Posts Tagged ‘redco’

Why You Should Be Using More Acetal

Posted: April 30, 2018 in Acetal
Tags: , , ,

Let’s start with a question: Do you know what acetal plastic is? If you don’t, and you’re a member of the DIY community interested in using plastics you’re probably missing out on this readily available plastic with excellent properties. Acetal shot to fame in the 1990s in the paintball gun (called “marker”) aftermarket modification community. Acetal offers a plastic with the closest properties to metal: when you hold an acetal part it *feels* different than most plastics. Admittedly, most plastics feel and look the same…Soft and waxy. However, acetal is heavy and dense, it has a weight to it that makes it feel more like metal and that is where this material really shines: replacing metal.

In paintball markers acetal was a no-brainer. Like metals, and better than all other plastics, acetal is beautiful to machine and excels in replacing metals for small, precision parts. As a plastic, it does not suffer the same corrosion issues metals do and yet is still lighter. This allowed the markers to shoot better and faster. Outside of paintball, acetal works great as a bushing replacing nylon. It handles the same PSI in application (4000) but does not suffer the moisture absorption issues nylon does. As such, acetal is often used as a direct replacement for cast nylon in “wet” applications.

Acetal comes in two forms, the homopolymer (white) and copolymer (black). There used to be quality issues with the white but those have been remedied. Though the materials have some small differences, they probably would not affect any DIY application, so pick whichever is more available from your local distributor. Besides being available in rod acetal is also available in plate with 24″ x 48″ plate being the most common. For more information on Redco acetal please click here.


When someone in the “DIY” community wants to machine their own bushings for a project nylon is usually chosen as the material. This is because nylon is well-known and people trust it as a bearing material. But nylon isn’t optimal for all applications and sometimes can have serious drawbacks. It has poor impact properties, cannot handle extreme cold (where it gets even more brittle), and swells in water. This means that nylon is a poor choice for aquatic environments.

Polyurethane is a better choice particularly Redco 750 XL. This product is a black, lubrication-impregnated, bearing-grade polyurethane. Were you aware polyurethane came in bearing grades? Most people only think of it as a foam or a soft analogous product similar to rubber. In fact, polyurethane preforms very well as a bearing and requires little maintenance or lubrication. In most other respects the bearing is similar to nylon, though it can only handle 2500 PSI (compared to nylon’s 4000 PSI rating). Still, for most DIY applications that level of load should be fine.

Bearing grade polyurethane is available in standard 18″ lengths and in diameters from 2″-6″. This does preclude it from being used in smaller bushings, where extruded nylon 6/6 or acetal may be necessary.

Are you a “DIYer” who makes plastic bearings at home or perhaps looking into doing some? Not sure how to calculate a press fit or a running clearance for your bearings? Fortunately there is a useful tool available from Redwood Plastics available  on their website: the machinist chart for plastic bearings found here.

This chart provides valuable information for bearing manufacturing using Redco 750 or Redco nylon bearing materials. While many in the DIY crowd like to use UHMW polyethylene for everything, including bearings, this is not a good bearing material and has large and variable tolerances. The bearing chart is not intended to be used for UHMW bearings. Acetal is similar to nylon and therefore nylon’s values can be substituted directly.

UHMW polyethylene has countless applications for the DIY community but as we head into winter there is one simple application that we have to highlight on this blog. That is the UHMW plow blade for snow plows. Let’s not over-complicate things: this is just a UHMW strip with some holes drilled in. But in order to get what you need, you need to know what to ask for! First of all know that the material you likely want is the reprocessed-black UHMW grade. While being less expensive than the natural grade, the cross-linking in its production actually improves wear properties. A nice bonus when you’re also saving some money.

You also need to know what thickness of blade you want. In general, the blades are almost always 1″, 1.5″ or 2″ thick with 1.5″ being the most common. If you don’t know what you need, pick 1.5″. Many plastic companies will pre-drill holes for you if you need them for a fee (usually about $80.00) but we would recommend you do not. Firstly to save money, secondly you need to remember that UHMW is not a dimensionally stable plastic. Changes in temperature may expand the blade from when the holes were drilled meaning by the time you get it – the holes don’t line up! To avoid disappointment we recommend you do the drilling if at all possible.

If you have questions about UHMW snow plow blades please contact us.



Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) Mini-Mesh is a completely underused product for the DIY community. The product is a grey fiberglass mesh with small (3/4″ x 3/4″) openings and comes in standard sheet sizes of 4′ x 12′ and 4′ x 10′. The Mini-Mesh replaces metal and wood in flooring applications and offers significant advantages over both materials. FRP Mini-Mesh will not rust, will not corrode, will not suffer termite attack, will not absorb water, and can withstand UV exposure from the sun. It is virtually maintenance free requiring only cleaning as you deem necessary. The small size of the openings in the grating is designed to prevent objects such as keys from falling through below.

This makes the product excel as a deck or a dock. FRP Mini-Mesh is lightweight and easy to install – the easiest way is to build a frame out of metal angle and anchor the FRP sheet in. Specialized hardware called “M-clips” are available for a few dollars apiece to anchor the Mini-Mesh into the frame but if the frame is measured properly this anchorage is often not needed. The Mini-Mesh will supply a long-lasting, weather resistant, near-zero maintenance deck or dock.

The design parameter you most need to be concerned with is span. FRP is very strong; however, it is also more flexible than metal or wood. This means that as the span gets wider the FRP will store energy when you walk on it (flex down) and then push back up. On large spans, this effect can destabilize the individual leading potentially to a fall. Spans between 1.5′-3′ are high recommended and load tables can be supplied.

The only potential drawback to the product is the cost involved compared to metal or wood. The FRP grating will be significantly more expensive than metal or wood alternatives (several hundred dollars per sheet before freight costs) so not everyone will have the budget. However, you “get what you pay for” and the advantages of FRP over competing materials is well worth the price premium. For questions or pricing on FRP Mini-Mesh contact us today.


We wanted to bring up something amateur plastic project enthusiasts and “Do-It-Yourselfers” often don’t consider until something goes wrong: the weathering of plastic. This was inspired by the a recent visit from a “diy’er” Jason, a hunter. Jason wanted to show us a table he built for processing his game. It was a homemade outdoor table with a white plastic surface likely natural or virgin-white HDPE or UHMW polyethylene. The surface was discolored and had numerous small cracks where Jason (rightfully) was concerned about bacteria growing in the cracks but even more so, he was curious on what caused the plastic to degrade.

The answer for Jason and the culprit with many plastics is UV (ultra violet light or sun) exposure. The chemistry would take to long to explain but suffice to say the sun has damaging effects on plastic. Many plastics become more brittle and crack while others discolor, usually by becoming yellow. If you’ve ever been to an aircraft museum and seen the yellow tinted plastic (polycarbonate) canopies on aircraft? That’s from weathering and UV-exposure. If you look, very closely, at those canopies you’ll see subtle cracks that create a type of haze obscuring vision, as in the picture below.

In most plastic applications for home machinists and project enthusiasts the UV exposure is more of an annoyance than anything. We recently had a sailboat owner frustrated with the discoloration of his polycarbonate hatches he made: the same issue with those aircraft canopies. The most important thing for your project is to figure out of there would be a safety issue caused by a part weathering. In the case of Jason the hunter the cracks on his table might harbor bacteria but since the meats would eventually be cooked (and raw meat has lots of bacteria anyways) this probably isn’t a critical issue. However, in another application – such as the increasingly common homemade roller coasters – the failure of a part, such as a wheel, could be very dangerous.

If you want UV protection there is some good news. Most plastics can be procured in UV-stabilized versions. The problem is these versions are more expensive and sometimes prohibitively more expensive if the material needs to be shipped in on a special order. In the competitive world of plastic distribution there simply isn’t margin or warehouse space to stock the UV-stabilized version of every plastic. The other thing you need to realize is that UV-stabilization in plastics isn’t permanent, it just buys you time – usually no visible degradation over 10 years – but the plastic will eventually lose its UV-stabilizing properties and degrade.

The point of this article is to get you thinking and remember to consider on your next project if weathering is a concern. And for those of you with weathered plastic in your applications? Well now you know why!

For more information, contact Redwood Plastics.


Wood, especially Orford Cedar is becoming scarce and more expensive for boat builders and marine applications. Redwood Plastics has many solutions for the marine industry including boat ribs, non-slip decking, bearings, bushings, liners and skid shoes.

Redco™ UHMW is non-corrosive, it will not rot or rust and it is easy to machine and fabricate.

  • Reduces Wear and Protects
  • Lightweight
  • NO Rust or Corrosion

Redco FRP Grating (Prismagrate) is also available. Prismagrate is a low cost, maintenance free material for docks, ramps and decks.

  • Non-slip
  • NO Rust or Corrosion
  • Easy to Install
  • Lightweight

Redco™ UHMW Skid Plate – Boat Bottom Protection
A Redco™ UHMW Skid Plate (skid shoe) is an abrasion resistant that has outlasted steel in many applications. When attached to the bottom of wooden drift boats,  Redco™ UHMW makes your boat impervious to the abrasion of river rock and gravel bars. The skid plate is simply attached to the bottom of the boat with stainless steel screws.

Redco™ UHMW Boat Ribs – Innovative Building Materials
The perfect, low cost replacement to wood. Redco™ UHMW boat ribs will not rot or rust and have outstanding durability with a high tensile strength.


Redco FRP Grating – PRISMAGRATE Docks and Walkways
PRISMAGRATE FRP GRATING provides durability with extremely high strength and stiffness.

MINI-MESH helps to prevent small tools and other objects from dropping through to the ground beneath. Lightweight MINI-MESH panels are readily removable and allow for easy access under the installation.



CLICK HERE for other Marine Applications.
CDN: 1800-667-0999
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