PC-equivalent plastic

PC-equivalent plastic

PC-equivalent plastic is translucent (50–60% transparency) and comes with an inherent smooth surface finish.

PC-equivalent plastic is a resin-based material simulating the properties of Polycarbonate. It is translucent (50–60% transparency) and comes with an inherent smooth surface finish.

Since PC-equivalent parts are fabricated in Stereolithography (SLA) technology, there is support structure generation under the overhanging and protruding features.

PC-equivalent plastic
Part with support structures

PC-equivalent parts are translucent, but they can be lacquer coated to give them 80–90% transparency. Lacquer coating also makes the parts leak-proof thereby making it suitable for part geometries where liquid needs to be contained.

PC-equivalent plastic
Critical part geometry

Therefore, although complex and intricate structures can be fabricated in this material, the part quality and surface finish may get slightly hampered as the support structure removal will leave minor burr marks on the surface. But since SLA technology is usually accompanied by a polishing process, therefore, these minor burr marks can be eliminated to obtain a smooth surface finish. But in complex geometries it becomes difficult to polish the parts in hard-to-reach places, thereby leading to a gradient in the surface quality. This surface gradient accentuates when the parts are painted. PC-equivalent parts can be painted to give them any desired color and finish. Painting usually adds a layer thickness of 100–200µm.

PC-equivalent plastic
Proof of concept parts fabricated and painted black in PC-equivalent plastic

It has a good ability to resist humidity and retains excellent dimensional accuracy within (+/-)100µm.

Since PC-equivalent parts are translucent, they can be lacquer coated to give them 80–90% transparency. Lacquer coating also makes the parts leak-proof thereby making it suitable for part geometries where liquid needs to be contained within them. Since the material is translucent, it finds application in parts requiring clear display models. Eg. Prototypes for shampoo bottles, water bottles, glass-esque parts etc.

PC-equivalent plastic
Lacquer coated part
PC-equivalent plastic
Difference between a non-lacquer(L) coated and a lacquer coated(R) PC-equivalent plastic part

PC-equivalent plastic has a good ability to resist humidity and retains excellent dimensional accuracy within (+/-)100µm. Thus it finds application in automotive styling and proof of concept prototypes.

Highlights:

Strong and Rigid
Excellent feature resolution and dimensional accuracy
Smooth surface finish
Good ability to resist humidity

Shortcomings:

Brittle in nature
Not suitable for snap-fit assemblies and moving parts
Support structure generation

Applications:

Translucent parts for clear display models
Master patterns for vacuum casting
Proof of concept prototypes
Automotive designing and styling components, bottles, transparent assemblies

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