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The Prototyping Blog

the prototyping blog

Everything You Need To Know About Converting Metal Parts To Plastic

Posted by Molly Skiba on Feb 15, 2019

We are often called upon to help customers convert parts from machined, cast, or forged metal to highly engineered plastic. While EPA standards in specific industries are a catalyst for some companies to convert, many companies are making the switch from metal to plastic simply for the performance benefits. Metal-to-plastic conversions can be a great way for a manufacturer to cut costs but only if the newly designed and engineered plastic product passes the testing required to make the switch.

Advantages of Plastic vs Metal:

  • Less expensive to produce than metal
  • Same strength as metal (if designed properly)
  • Helps meet EPA standards in certain industries, such as water or automotive
  • Faster, consistent production
  • Lighter weight = Lower shipping cost
  • Temperature resistant
  • Less susceptible to chemical damage such as oxidation or rusting 
  • Reduced need for finishing
  • Greater design flexibility

Choosing The Right Material

In order to make a plastic part that is as strong as metal, choose a material that will withstand the rigorous testing required to change a critical part in an assembly from brass, aluminum, or steel. If you need help with material selection, work with a prototyping company or injection molder that offers a wide array of materials to sample. At The ERC, we have a sampling area set up in a way that allows multiple materials to be sampled in a quick and economical fashion. Sampling of highly engineered materials is something our engineers do on a daily basis so you can be assured that the parts you will receive are processed for peak performance in your assembly.

Keys To A Successful Conversion

Including all of your design features in your prototype mold is crucial when making a conversion from metal to plastic. Eliminating a feature in a prototype to ease manufacturing may result in the design not passing testing and therefore not being approved within an assembly. We are always working to accommodate all the geometry requests by designers and engineers. If small changes to the design are requested, we can quickly make a change to the tool steel to minimize the delay in the testing process. 

Get A Rapid Quote!

Whether you need to convert a part from metal to plastic or require prototype parts or tooling, fill out our Rapid Quote form.