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Guide to Plastic Materials

Afaridan Plastics uses a variety of high quality materials for our 3D printing and plastic manufacturing services. Below we discuss plastic properties such as strength, UV stability and appearance. For more details, click on the name of the plastic.

Plastics for Injection Moulding & Extrusion

Commodity Plastics

Commodity plastics are the most common types of plastic that can usually be found in household items. They are economical and suitable for many different purposes.

ABS is a strong, rigid plastic used in LEGO toys, safety helmets and seatbelt components. Unmodified ABS has very poor UV resistance.

Acrylic is naturally colourless, rigid and is a great replacement for glass. Acrylic is commonly used in signs and displays.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a strong, tough plastic used in construction and has a moderate UV resistance. 

PET is clear and tough. This makes it ideal for plastic bottles and other types of containers.

PETG is slightly stronger than PET and is also used in similar applications. 

Polystyrene (PS) is a rigid, colourless and brittle plastic that is commonly used in disposable items such as pens and plastic cutlery.

High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) is a cheap and rigid plastic. Compared to polystyrene, it has a higher impact resistance so it is less likely to break.

Polypropylene (PP) is a tough and flexible material commonly used in sauce lids, shampoo lids or any other part with living hinge.

Low density polyethylene is a cheap, flexible material that is used in many applications from pen lids to plastic bags.

High density polyethylene (HDPE) is another common plastic that is used in milk cartons, juice cartons and piping.

Engineering Plastics

Engineering plastics tend to be stronger, tougher and better suited for industrial applications than commodity plastics.

Polycarbonate (PC) is one of the toughest plastics available. It is colourless and is commonly used in safety equipment such as machinery guards.

Acetal is commonly used in moving, precision parts. It is also an easily machinable plastic.

SAN is a transparent plastic that is commonly used to make reusable plastic tumblers. It looks similar to PC but is less resistant to impacts.

PBT is a tough and strong plastic. It is similar to Nylon but can be used in a higher range of temperatures. It is also commonly used as an electrical insulator.

Nylon is a cheap and very strong plastic that can be used in many applications. However, it is very sensitive to moisture.

Thermoplastic polyurethane is another tough and slightly rubbery material. It is the primary material in protective phone cases.

Nylon 6,6 is stronger than Nylon 6 but also suffers in wet environments.

Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) is known for its chemical resistance and electrical properties making it quite common in the electrical, chemical and medical industries.

High Performance Plastics

High performance plastics are sought after as they can vastly outperform other plastics in certain aspects.

Polysulfone (PSU) is known for its exceptional heat resistance, chemical resistance and moisture resistance, even to steam.

PPS can handle higher temperatures, is stronger and more resistant to impacts than PSU. 

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is very strong and has great chemical resistance and electrical properties.

Polyetherimide (PEI) is a high strength, heat resistant and chemical resistant plastic with great electrical properties.

Polyphenylene Sulfide (PPS) is extremely resistant to organic solvents and is also heat and flame resistant.

Thermal polyimide is a very strong and durable plastic known for its heat and fire resistance. It is also resistant to many organic solvents.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is famous for its low coefficient of friction and its chemical resistance.

Plastics for 3D Printing

3D printed ABS is quite strong and heat resistant when compared to other printed plastics.

Polylactic acid is a very common biodegradable plastic used in 3D printing that is suitable for rapid prototyping. We heavily recommend PLA for rapid prototyping due to its properties.

3D printed PETG is similar to ABS in that is is stiff, lightweight and strong. 

Want to know what plastics are safe for 3D printing? Check out our food safe 3D printing guide.

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