CNC machining is an essential tool for manufacturing in today’s industries. It provides precise and accurate cuts, repeatable results, and automated processes that cannot be achieved with traditional methods. Additionally, compared to manual machining, using CNC machines save time and resources by creating complex shapes that would be difficult to produce manually.

CNC machining is a highly versatile process that offers a range of benefits for mid-volume production runs, particularly when working with plastics and metals. Its ability to work with various materials — including plastics and metals — makes it a popular option for manufacturers in multiple industries.

In this article, we will look at the benefits of plastic CNC machining and the types of materials suitable for the process.

Benefits of Plastic CNC Machining

There are numerous benefits and advantages to utilizing CNC machining for plastic products. Some of the key reasons for using the process in plastic part manufacturing include the following:


While there may be methods that are cheaper initially than CNC machining, this process is ultimately the most cost-effective due to various factors. These include labor costs, delivery requirements, and the ability to produce consistent results. Consequently, even though other methods may appear more affordable initially, their additional costs can add up quickly.

Reduced Cycle Times

The technique’s precision and accuracy allow for efficient manufacturing processes, resulting in reduced lead times and faster product development. It can also help businesses meet their time-sensitive needs while maintaining high-quality standards.

Smoother Finishes

Another benefit of using CNC machines for plastic parts manufacturing is the ability to achieve smooth finishes without additional deburring or finishing touches. This eliminates the need for extra labor and equipment and reduces production costs.

Tighter Tolerances

While injection or compression molding may be ideal for high-volume orders, the tooling cost associated with these methods can be prohibitively high for smaller production runs. For such cases, CNC machining can offer a better alternative for producing components with tighter tolerances. This tolerance level is especially critical in industries where strict regulations and quality standards must be met.

Types of Materials Suitable for Plastic CNC Machining

Many manufacturing operations prefer CNC machining since it works better with various plastic types than other processes. The following are some of the most popular polymers for modern plastic machining:

Polyamide (PA)

Also known as Cast Nylon or Nylon 6, PA is a type of engineering thermoplastic material manufactured through a casting process. It has improved strength, toughness, and wear resistance compared to extruded nylon materials.

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)

PEEK is a high-performance thermoplastic that stands out for its diverse mechanical qualities. This material can withstand temperatures up to 260 °C (480 °F), liquids, wear, creep, and fatigue. It is also insoluble in all typical solvents, lightweight, and durable enough to withstand adverse climatic conditions.

Polyacetal Polyoxymethylene (POM)

POM is one of the most machinable CNC plastics and is most frequently referred to by its trade name, Delrin. It is a high-strength, high-stiffness plastic with exceptional heat, wear, weather, chemical, and fuel resistance.

Polycarbonate (PC)

Polycarbonate is well-known and frequently utilized in plastic manufacturing requirements. It has good electrical insulating qualities, is inherently heat-resistant, and is strong but lightweight. Furthermore, PC is more effective than other engineering thermoplastics.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

Teflon, also known as PTFE, is a high-performance polymer with various mechanical attributes that make it useful for product teams developing commercial products. It is resistant to chemicals, temperature, light, UV, water, weathering, and fatigue.

Polyetherimide (Ultem)

Ultem is a semi-transparent, highly durable plastic that can function in high service temperatures. It can endure numerous cycles in a steam autoclave and is resistant to hot water and steam.

Advanced Industrial for Reliable Plastic CNC Machining

Advanced Industrial is a leading plastic fabricator and distributor in North Carolina! Our team of seasoned CNC machinists fabricates custom products for various industries and project requirements.

Contact us today to experience the best CNC plastic machining service! We look forward to working with your team.

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