Introduction

PC (polycarbonate) is a type of amorphous thermoplastic known for its high impact resistance and transparency. It also demonstrates good electrical insulation properties and moderate chemical resistance.

Available in a range of rod and plate formats, PC is commonly used in the automotive industry for the production of instrument panels, pumps, valves and more. It is also used in other sectors for the production of protective gear, medical devices, intermal mechanical parts and more.

Surface Finish

Electroplating

Electroplating can be functional, decorative or corrosion-related. Many industries use the process, including the automotive sector, in which chrome-plating of steel automobile parts is common.

Electroplating Image
Bead blasting

Bead blasting results in parts with a smooth surface with a matte texture. Used mainly for visual applications and can be followed by other surface treatments.

Bead blasting Image
Painting

Painting the surface of a part improves its aesthetic appearance and can provide brand recognition to consumers. In addition, painting can have a protective effect on parts.

Painting Image
Polishing

Polishing is the process of creating a smooth and shiny surface, either through physical rubbing of the part or by chemical interference. The process produces a surface with significant specular reflection, but in some materials is able to reduce diffuse reflection.

Polishing Image

Manufacturability

Tolerance

- Standard: (+/-) 125 µm -Achievable: (+/-) 100 µm , (+/-) 50 µm

Wall Thickness

- The minimum wall thickness should be at least 1 mm for machined parts. - 2 mm is suggested for better strength and 2.5 mm for a rigid wall.

Pocket depth

- Pocket depth should be up to 3 times the diameter of the end mill

Engraving

- Engraving is preferable to embossing - For the clear, legible text consider fonts such as Arial or Gothic - Design letter strands with a width of at least 2 mm

Internal Radii

- The minimum internal radii possible is 1 mm - In general, internal radii dimensions depend on the depth of pocket being milled

Holes

- Use standard drill bit sizes - Minimum of 1 mm in diameter

Threads

- Use standard metric inserts - Smallest threaded insert possible is M2

Design Recommendations

Min Wall Thickness

0.5 mm

Min End Mill Size

0.8 mm (0.03 in)

Min Drill Size

0.5 mm (0.02 in)

Max Part Size

1200 x 500 x 152 mm [(x,y,z] (mill)
152 x 394 mm [d,h] (lathe)

Undercuts

Square profile, full radius, dovetail profiles

Radii : Depth

Depth must not exceed 12x drill bit diameter.
For end mills, depth must not exceed 10x drill bit diameter.

Engineer's Pro Tips

  • PC is suitable for applications that require high hardness and transparency. Its light transmission properties are only slightly inferior to PMMA (acrylic) making it a suitable (and more lightweight) alternative to glass.
  • The material is also relatively tough, allowing it to undergo chemical polishing. In high temperatures or situations with high light exposure, PC can begin to turn yellow.
sales engineer - henry

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