Plastic Fabrication

Plastics Guide a how to

The first man made plastic was invented in 1862 by Alexander Parkes named Parkensine it was a cellulose based Plastic.

Bakelite was the first fully synthetic made plastic which was manufatured in 1907 by Leo Baekeland a chemist in New York. It was a resin called Bakelite. The earliest plastic.


A term often used to describe a hard, dense, laminated plastic material made by applying heat and pressure to layers of paper, glass cloth or cotton fabrics impregnated with various synthetic resins. These materials have good mechanical strength and dimensional stability with excellent dielectric properites. Used in a variety of areas such as in electrical terminal boxes, aircraft cable pulleys, bearings, gears and transformers, etc.

AVALABLE IN: Sheet from 0.8mm – 100mm thick. Rod & tube from 4mm .

Since then many other Plastics have been invented or discovered. In general these are:


The most common engineering thermoplastic in use today. Manufactured for engineering in several grades, mainly Type 6 and 66. Most common throughout is Type 6 which has an excellent combination of toughness, mechanical strength and impact resistance. Glass filled, black MOS2, graphite and special lubricated grades are also available. Used for technical parts, bushes, bearings, gears, wear pads, rollers, pulleys, etc.

AVAILABLE IN: Sheet from 0.5mm – 100mm thick in varying sizes. Rod from 5mm – 500m. Tubes are normally cast to order.


Non-corrosive, chemical and oil resistant. PVC has excellent electrical insulating properties and is self extinguishing. Used for electrical parts, laboratory equipment, photographic and chemical tanks, fume cupboards, etc. Easy to cut, shape, weld and fabricate. Maximum temperature for use 60°C.

AVAILABLE IN: Sheet from 1.5mm – 70mm thick. Rod from 6 – 200mm.


HDPE: High Density Polyethlenes are resistant to a wide range of chemicals. They have excellent insulation properties, practically no moisture absorption and maintain their properties even at low temperatures. HDPE is ideal for cutting boards in food processing areas. The most common grades used in engineering are UHMWPE and HMWPE.

UHMWPE: Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene has the highest impact strength and best abrasion resistance of any thermoplastic today. Self lubrication, ideal for wear strips, etc. Used widely in the food and packaging industries for guide rails, rollers, scraper blades, star wheels, feed worms, chute linings, etc.

HMWPE: High Molecular Weight Polyethylene provides a good compromise in price and properties for general engineering use. Used in many similar applications to UHMWPE, but where abrasion resistance is not critical.

AVAILABLE IN: A variety of sheet from 1.0mm – 100mm thick in natural, black & green. Rod from 10 -250mm .


Virtually unbreakable.

The toughest glazing material known today, polycarbonate has an impact strength 250 times greater than glass of equal thickness. Used primarily for all kinds of safety, vandal resistant and theft deterrent glazing. Some common uses include machine guards, window shields for cranes and forklifts, safety visors, riot shields, etc. Used for glazing in schools, bus shelters, factories and buildings, sports complexes, etc.

AVAILABLE IN: Sheet from 1mm up to 12mm thick. Rod & Tube also available.


Commonly known as Perspex®, Acrylic is an ideal replacement for glass in many areas. It is widely used for signs, lighting, safety glazing, machine guards, instrument covers, display units, windows for aircraft, boats and caravans, cab glazing for tractors and other machinery. Acrylic has outstanding weathering capability with exceptional clarity. Less than half the weight of glass, yet up to 15 times more resistant to breakage.

AVAILABLE IN: Sheet from 1.5mm to 50mm thick in a range of sizes and colours. Opal acrylic available for signs and light boxes, Prismatic for light covers and skylights. Clear rod up to 150mm . Tube form 6mm OD to 500 mm OD.


Offering superb properties.

Commonly known as TEFLON®. PTFE has the best chemical resistance of any plastic. Very high heat resistance, extremely good electrical properties combined with a very low coefficient of friction make it a unique material. Used for bearing pads, gaskets, packing rings, insulators and many chemical plant components. Also produced with glass, carbon or bronze fillers to improve mechanical properties.

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