Polycarbonate Machining Guide

What is polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate is a polymer that was developed quite some time ago, it is a transparent, strong, and stiff thermoplastic material with outstanding impact resistance. Toughness and optical clarity make polycarbonate popular for a wide variety of applications.

It is available in machined grades and in compounds that provide enhanced load bearing and wear resistance. Polycarbonate has good machinability, allowing close tolerances without great difficulty. To manufacture polycarbonate products, the best ways is polycarbonate machining. In this article, you will know different methods of polycarbonate machining.

Typical Properties of Polycarbonate

Density1.19 kg/m³
Elongation at Break110%
Tensile Strength8,000 PSI
Maximum Temp180° F

Comparison of Polycarbonate and Other Materials

Polycarbonate machining methods

Polycarbonate material has different forms for machining. for some machining processes use polycarbonate sheets, polycarbonate rods, polycarbonate tubes. For some machining process use particle materials.  

Bending Polycarbonate Sheet

Polycarbonate Plastic bending is a type of thermal (heat) reshaping process. using Professional heating equipment to heat the Polycarbonate sheet and then use the bending machine to press it into a fixed Angle. This process has cold plastic bending and hot plastic bending method.

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Cutting Polycarbonate Sheet

Cutting Polycarbonate sheets to size is commonly used to obtain the proper size of your sheet after purchasing a large size from sheet manufacturer. normally Sawing is the best way to cut plastic sheets without breaking. In terms of cost-effectiveness and efficiency. Polycarbonate could be cut using multi-axis CNC saws or manual circular saw or band saw blades. 

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Drilling Polycarbonate Sheet

Drilling polycarbonate sheet is a process that make holes in polycarbonate parts by Using drilling tools (such as twist drill, reamer, etc.) on the drilling machine. mainly used for drilling, reaming, tapping thread.

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Thermoforming Polycarbonate Sheet

polycarbonate Thermoforming is a forming method that Heat the polycarbonate sheet to be soft, use gas pressure, liquid pressure or mechanical pressure and appropriate mold or fixture to make it into products as needed.  

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CNC Machining Polycarbonate Sheet

CNC machining polycarbonate sheet is relatively popular. The material’s exceptional impact resistance makes it ideal for structural components. CNC machining could get a complex structure of polycarbonate part. Polycarbonate could easily CNC formed without cracking or breaking.

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Injection molding polycarbonate

The principle of Injection molding polycarbonate is to add granular or powdery polycarbonate raw materials to the hopper of the injection machine, the raw materials are heated and melted into the flow state, driven by the screw or piston of the injection machine, through the nozzle and the casting system of the mold into the mold cavity, and cooling and forming in the mold cavity. The Factors affecting the quality of injection molding are injection pressure, injection time, injection temperature.

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Extrusion Polycarbonate

Extrusion polycarbonate is a plastic forming process Through a plastic extrusion machine, the plastic particle raw material is heated, pressurized, goes through a certain shape of molding, then forms into a certain section shape after cooling, stretching, rolling and plastic cutting. This machining process is used for manufacturing polycarbonate sheets, polycarbonate tubes, polycarbonate rods.

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Polycarbonate Part Finishing

Polishing Polycarbonate

Polishing polycarbonate Is To make it possible for light to pass through polycarbonate easily, especially in applications which require ideal lighting. To attain a shiny polished look as well as water clear finish suitable for respective applications.

Laser Engraving on Polycarbonate

Laser engraving is a process by which a beam of focused light interacts with the surface material to vaporize or remove a layer of the surface material leaving a cavity in the surface that is generally visible to the eye and noticeable to the touch. The amount of material removed and the depth of the cavity can be controlled by a skilled engineer to produce quality engravings in any material type.

Printing on Polycarbonate

Printing on Polycarbonate is to transfer text, pictures, photos, anti-counterfeiting and other original manuscripts to the Polycarbonate product surface through the process of plate making, inking, pressure and other processes.

Painting on Polycarbonate

Painting is the same as the coating method in which uniform and fine droplets are dispersed by means of a spray gun or a dish atomizer with the help of pressure or centrifugal force and applied to the surface of the coating.

Polycarbonate machined part application

There is actually a number of different ways to manufacture polycarbonate parts, they are used to manufacture a lot of mass-produced Polycarbonate parts and for optical prototyping. Typically, polycarbonate is issued in a transparent form, however, it is possible to tint it up to opaque. If add the corrosion, scratch and shock resistance, polycarbonate can be used in more applications

  • Car lighting lenes
  • Boxings 
  • Plane windows
  • Displays
  • Special types of lenses
  • Skylights
  • Safety helmets 
  • Electric circuits
  • Specialized insulation materials
  • Greenhouse

In summary

As a Polycarbonate sheet manufacturer and polycarbonate fabrication manufacturer, KUSLA provides a full polycarbonate machining service as your application needs. Choosing the right machining method for polycarbonate parts is a key step for your projects. Contact us to help you make the right choice to save your cost.