The lab stocks various plastics available for purchase. Acrylic is possibly the most commonly used and is often referred to as Plexi-glass. Acrylic comes in various tints and colors and is suitable for the laser cutter. P.E.T.G. and PolyStyrene are thin plastics used for vacuum forming.
Acrylic is either extruded or cast. While cast acrylic offers better machinability and laser cutting, extruded acrylic is typically more cost effective. Acrylic is typically laser cut to create a more professional finished model. dFAB stocks acrylic in clear, white, and black in 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch nominal thicknesses.
Poly Ethylene Terephlalate Glycol (PETG) is a transparent thermoplastic sheet. It is typically more impact resistant than acrylic, and also more cost effective. Its malleability offers deep draws for Vacuum Forming. dFAB stocks PETG in 1/32 inch and 1/16 inch nominal thicknesses.
Polystyrene (PS) is economical, and is used for producing plastic model assembly kits, plastic cutlery, CD “jewel” cases, smoke detector housings, license plate frames, and many other objects where a fairly rigid, economical plastic is desired. Production methods include stamping and injection molding.This material is more commonly used for Vacuum Forming because of its malleability. dFAB stocks Polystyrene in 1/32 inch and 1/16 inch nominal thicknesses.
MDF / ULDF
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product formed by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibers, often in a defibrator, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming panels by applying high temperature and pressure. MDF is commonly more dense than plywood. We typically stock Ultra-Light Density Fiberboard (ULDF) which allows for quicker, safer, and more efficient machining. For scale modeling and prototyping, this material works best because of its forgiving nature towards the bits. This material is easily machined, sanded and strong. dFAB stocks Ultra-Light Density Fiberboard in 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch nominal thicknesses.
Baltic Birch Plywood
Birch ply is made from laminations of birch veneer. It is light but strong and has many other good properties. Birch ply is used to make longboards (skateboard), giving it a strong yet flexy ride. It is also used (often in very thin grades with many laminations) for making model aircraft. This wood product offers strength, with a light weight- but also maintains its beauty. Suitable for any woodworking project. dFAB stocks Baltic Birch Plywood in 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch nominal thicknesses.
Extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) consists of closed cells, offers improved surface roughness and has higher stiffness and reduced thermal conductivity. Typically offered in pink, blue, or green, it has adopted the name ‘Pink Foam.' This material is typically used for milling because of its forgiving nature towards bits and equipment as well as its machinability. You cannot spray paint, or vacuum form these materials because they will melt. There are other more expensive options that allow for easy sanding, painting, resin coats, and vacuum forming such as Polyurethane Foam. The lab however, does not have this material readily available. dFAB stocks XPS foam in 2 inch nominal thickness.