Plastic & Acrylic Polishing

What do we mean by Plastic Polishing?

Transparent materials such as Perspex / Lucite Acrylic and Rohm Plexiglas (PMMA) as well as Polycarbonate can be polished to a glass like finish. Other materials such coloured Acrylics can also be polished to achieve a high aesthetic finish level for consumer products such as pens and audio equipment. When heat treated, machined and polished correctly, PMMA can have similar optical properties to glass and is often used in applications such as lenses and light guides. Carville have a wealth of polishing experience, achieving spectacular results both inside and out of parts. A good surface finish starts with careful selection of machine tooling, heat treatment, diamond milling, machining methods and preparation processes, to produce a part with minimal witness marks in critical areas. See page Page 4 of Carville’s product brochure for a comparison of 5 components, dimensionally identical but produced using a combination of different machining and polishing techniques.

Manual, Mop Polishing

Acrylic and other engineering plastics can be mop polished to improve the surface finish / roughness and appearance. Polishing requires the removal of material and it is essential to achieve a good machined finish before polishing to ensure critical dimensions can be maintained.

Mop polishing requires different grades of mops or clothes used in conjunction with abrasive soaps which will remove surface material and leave high quality polished finish on Acrylic and other plastics. The type of mop polishing process will be subject to the quantity and shape of parts. For lower quantities, mop polishing will be a manual process with each part individually finished by hand, but higher quantities Carville often use automated instruments and processes.

Super Finishing / Vapour Polishing

Super finishing is a term used to describe Carville’s vapour polishing processes. Vapour polishing is a specialist technique that can be used to enhance component features on materials such as Acrylic (PMMA) or Polycarbonate. Vapour polishing is ideally suited to the polishing of small features and offers improvements to internal and external surface finishes. It has the advantage of being able to polish internal, detailed features such as threads, apertures, channels and sample inspection areas that would be impossible manual polishing.

Can Carville Super Finish or Vapour Polish my Components?

Carville offer a vapour polishing service for components produced by other companies. The vapour polishing process can be used to improve the cosmetic appearance and transparency of components, however, the results will be dependent upon the quality of the original parts. If a part has a very rough surface finish, the end results will be variable.
All Acrylic / Plexiglas and Polycarbonate components manufactured by Carville are fully heat treated prior to and after machining. Components which have not been fully heat treated will have internal stress and can be damaged by the vapour polishing processes. However, this service is offered on a best endeavour basis and is subject to the quality of the components supplied. When processing components produced by other companies, Carville will heat treat the free-issue components, clean the parts, perform the vapour polishing process and then clean the parts again before packing for dispatch.