Plastic CNC machining

In plastic CNC machining (Digital Computer Control), the part is manufactured by machining in the mass of a plastic block by digital milling machines. This rapid prototyping technology is suitable for unit production in the context of functional testing.

CNC machining of plastic prototype parts is a so-called “subtractive” method because there is removal of material. A wide selection of resins allows parts to be obtained in the “right material”, thus allowing mechanical properties close to the injection-moulded part (ABS, PC, PP, PVC, POM, PMMA, PA 6/66).

This is the most efficient and economical technology for the rapid manufacturing of fewer than ten prototypes or plastic models.

Technical details of CNC plastic machining

The machines used in CNC plastic machining are milling machines with 3 axes with digital control.  They are automated and controlled by a computer that determines the path of the cutter according to the 3D file to be created. In plastic CNC machining, no moulds are needed, thus reducing the costs and startup times. The machines can design several identical copies and thus obtain the same quality for all copies of a lot, but few economies of scale are possible. The wide choice of thermoplastics and metals allows parts to be obtained with the desired physical properties.

Applications

The most distinctive aspect of this process is the fact that the parts are manufactured from the “right material”. They therefore respect the mechanical properties of the injection-moulded part (ABS, PC, PP, PVC, POM, PMMA, PA 6/66) as closely as possible. Plastic CNC machining is therefore suitable for unit production in the context of not only visual but also functional tests. In addition, we are able to offer a wide range of finishes. After machining, the parts are polished to remove any rough edges. Our workshop can paint the parts in all colours of the RAL and PANTONE ranges. Our team also provides parts machined from metals, such as aluminium or brass. Transparent parts can also be made with PMMA or PC machining. For more information on the capabilities of our workshop in plastic parts machining, please visit our pages “materials”, “finishes”, “standards” and “applications”.

Value of plastic CNC machining

CNC plastic machining can create very similar parts to series parts. It is often more efficient and faster than other rapid prototyping technologies for the manufacture of a quantity of plastic prototypes between 1 and 10 parts (low volume plastic parts production). We also recommend plastic CNC machining for parts with large sizes (greater than 600 mm).

To read more about CNC plastic machining please see related articles :

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Comments (6)

  • Arthur Reply

    Hi, I need a single piece so it seems I will require a CNC machining production but I do not have CAD files, can you still create the piece?

    29 January 2018 at 16 h 47 min
    • Prototech
      Prototech Reply

      Dear Arthur,

      Thanks for your comment,

      We are requiring a 3D file for any type of production, however we are able to create the piece if you send us a sample of the piece you want.. We can then create the file from this sample.

      30 January 2018 at 5 h 16 min
  • Taylor F Reply

    Hello
    could you please describe the first step of CNC machining? I’d rather be sure as it is for my report

    25 January 2018 at 9 h 23 min
    • Prototech
      Prototech Reply

      Dear Taylor,

      After uploading the 3D file on the machine, we place a block of material (for example ABS) under the machinery tool. Then the tool will extrude material to create the desired piece.

      26 January 2018 at 3 h 07 min
  • Romain P Reply

    Hello there, I need to get a prototype that allows validating dimensions and mechanical capacities of my product. I need a piece as close as the final product, with similar colors and finishes. Ideally we need it to make great pictures and support for marketing purposes. How do you proceed? First, one prototype for mechanical testing and a second one for visual validation by the marketing department? Please let me know, Thanks

    24 January 2018 at 14 h 46 min
    • Prototech
      Prototech Reply

      Dear Romain,
      We provide high quality prototypes that can often be used for both technical and evaluation. First we will need 3D files and your special requirements for your prototype in order to advise you. Then you will choose the technology, colour and finishing. Once everything is settled, we then produce your part and send it to you.

      25 January 2018 at 3 h 38 min