Plastic CNC Machining

Plastic machining has been accepted as a manufacturing process mainly because of the wide variety of plastic CNC materials.

With the introduction of computer numerical control (CNC) technology, the plastic machining process has become more precise and efficient, and is especially suited for manufacturing parts with tight tolerances.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at plastic CNC machining applications, material types and their physical properties to help you better select the right plastic material for your job requirements.

What is plastic CNC machining?

Plastic CNC machining is a high-precision, automated plastic processing process using computer numerical control (CNC) technology. In this processing method, computer programming is combined with the precise mechanical movements of CNC machine tools to mill, cut, drill, tap, etc. plastic raw materials through high-speed rotating cutting tools based on pre-designed 3D models or 2D drawings. Operate to produce plastic products of the desired shape and size.

Can Plastics Be CNC Machined?

Plastic is a very suitable material for CNC machining. It has good plasticity and processing performance, and is easy to cut, shape and drill. Compared with metal materials, the cutting force generated by plastic processing is smaller, and the wear on machine tools and tools is also lower, making CNC processing more economical and efficient. At the same time, the density of plastic is lower and less heat is generated during processing, which is beneficial to maintaining processing accuracy and extending tool life.

Plastic types and detailed material descriptions for CNC machining

CNC machining can be applied to a variety of plastic materials, each material has its own unique physical and chemical properties. The following are several common plastic materials and their detailed descriptions:

Polyethylene (PE)

cnc Polyethylene (PE)
  • Features: Lightweight, soft, impact resistant, good chemical stability.
  • Application: Commonly used in packaging materials, pipes, films, etc.

Polypropylene (PP)

cnc Polypropylene (PP)
  • Characteristics: Good heat resistance, chemical corrosion resistance, high mechanical strength.
  • Applications: Auto parts, home appliance casings, medical equipment, etc.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

  • Characteristics: Excellent insulation performance, corrosion resistance, easy processing.
  • Applications: Wires and cables, pipes, building materials, windows and doors, etc.

Polyamide (PA, Nylon)

cnc Polyamide (PA, Nylon)
  • Features: high strength, high wear resistance, good thermal stability.
  • Application: gears, bearings, moving parts, mechanical parts, etc.


  • Higher strength, hardness and toughness, and its surface finish is also higher
  • Covering a wide range of fields such as automotive, electronics and electrical appliances, building materials, packaging, furniture, sports and recreational works, machinery and instrumentation industries, etc.

Polycarbonate (PC)

CNC Machining Polycarbonate
  • Features: high transparency, high impact strength, good heat resistance.
  • Applications: optical instruments, protective glasses, electronic product casings, etc.

Plastic CNC machining methods

There are many methods for CNC machining of plastics, depending on the type of plastic, the shape and complexity of the desired product, and the configuration of the processing equipment. Here are some common processing methods:

CNC Milling

The rotating milling cutter is used to remove material, suitable for processing flat surfaces, curved surfaces and complex shapes.


Use a drill to make holes in plastic, often used to install parts, screws, etc.

cNC turning

CNC turning equipment

Use cutting tools to rotate to remove material, suitable for machining cylindrical parts.


cutting plastic

Use a saw blade or laser beam to make straight or curved cuts for quick separation.


Polish plastic surfaces to improve surface finish and precision.

Alternatives to Plastic machining

CNC machining offers significant advantages in plastic processing, in some cases, alternatives may be considered.

Injection molding

plastic injection molding

Suitable for mass production with low cost and high product consistency.

3D printing

3D printing

Suitable for small batches, customized or complex structures of plastic products, with high design flexibility.

Extrusion molding

Used to produce continuous plastic profiles such as pipes, wire sheathing, etc.

Application of plastic CNC machining

Plastic CNC machining has a wide range of applications, covering almost all industries that require high-precision plastic products

Car manufacturer

Manufacture of automotive interior and exterior trim parts, functional components and lightweight structural parts.


Produces mobile phone casings, computer accessories, communication equipment, etc.

medical instruments

Manufacturing surgical instruments, medical consumables, laboratory supplies, etc.


Manufacture of aircraft interior, structural and functional components.

Where can I find a good Plastic CNC Machining supplier?

Check out Machcncmaster’s plastic cnc machining capabilities, we offer a wide range of materials to choose from, Machcncmaster’s CNC machined plastics are high quality parts that work better as intended. Machcncmaster uses state-of-the-art CNC machinery to fulfill any complex requirements you may have. Manufacturing time is minimal, and parts are available as soon as you need them. Contact Machcncmaster for a quote on your project.

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