Glossary

ABS – Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

A thermoplastic resin used primarily for its strength, toughness and gloss properties. Engineers often spec ABS plastic for custom electronic enclosures due to its high impact resistance. ABS is a great resin for making prototypes using plastic CNC machining or low volume plastic injection molding.

PA – Nylon

A thermoplastic resin used primarily for its heat resistance, strength and electrical properties. When more strength is required nylon can be glass filled to add rigidity. Engineers often spec Nylon for automotive applications and applications requiring electrical insulation. Applications where you can see Nylon include electrical connectors, electrical enclosures and high strength frames and supports. Nylon can be CNC machined and plastic injection molded at low and high volumes.

PE – Polyethylene

A thermoplastic resin used primarily for its low cost, resistance to chemicals and rigidity. PE is made is several different forms including high density polyethylene HDPE and low density polyethylene LDPE. Engineers typically spec PE when they need a material that can resist certain chemicals or in applications to reduce cost. Applications where you typically see PE include water bottles, outdoor furniture and bearings. PE is great for prototypes and can be CNC machined or low volume Plastic injection molded.

PMMA – Acrylic

A thermoplastic resin used primarily for its transparency, strength and gloss. Brand names for PMMA include Plexiglas and Lucite. Engineers often spec PMMA plastic for applications requiring light transmit ion and strength. Application where you can see acrylic include coffee water tanks, visors and lenses. Acrylic is great for prototypes and can be CNC machined or low volume plastic injection molded.

PP – Polypropylene

A thermoplastic resin used primarily for its low cost, wide temperature range and durability. Engineers often spec PP plastic for FDA grade food containers, food grade consumer electronics and appliances. Typical applications where you can see PP in your home include tupperware, baby bottles and ketchup bottles. PP is an excellent material for making prototypes using plastic CNC machining or low volume plastic injection molding.

TPE – Thermoplastic Elastomer

A thermoelastic material primarily used for its tactile feel, sealing ability and aesthetics. Engineers typically spec TPE when they need to add a tactile feel/grip to a hard plastic part. They also specify TPE in application requiring a water or liquid tight seal. Applications where you typically see TPE include hair brush handles, cell phone cases and screw driver handles. TPE is great for making prototypes using low volume plastic injection molding.