From PET to ABS, we've covered a lot of ground in our first blog series—and a lot of plastic! If you've followed along, you've learned that while there are plenty of materials you can work with, none of them are perfect. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, both in production and as far as the consumer is concerned. When you know the ins and outs of all of them, though, you're well-equipped to choose the material that's best-suited for your needs.
- PET Plastics—This material is durable, lightweight and safe, but if it's manufactured improperly, its beautiful clarity becomes cloudy
- PETG—Transparent and tough, this material will scratch but not break. It's also sticky to work with, though, so only trust a manufacturer with experience using this material.
- CPET—This crystallized plastic is perfect for going in the oven or microwave, but only if it's been manufactured with precision. If it's crystallized too much or too little, it won't last.
- HDPE—HDPE shows up in everything from heavy-duty construction to plastic grocery bags. For all its strength, though, it has a high shrink rate that can be difficult for inexperienced manufacturers to predict.
- HIPS—This brittle, clear and impact-resistant plastic is the backbone of the CD jewel case industry. It can be infused with color, and the regrind can be reused to cut back on industry waste.
- ABS—Used in everything from children's toys to safety gear, this combination material is both lightweight and strong. In untrained hands, though, the material can develop tiny bubbles.
And these are just a few of the plastics at your disposal when you're manufacturing! Whether your needs are big or small, flexible or rigid, crystal clear or color-infused, one thing remains true of any of these materials: They have to be manufactured with care.