Posts Tagged ‘engineering’

Part of the trick of figuring out your plastic application and finding which type of plastic to use. This is because 1.) engineering plastics are not widely known to most people and 2.) several of the plastics may work in an application. The trick is to find out which plastic is ideal in a given application, but how do you do that? Well, first you need to figure out what your priorities are either regarding properties: do you need a plastic with excellent impact-resistance? Or perhaps slickness? How about the ability to hold tight tolerances when machined?

After you pick your top couple priorities the next step is find a plastic that best matches your needs. Redwood Plastics and Rubber offers a handy webpage with some information here. However, we’ll also copy and paste the contents of that page below:

SLICKNESS (Most to Least)

Redco PTFE (Teflon®)

Redco UHMW

Redco Tuffkast

Redco Polyurethane (Redco 750SXL)

Redco Nylon

Redco Polyurethane (Redco 750)

Redco Phenolic




Redco PTFE (Teflon®) (500 – 600°F)

Redco Phenolic (400 – 500°F)

Redco Nylon (240 – 275°F)

Redco Tuffkast (220 – 240°F)

Redco Polyurethane (200 – 240°F)

Redco UHMW (160 – 180°F)




Redco Phenolic

Redco Nylon

Redco Tuffkast

Redco Polyurethane (Redco 750 & Redco 750SXL)




Breakage Resistant Windows

(Redco Acrylic/ Redco Polycarbonate)

Security Windows

(Redco Acrylic / Redco Polycarbonate)




Redco Phenolic (10000)

Redco Nylon (4000)

Redco Tuffkast (3800)

Redco Polyurethane (3000)

Redco UHMW (500 – 800)




Redco Polyurethane

Redco Tuffkast

Redco Phenolic

Redco UHMW

Redco Nylon








Redco Synsteel (Redco UHMW)

Redco SPS-2000 (Redco POLYURETHANE)




Redco Acetal

Redco UHMW



This project is not really a “how to” but is showcasing a neat little application a client of ours did (and was kind enough to supply us with pictures). Our Vancouver branch had been approached by Shaun Car, member of a UBC mechatronic (robotics) engineering group who needed to build a rover. The material had a few requirements: no moisture absorption, easy to machine and as cheap as possible. The students wanted 3 feet of 2″ diameter rod they could machine into track wheels and pulleys.

It is probably not a shock that we’re rarely approached about plastics for robot parts. So it was somewhat difficult to suggest a material. UHMW fit the needs as far as moisture resistance, price and machinability but there were concerns over its low coefficient of friction – would the UHMW be too slippery to be used as track wheels?

 Nylon was suggested as an alternative with its higher coefficient of friction. However, the students decided to go with UHMW in respect to their budget. Kudos to them as they pulled it off! For the track wheels and larger pulleys the UHMW worked fine, though at “high torque” levels the material was too slippery for the smaller pulleys but overall the material worked fine and the rover is a success.

The “moral” of this story is that engineering plastics serve a purpose solving problems big or small and can do so affordably to boot!


For help on your application big or small contact us today

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