Custom Plastic Fabrication Services

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Plastic can undergo various manufacturing methods, with plastic fabrication being one of the most cost-effective options. Plastic fabrication encompasses processes like machining, precision cutting, bonding, welding, and thermoforming. Modo Rapid provides custom plastic fabrication services, ensuring success for your projects while upholding the utmost quality standards.

Methods and Equipment for Plastic Fabrication

Derived from 19 years of manufacturing experience, Modo Rapid offers insights into plastic fabrication, a process involving shaping, forming, or bonding plastic sheets, tubes, rods, or bars. Unlike melt processing techniques like injection molding, plastic fabrication starts with consultation to define specific part requirements. The initial conceptual design is scrutinized for adherence to DFM (Design for Manufacturing) guidelines. Understanding operating conditions such as temperature, chemical exposure, and load cases is crucial for selecting the most suitable plastic type. Once finalized, fabrication drawings are generated.

Modo Rapid offers a range of fabrication techniques and tools tailored to your design needs, including machining, precision cutting, bonding, welding, and thermoforming.

Various fabrication techniques and tools are available depending on the design requirements:

  1. CNC Machining: Fast and efficient, CNC machining ensures precision cuts without excessive tool wear, especially for plastics with carbon or glass particles.
  2. Bending: Most plastics can be bent, with some requiring heating for easier manipulation, particularly brittle ones like acrylic.
  3. Welding: Plastic welding utilizes specialized extrusion welding tools, generating hot air to melt and fuse plastic components together. Techniques like ultrasonic welding are also employed for seamless bonding.
  4. Routing: Plastic can be routed similarly to wood, creating chamfers, rounds, or pockets. Sharp tools are crucial to prevent melting due to high-speed rotary action.
  5. Sawing: Various sawing tools such as jigsaws, circular saws, band saws, and table saws equipped with purpose-made cutting blades are used for precision cutting.
  6. Custom Urethane and Silicone Casting: Plastic sheets are vacuum-formed over molds by heating and draping them over a form, followed by applying vacuum pressure to conform the plastic to the shape.
  7. Drilling: Plastics are easily drilled, but sharp drill bits and slow speeds are essential to prevent melting and ensure clean holes.
  8. Injection Molding: Injection molding manufactures custom plastic products by injecting molten plastic material into a mold cavity, where it solidifies and takes the desired shape.

Before releasing the component, rigorous quality inspections are conducted to ensure adherence to stringent standards, including material checks, dimensional checks, and visual inspections.

Advantages of Plastic Fabrication

  1. Versatility: Plastic fabrication offers versatility in design and production, allowing for the creation of complex shapes and structures to meet diverse application needs.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to other manufacturing methods, plastic fabrication can often be more cost-effective, especially for low to medium volume production runs.
  3. Customization: Plastic fabrication enables customization of parts to specific requirements, including size, shape, color, and material properties, ensuring precise fit and functionality.
  4. Material Selection: With a wide range of plastic materials available, plastic fabrication allows for the selection of materials with desired characteristics such as strength, flexibility, heat resistance, and chemical resistance.
  5. Rapid Prototyping: Plastic fabrication facilitates rapid prototyping, enabling quick iteration and testing of designs before full-scale production, reducing time to market and development costs.
  6. Durability: Plastic fabricated parts can be engineered to be durable and resistant to wear, corrosion, and environmental factors, prolonging the lifespan of products.
  7. Sustainability: Plastic fabrication processes can be optimized to reduce material waste and energy consumption, contributing to environmental sustainability efforts.

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CNC Milling of PEEK

Disadvantages of Plastic Fabrication

  1. Environmental Impact: Some plastic fabrication processes and materials can have a significant environmental impact due to the use of non-renewable resources and generation of waste.
  2. Limited Material Properties: While there is a wide range of plastic materials available, they may have limitations in terms of strength, temperature resistance, and chemical resistance compared to other materials like metals.
  3. Machining Challenges: Certain plastics can be challenging to machine due to their tendency to melt or chip, requiring specialized tools and techniques.
  4. Surface Finish: Achieving a desired surface finish on plastic parts may be more challenging compared to other materials, requiring additional finishing processes.
  5. Dimensional Stability: Some plastics may have poor dimensional stability, leading to warping or distortion during fabrication processes or over time.
  6. Flammability: Certain plastic materials may be highly flammable, posing safety risks in certain applications or environments.
  7. Longevity: Plastic parts may have a shorter lifespan compared to parts made from other materials, especially in applications where they are subjected to high stress or wear.

Applications of Plastic Fabrication

  1. Protective Casings: Plastics are commonly utilized to fabricate enclosures for electronic devices, machinery, and consumer products, providing durability and impact resistance.
  2. Display Solutions: Plastics are employed in creating versatile display units and signage, offering transparency, flexibility, and lightweight properties.
  3. Mechanical Parts: Plastic fabrication serves to produce intricate components for machinery, automotive parts, and household appliances, offering design flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
  4. Rapid Prototyping: Plastic fabrication techniques enable the rapid production of prototypes for product development and testing, facilitating efficient iteration and validation processes.
  5. Packaging Solutions: Plastics are integral to packaging applications, providing lightweight, durable, and customizable solutions for protecting and showcasing products.
  6. Chemical Containers: Plastic fabrication is used to manufacture tanks and containers for storing and transporting various chemicals, leveraging the material’s corrosion resistance and inert properties.

High-Tolerance Aerospace Machining

PEEK Part Design and Machining

Applications of Plastic Fabrication Across Industries

  1. Electronics: Plastic fabrication is essential for producing casings, components, and housings for electronic devices and equipment.
  2. Automotive: Plastic fabrication is integral to manufacturing interior and exterior components, trim, and panels for vehicles.
  3. Healthcare: Plastic fabrication plays a crucial role in producing medical devices, equipment, and components used in healthcare settings.
  4. Consumer Goods: Plastic fabrication is utilized in creating a wide range of consumer products, including household items, toys, and appliances.
  5. Aerospace: Plastic fabrication contributes to the production of lightweight and durable components for aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites.
  6. Process Engineering: Plastic fabrication is applied in the construction of tanks, piping, and equipment for chemical processing, water treatment, and other industrial applications.

Options Besides Plastic Fabrication

If plastic fabrication doesn’t align with your needs, consider these three alternatives:

  • Metalworking
  • Woodworking
  • Composite Materials

Metal Fabrication: For applications demanding temperature resistance and structural strength, metal fabrication offers durability, making it suitable for heavy-duty equipment.

Woodworking: Wood fabrication, especially with materials like MDF or chipboard, provides lightweight and cost-effective solutions, ideal for prototyping. However, it lacks thermal and chemical resistance.

Composite Materials: Composites offer a blend of lightweight construction and strength, making them a viable alternative to both metal and plastic fabrication. Utilizing laminated sheets of glass or carbon fiber, composites are favored in aerospace applications for their ability to form complex shapes.

steel matrial