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Polycarbonate Machining

Precise Polycarbonate Machining Services

Looking for accurate polycarbonate machining services? Look no further than ETCN. Our cutting-edge CNC machining technology allows us to create complex parts and components with precision and efficiency. Our experienced operators and advanced machinery enable us to achieve tight tolerances, intricate designs, and high accuracy for a variety of applications. Ready to get started? Contact us today!

  • Get Professional-grade Polycarbonate Parts with CNC Machining

• ETCN provides high-quality polycarbonate parts through reliable CNC machining services.
• Our solutions utilize cutting-edge technologies and the expertise of their engineers.
• The precision and accuracy of their results exceed expectations.
• Competitive pricing ensures best value for money.
 experience the best in CNC machining services.

Our machined polycarbonate comes in four grades to suit your needs:Black,Clear,Translucent,20% Glass-Filled

Choose from our range of options to meet your requirements with ease.

Get Professional-grade Polycarbonate Parts with CNC Machining

Machined Polycarbonate Properties

Material GradeTensile Strength at Yield (psi)Flexural Modulus (psi)Tensile Elongation at Break (%)
20% Glass-Filled14,000480,00060


  1. Black Polycarbonate: Ideal for applications requiring a combination of strength, toughness, and aesthetics where a dark color is preferred. Common uses include automotive components, electrical housings, and machinery guards.

  2. Clear Polycarbonate: Suitable for applications requiring high transparency and excellent light transmission. This grade is often used in glazing, protective barriers, and display screens due to its exceptional clarity.

  3. Translucent Polycarbonate: Offers a balance between light transmission and strength. It is perfect for applications such as diffusers, light covers, and signage where a certain level of opacity is desired.

  4. 20% Glass-Filled Polycarbonate: Provides enhanced stiffness, dimensional stability, and increased heat resistance compared to other grades. Recommended for applications requiring higher load-bearing capacity, such as gears, bearings, and structural components.

When selecting the appropriate grade of machined polycarbonate for a specific application, consider the requirements for strength, transparency, and the operating environment. Each material grade offers unique properties that can be advantageous depending on the specific application.

Applications of Polycarbonate Machining
  • Applications of Polycarbonate Machining

• Polycarbonate is used in the production of protective equipment such as face shields, goggles, helmets, and bulletproof shields for its impact resistance and optical clarity.
• It is also popular in the electronics industry for its high temperature resistance and ability to provide electromagnetic shielding.
• Polycarbonate is used in the automotive sector for parts such as headlights, taillights, and instrument panels due to its lightweight and scratch-resistant properties.
• It is used widely in the medical industry for manufacturing medical equipment, laboratory supplies, and implantable devices due to its biocompatibility, transparency, heat resistance and chemical resistance.
• It has a wide variety of uses in construction as well; roofing sheets, cladding and skylights benefit from its strength, durability and ability to transmit light.

Custom Plastic Transparent Polycarbonate Parts Display

Machining Polycarbonate: Everything You Need to Know

Discover the incredible versatility of polycarbonate and its diverse range of applications, from aerospace manufacturing to household items. However, the process of machining polycarbonate can be complex, making it crucial to grasp the nuances before proceeding. Fortunately, ETCN has assembled an all-encompassing guide on the subject, complete with insights on tools, techniques, potential challenges, and troubleshooting tips. Arm yourself with the essential know-how to seamlessly machine polycarbonate without any hassle.

What is Polycarbonate Machining, and What Are Its Applications?

What is Polycarbonate Machining, and What Are Its Applications?

Polycarbonate, a versatile thermoplastic polymer, is widely used in various industries due to its exceptional optical, mechanical, and thermal properties. It is produced by the polymerization of bisphenol A and phosgene, resulting in an explicit, glass-like material that is highly resistant to impact, heat, and weathering.

Understanding Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate machining involves the process of cutting, milling, drilling, routing, and polishing polycarbonate sheets to create complex shapes and designs. The material’s machinability allows for precise parts to be easily created, making it a popular choice among manufacturers, designers, and engineers. Its excellent light transmission and ability to withstand high temperatures make it a sought-after material in various applications.

Applications of Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate’s unique properties make it ideal for a wide range of applications. In the manufacturing industry, it is commonly used to produce electronic components, automotive parts, and machine guards. In architecture and construction, polycarbonate is used to create skylights, roofing panels, and safety barriers due to its excellent impact resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio. It is also widely used in the healthcare industry for medical devices and equipment, as it is non-toxic, transparent, and easy to sterilize.

Applications of Acrylic and Polycarbonate

While acrylic and polycarbonate are popular choices for various applications, the two materials have some critical differences. Acrylic, also known as plexiglass, is a thermoplastic that is shatter-resistant, lightweight, and easy to cut and shape. It is commonly used in retail displays, signage, and interior design applications. However, it is not as impact-resistant as polycarbonate and can be prone to scratching.

In contrast, polycarbonate is solid and durable, making it an ideal choice for high-impact resistance applications. It is also highly transparent and has excellent thermal stability, making it a perfect choice for applications in the automotive and aerospace industries.


Polycarbonate machining is crucial in various industries due to its excellent properties and versatility. Its incredible strength, exceptional impact resistance, and thermal stability make it ideal for various applications, including manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and more. Manufacturers and designers can create high-quality products that meet their customers’ needs by understanding polycarbonate’s unique properties and applications.

How to Machine Polycarbonate?

How to Machine Polycarbonate?

Choosing the Right Cutting Tool

Choosing the right cutting tool is one of the most critical factors for achieving a high-quality machined finish on polycarbonate parts. Polycarbonate is a soft, thermoplastic material that can be easily scratched or damaged if the wrong device is used. To avoid these issues, selecting a device specifically designed for cutting and polishing polycarbonate material is important. Diamond-coated tools are commonly used for machine polishing polycarbonate because they offer superior cutting performance and longevity.

The Machining Process

The machining process for polycarbonate involves using a cutting tool to cut and polish the material until it achieves the desired finish. This process typically consists of three stages: roughing, semi-finishing, and finishing. Roughing involves removing the bulk of the material while semi-finishing and finishing steps remove any remaining imperfections and achieve a smooth, polished surface. It is essential to use the correct cutting speed, feed rate, and depth of cut during each stage to avoid damaging the material or creating unwanted scratches.

Machining Polycarbonate Parts

When machining polycarbonate parts, starting with a high-quality material free from defects or impurities is important. It is also important to properly secure the material to the machine to prevent any movement or vibration during the cutting process. Additionally, it is recommended to use coolant or lubricant to reduce friction and heat buildup during the cutting process. Finally, inspecting the finished part for any scratches or defects before using or installing it in the final product is important.

Custom Polycarbonate Machined Parts

Polycarbonate is a versatile material that can be easily machined into custom parts for various applications. Machining custom polycarbonate parts requires a thorough understanding of the material’s properties and best practices for cutting and polishing. By choosing the right cutting tool, using the correct machining process, and following best rules for machining polycarbonate, it is possible to create high-quality custom components that meet your application’s specific needs and requirements.

Prototype Machining with Polycarbonate

Prototyping is an essential step in the product development, allowing designers and engineers to test and refine their designs before moving to production. Polycarbonate is an excellent material for prototyping because it is lightweight, easy to machine, and offers superior impact resistance and clarity. By using polycarbonate for prototyping, designers and engineers can quickly and cost-effectively produce high-quality prototypes that accurately reflect the final product design and make adjustments before moving to production.

Polycarbonate Machined Parts: How to Achieve the Highest Quality

Polycarbonate machining is a manufacturing process that involves shaping polycarbonate materials into the desired shape and size. This technique is significant in today’s industry because it allows for creating of high-performance plastic parts with excellent mechanical properties and durability. Achieving the highest quality polycarbonate parts requires attention to various factors, including the surface finish, tolerance rate, impact resistance, toughness, optical clarity, coating, manufacturing processes, production runs, machining services, and CNC machining.

Surface Finish and Tolerance

The surface finish and tolerance rate are crucial in the quality of polycarbonate machined parts. Achieving a smooth surface finish requires careful consideration of machining parameters, such as speed, feed rate, and cutting tool materials. On the other hand, the tolerance rate refers to the acceptable deviation from the intended dimensions. A higher tolerance rate means less accuracy, while a lower tolerance rate allows for more precise and consistent parts. Industry standards for polycarbonate parts require tolerance rates of +/- 0.002 inches or better for critical dimensions.

Impact Resistance and Toughness

Polycarbonate materials are known for their exceptional impact resistance and toughness. These properties are essential for parts that are subject to heavy stress or shock. Achieving the highest quality impact resistance and toughness requires careful consideration of the grade and thickness of the material, as well as the machining process. Industry standards for polycarbonate parts require impact resistance of up to 70 ft-lbs/inch for 1/8 inch thickness and up to 6 ft-lbs/inch for 1/4 inch thickness.

Optical Clarity and Coating

Polycarbonate materials offer superior optical clarity, which makes them ideal for parts that require transparency and clarity. Additionally, polycarbonate parts may require coatings to improve their surface hardness, chemical resistance, and UV resistance. Achieving the highest quality of optical clarity and coating involves careful selection of the material grade and consistent manufacturing processes. Industry standards for polycarbonate parts require at least 90% light transmittance for optical clarity and a coating thickness of 0.001 to 0.005 inches.

Manufacturing and Production Runs

Polycarbonate machining involves various manufacturing processes, including injection molding, CNC machining, thermoforming, and vacuum forming. Selecting the proper manufacturing process depends on the parts’ complexity, size, and volume. Achieving the highest quality of manufacturing and production runs requires attention to detail, strict quality control, and standardized testing protocols. Industry standards for polycarbonate parts require adherence to ISO 9001 quality management systems.

Machining Services and CNC Machining

Machining services, such as CNC, offer high-precision and efficient manufacturing of polycarbonate parts. CNC machining involves computer-controlled machines that cut and shape the pieces according to the desired specifications. Achieving the highest quality of machining services and CNC requires skilled operators, advanced equipment, and strict process control. Industry standards for CNC machining polycarbonate parts require state-of-the-art machines that offer high tolerances, accuracy, and repeatability.

Tools and Techniques for Polycarbonate Machining

Tools and Techniques for Polycarbonate Machining

The Properties, Benefits, and Applications of Polycarbonate Material

Polycarbonate material is a versatile plastic with extraordinary properties, including outstanding strength, durability, and high resistance to impact. Polycarbonate material is also known for its excellent optical clarity, making it an ideal choice for applications such as safety glasses, camera lenses, and LCD screens. Another significant benefit of polycarbonate material is its ability to withstand high temperatures, which is helpful in environments such as electrical or automotive industries.

The Vapor Polishing Technique

The vapor polishing technique removes surface imperfections and scratches by exposing the polycarbonate material to a vapor of a solvent that melts or dissolves the surface, smoothing and polishing it. This technique is helpful in creating crystal-clear covers, making it an excellent choice for applications in the optical industry.

Choosing the Right Coolant

Choosing the correct coolant is crucial in polycarbonate machining. Due to its hygroscopic nature, water-based coolants can cause polycarbonate material to crack or craze. Therefore, oil-based coolants are recommended for polycarbonate machining as they have lower water content.

Solvent Welding and Joining Techniques

Solvent welding and joining techniques use a solvent to melt and fuse the polycarbonate material, forming a solid bond. This technique is ideal for creating complex shapes and joining multiple pieces, making it an excellent choice for applications in the automotive or aerospace industries.

Disadvantages and Susceptibilities of Polycarbonate Machining

Polycarbonate material is susceptible to scratching and crazing, leading to reduced optical clarity. The material is also sensitive to certain chemicals, such as some cleaning agents, which can cause damage or discoloration. Additionally, polycarbonate machining can generate excessive heat, which can cause the material to warp or deform.

Polycarbonate vs. Acrylic: Which is Better for Your Project?

When deciding between polycarbonate and acrylic, it is essential to consider the application and the properties required for your project. Polycarbonate material is more robust, more impact-resistant, and better able to withstand high temperatures than acrylic. However, acrylic has superior optical clarity and offers more design flexibility. Therefore, the choice between the two materials depends on the specific requirements of your project.

In conclusion, polycarbonate machining involves specific tools and techniques necessary to achieve the desired results. The vapor polishing technique, choosing the proper coolant, solvent welding and joining techniques are essential to creating the desired shape and form. However, polycarbonate material has some disadvantages and susceptibilities that require careful consideration. When deciding between polycarbonate and acrylic, choosing the material best suits your project’s specifications is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is polycarbonate?

A: Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic polymer widely used in various applications due to its high impact strength, dimensional stability, and optical clarity. It was first discovered in 1898 by Alfred Einhorn at the University of Berlin.

Q: How is polycarbonate different from acrylic?

A: While polycarbonate and acrylic are plastic materials, they have some key differences. Polycarbonate has higher impact strength and better UV resistance than acrylic, making it ideal for applications requiring durability and sunlight exposure. On the other hand, acrylic can be optically transparent, making it frequently used for products such as fish tanks and car lighting systems.

Q: What are the applications for acrylic and polycarbonate?

A: Acrylic and polycarbonate are used in a variety of applications, including but not limited to skylights, safety shields, machine guards, signs, displays, lenses, fish tanks, and car lighting systems.

Q: What is the difference between polycarbonate and custom polycarbonate parts?

A: Custom polycarbonate parts are made to specific dimensions and specifications for a particular application, while general polycarbonate material may be used in various applications.

Q: How do you machine polycarbonate?

A: The key to machining polycarbonate is to use sharp cutting tools and low cutting depths, as the material is susceptible to cracking. Using coolant and annealing the material can also help reduce the cracking risk.

Q: What is vapor polishing?

A: Vapor polishing is a process of smoothing the surface of polycarbonate parts by exposing them to vapor. The vapor causes the shell to melt slightly, creating a smooth and glossy finish.

Q: What are the benefits of using polycarbonate parts?

A: Polycarbonate parts have high impact strength, excellent dimensional stability, and are FDA-compliant, making them ideal for various applications. They are also heat-resistant and can be optically transparent, making them a popular choice for safety shields and lenses.

Q: How do you select the best cutting tool for machining polycarbonate?

A: When selecting a cutting tool for machining polycarbonate, it is essential to choose one that is sharp and has a low rake angle to reduce the risk of cracking. A cutting tool made from carbide or high-speed steel may be a good choice.

Q: What is the best coolant to use when machining polycarbonate?

A: Water-soluble coolants are often recommended for machining polycarbonate, as they offer good lubrication and help to reduce the risk of chipping and cracking.

Q: Why is annealing important when machining polycarbonate?

A: Annealing is an essential step in machining polycarbonate because it can help to reduce the risk of cracking and improve the material’s dimensional stability. Annealing involves heating the material to a specific temperature and then allowing it to cool slowly, which helps to relieve any stresses that may be present in the material.

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