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Big Blue Saw Blog

4 new kinds of plastic: polypropylene, ABS, UHMW-PE, and white acetal

We're proud to announce 4 new engineering plastics available for ordering immediately on the Big Blue online quoting and ordering system.

Here's a quick rundown of the new offerings:

  • Polypropylene: A moderately tough, durable plastic. It has the unique characteristic of not fatiguing when repeatedly bent back and forth, so it can be used to make a hinge. The edges get a little bit of melted plastic reformed on them when cut with the laser, but other than that, it cuts cleanly.
  • ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): A stiff, strong plastic with good surface hardness. It is suitable for structural applications where a plastic with good dimensional stability is needed for non-moving parts. Laser cutting will leave ABS plastic with a slightly charred edge; we can optionally remove the charring or give you guidance on how to do it yourself.
  • UHMW-PE (Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene): A plastic with outstanding impact resistance and good chemical resistance, and excellent lubricity. This material is similar to the High-Density Polyethylene used in kitchen cutting boards, where it is used because it can take a lot of abuse and still clean up easily. Its high lubricity means that it makes a good guide for roller chains or conveyor belts. When laser cut, it also leaves a slightly melted looking edge, much like polypropylene.
  • White Acetal: this is like our black acetal, but in a different color. Acetal's high strength and excellent wear characteristics make it an ideal choice when you need a plastic for things like bearings, gears, and slides.

Upload your design now or design your part with the Big Blue Saw Designer to try out these great engineering plastics.

james culpepper Friday, 10 May 2013
I need help, please. I have three 48 x 120 x 2 1/2 sheets of white, very dense plastic, curious to know what they might be. Tried a couple of simple test. A small sample softened in the oven at about 400 degrees F. And a small chunk sank in a glass of water. Does that rule out the uhmw and lean it towards an acetal or acetron. They all look the same in pictures. Are there any more simple test to differentiate the two, or three? I've tried to contact labs, but they're more for big industry jobs. Any kind of help would be muchly appreciated. Thanks, James
Big Blue Saw Administrator Tuesday, 21 May 2013
The simplest test I know of is to burn a small piece and compare the smell with the smell from known plastics.My guess based on your description would be ABS or acetal.

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