Material Selection Tips

Deciding on the best material for your part can be a challenge. General it is best to first decide on the main factors. For example, if price and hardness are most important, select the material that has the best combination of those two values.

Here are a few tips:

Metals allow for parts of higher tolerance than plastics.

Plastics can warp slightly over time due to moisture absorption.

Designing custom parts with sheetmetal is generally lower cost than machining plate or rod.

Sheetmetal parts can be formed into numerous shapes and can take simple or complex bends.

By volume, plastics are usually much less expensive than metals.

Materials that don't need finishing may be more economical for short runs (e.g. stainless steel, aluminum, plastics, etc.)

Materials List

Advanced Materials
  • Hastelloy
  • Inconel
  • Invar
  • Kovar
  • Monel
  • Nickel alloys
  • Tellurium
  • Tungsten
Heavy Metals
  • Copper-zinc alloys (brass)
  • Copper and copper alloys
  • Copper Beryllium
  • Zinc and zinc alloys
Iron and Casting Materials
  • Cast steel
  • Cast iron
Light Metal Alloys
  • Aluminum and Aluminum alloys
  • Titanium and titanium alloys
Plastics/Synthetic Materials
  • Acrylic (PMMA)
  • Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Plastic
  • Delrin
  • Glass Fiber-Reinforced Plastic
  • High Performance Plastic
  • Kynar
  • Nylatron
  • Nylon
  • Particle reinforced composite materials
  • PEEK
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polypropylene
  • PVC
  • Silicone (LSR)
  • Teflon
  • Thermoplastics
  • Thermosets
  • Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene UHMW
  • ULTEM
Sintered materials
  • Metal Powder for Formed Parts
  • Metal Powder for Hard Metal
Steel
  • Alloy steel
  • Carbon steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Spring steel
  • Tool steel
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