PC (polycarbonate) is an engineering plastic with exceptional fracture toughness. It is able to hold up to impacts while simultaneously offering optical clarity, UV resistance, and higher-than-normal temperature resistance compared to other engineering plastics.
PC, or polycarbonate, is an amorphous thermoplastic. Its amorphous nature means that it tends to first soften before melting and does not have a set melting point. Xometry machines polycarbonate in black or clear sheet and bar stock. Its clarity, shatter-resistance, and lighter weight make it an excellent replacement for glass. It also handles high temperatures better than acrylic. CNC machining in polycarbonate does not inherently yield optically transparent parts, however, so some further finishing is required.
|Application||Car headlight lenses, wheels, gaskets|
|Advantages||Moderate temperature resistance (up to 275℉ or 135℃), UV resistance, exceptional fracture toughness|
|Lead Time||Lead time is generally a minimum of 3 days. However, this can increase depending on availability or if the parts are to be internationally manufactured.|
|Tolerances||Machining tolerances of 0.010” (0.25 mm) are achievable.|
|Wall Thickness||A minimum wall thickness of 0.03” (0.8 mm) is achievable. This can vary depending on the ratio of wall thickness to planar dimension.|
|Max Part Size||The maximum size of the part is determined by the machines available and the complexity of the part.|
CNC machining in polycarbonate is relatively popular. The material’s exceptional impact resistance makes it ideal for structural components. With nearly double the impact strength of ABS, polycarbonate exhibits one of the highest impact strengths of all the common engineering plastics. It is easily formed without cracking or breaking.
|Tensile Strength, Yield (MPa)||Elongation at Break (%)||Hardness (Shore D)||Heat Deflection Temperature (°C)||Glass Transition Temperature (°C)|
Only a limited range of surface finishes work on plastics. This is especially the case when CNC machining in polycarbonate because the material tends to scratch easily. Some possible finishes are listed below:
Polycarbonate is a relatively costly plastic. Listed below are some cost-saving design tips.