side chains; some important groups in these classifications include:
For clarity purposes, we focus in this documentation on a set of representative polymers, also known as commodity plastics, standard plastics, or engineering plastics.
Besides the generic thermoplastic materials, the 3D printing industry has adopted some plastics for their technical properties.
The different plastics for use in 3D Printing include prototyping plastic, rigid opaque plastic, rubber-like plastic, and transparent plastic. Each of those plastics has its own specific characteristics and applications.
Prototyping plastic uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers to produce prototypes. It is an ideal material for designers and engineers to cost-effectively produce and test a design and get products to market faster. Its key characteristics are rapid turnaround time, economically priced, and form and fit prototyping. Its limitations include a tolerance of +/- 1-mm, overhangs that require support and affect surface finish, visible print layers, and anisotropy (weak in the Z direction). Prototyping plastic is most suitable for fit or form checks but also for functional parts such as enclosures and custom piping.
The different resins for use in 3D Printing include High-detail Resin, Mammoth Resin, Transparent Resin, Gray Resin, and Standard Resin. Each of these resins has its own specific characteristics and applications.
Get multiple quotes for your parts in seconds