Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

Plastic versions of aluminium extrusions?

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Infraviolet:
Does anything like this exist? What would be the best search terms to find it for sale. I'm after something lighter weight, and cheaper, than aluminium extrusion for low-stress structural frames (holding lights, frames for little thermal enclosures round 3d printers, structures within robots...), with the same sort of groove structure and shape which lets you fit T-nuts in the grooves and mate on to the kinds of corners and other attachments you can use with aluminium extrusions. Thanks

Kleinstein:
There are also extruded plastic profiles. Plastic windows are made this way.   There are some standard plastics profiles available, but usually not for structural purpose, more like decorative, sealing, or holding cables and the like.

If price is an issue, wood may be an option.

radar_macgyver:
McMaster in the US carries a variety of extrusions in a variety of materials, including UHMW, PVC, PP and PTFE. They aren't particularly strong; for strength consider one of the composite materials (FR4 (aka Garolite), structural FRP or carbon fiber - all available at McMaster).

Specialty plastics vendors will carry these, though it seems like you can get some types on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Outwater-Plastics-1936-Bk-Styrene-Moulding/dp/B07MCJ763G

I searched for "UHMW angle"

thm_w:
Its an interesting idea, but what sort of budget? 2020 aluminum extrusions can be fairly cheap if you have a local supplier.
https://forum.makerforums.info/t/has-anybody-ever-seen-plastic-2020-t-slot-extrusion-for-sale/46310

For the 3D printer enclosure, you can print corner brackets and use say wooden dowels, or posterboard, to form the walls. Lots of ideas out there.
https://themechninja.com/10/diy-3d-printer-enclosure-budget-friendly/

hneve:
Yes, plastic versions of aluminum extrusions do exist and can be a great alternative for lightweight and low-stress structural frames. I’ve found that searching for “plastic T-slot extrusions” or “plastic frame profiles” yields good results. These are lighter and cheaper, making them ideal for projects like holding lights or creating enclosures for 3D printers.

Engineering Plastics are high-performance synthetic materials with high durability and heat resistance. These engineering plastics are used in industrial components that require superior functionality. The high-performance plastics are specifically designed to have better characteristics than general-purpose or commodity plastics. These properties may include better mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties; improved chemical and ultraviolet light resistance; and biocompatibility for food packaging applications.

For example, I recently used some POM (PolyOxyMethylene) extrusions for a lightweight frame, and they worked perfectly. They’re strong, easy to work with, and fit T-nuts just like aluminum extrusions.

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