CNC Machining PI (Polyimide)

CNC machining of Polyimide (PI) with Modo Rapid technology offers enhanced efficiency and precision in manufacturing processes. With its excellent thermal stability and mechanical strength, PI is an ideal choice for applications requiring high temperature resistance and dimensional stability. Additionally, PI’s inherent chemical resistance makes it suitable for environments where exposure to harsh chemicals is a concern. These properties, coupled with Modo Rapid’s manufacturing services, enable the creation of intricate and precise components at a rapid pace, making PI a preferred material in various industries.

PI CNC milling

Types of Polyimides

When considering the composition of their main chain, polyimides can be classified as:

  1. Aliphatic polyimides
  2. Semi-aromatic (also known as alipharomatic) polyimides
  3. Aromatic polyimides: These are the most commonly used polyimides due to their thermal stability.

When considering the type of interactions between the main chains, polyimides can be classified as:

  1. Thermoplastic: Often referred to as pseudothermoplastic.
  2. Thermosetting: Commercially available in forms such as uncured resins, polyimide solutions, stock shapes, thin sheets, laminates, and machined parts.

Properties of Polyimide (PI) Material

Polyimides are renowned for their exceptional properties, making them valuable in various applications:

  1. Thermal Stability: PI exhibits remarkable resistance to high temperatures, maintaining its integrity even at temperatures as high as 232°C (450°F) during continuous use and up to 704°C (1,299°F) for short periods.
  2. Chemical Resistance: They withstand exposure to a wide range of solvents and oils, including hydrocarbons, esters, ethers, alcohols, and freons. However, they are not recommended for use in environments containing alkalis or strong inorganic acids.
  3. Mechanical Strength: PI possesses excellent mechanical properties, with high flexural strengths of up to 340 MPa (49,000 psi) and flexural moduli of 21,000 MPa (3,000,000 psi) when compounded with graphite or glass fiber reinforcements.
  4. Color and Appearance: Typically, polyimides have a characteristic orange/yellow color, and some variants exhibit high optical clarity, such as CP1 and CORIN XLS.
  5. Flame Resistance: Polyimides are inherently resistant to flame combustion and often carry a UL rating of VTM-0. They do not usually require flame retardants.
  6. Low Creep: Thermoset polyimide matrix materials exhibit minimal creep, contributing to their durability and long-term stability.
  7. Wide Operating Temperature Range: Polyimides can withstand operating temperatures ranging from cryogenic conditions to over 260°C (500°F), making them suitable for various industrial and aerospace applications.

Polyimide machining experts


Polyimide (PI) materials find diverse applications owing to their lightweight nature, flexibility, and exceptional resistance to heat and chemicals. Here’s a breakdown of some common applications:

  1. Electronics Industry: PI is extensively used in the electronics industry for flexible cables and as insulation on magnet wire. For instance, in laptops, the cable connecting the main logic board to the display often comprises a polyimide base with copper conductors.
  2. Coating Optical Fibers: Polyimide coats optical fibers for medical or high-temperature applications, ensuring reliable performance under challenging conditions.
  3. Integrated Circuits and MEMS Chips: PI resin serves as an insulating and passivation layer in the manufacturing of integrated circuits and MEMS chips. Its mechanical elongation and tensile strength enhance adhesion between layers and provide reliable insulation.
  4. Spacecraft Insulation: Multi-layer insulation on spacecraft commonly consists of polyimide coated with thin layers of aluminum, silver, gold, or germanium. This insulation offers thermal protection and stability in space environments.
  5. Mechanical Parts: Polyimide powder is utilized to produce mechanical parts like bushings, bearings, and sockets, offering high stability even at elevated temperatures. Compounds with solid lubricants improve tribological properties.
  6. Filters: Polyimide fibers are employed in filtering hot gases in environments such as coal-fired power plants and waste incinerators, effectively separating dust and particulate matter from exhaust gases.
  7. Flexible Circuits: Polyimide serves as the core material in flexible circuit boards and flat-flex cables, enabling their use in odd-shaped electronic devices.
  8. Medical Tubing: PI is used in medical tubing, such as vascular catheters, due to its burst pressure resistance, flexibility, and chemical resistance.
  9. Semiconductor Industry: In the semiconductor industry, polyimide acts as a high-temperature adhesive and mechanical stress buffer.
  10. Water Purification: Polyimide is crucial in reverse osmosis for water purification and the concentration of dilute materials, playing a significant role in applications like maple syrup production.

polyimide CNC application
CNC routing for polyimide

Why Choose Modo Rapid for Your Custom Polyimide Parts Production?

Modo Rapid has accumulated rich experience in the CNC machining field over the past 19 years, establishing profound expertise. We deeply understand the characteristics and challenges of Polyimide (PI) materials and are adept at addressing various difficulties encountered during the machining process.

Our professional team is equipped with advanced machining equipment and processes, enabling precise control of machining temperature, selection of suitable tools, and optimization of machining parameters to ensure optimal machining results for Polyimide. Whether it’s the material’s thermal sensitivity, hardness, cutting performance, or surface quality requirements, we can provide professional solutions. With our extensive experience and specialized expertise, you can confidently entrust us with your Polyimide (PI) material CNC machining projects, ensuring high-quality and high-precision machined products.

5-axis CNC programming

Additionally, Modo Rapid collaborates closely with leading partners in various industries, including electronics, aerospace, and healthcare. Our partners include renowned companies and innovative startups across different sectors, who trust in our professional capabilities and excellent quality, establishing long-term stable partnerships with us.

Through close collaboration with these partners, we continuously enhance our technical capabilities and service levels to meet the diverse needs of customers in Polyimide (PI) material machining and collectively drive industry development and innovation.

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