When it comes to machining plastic, the sky is the limit. From prototypes and trinkets to tools and equipment, it is possible with plastic!
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a very strong material and can be used for a variety of applications. Our team decided to make leveling blocks out of HDPE. These are not the kind of leveling blocks that you would typically use for trailers to keep them from falling down, but rather they were designed to help our machinists in the shop!
So what do we use these leveling blocks for? They are primarily used for the re-alignment of plates that have already been machined but require additional operations. Often, part drawings specify flat or parallel in the "restrained condition", meaning it is acceptable for them to bow or twist after they are unclamped because they will be used in a situation that mimics the clamped position they were originally machined in. If further machining is required at a later date to modify or repair the part, this bow or twist can present some challenges. For example, we may be required to very accurately align part features so that when we make a modification, the features blend smoothly with one another, achieving the correct dimensional requirements and looking good in the process.
Occasionally we are required to very accurately align part features for blending purposes or adding an identification engraving. Engravings are often very shallow and any surface deviation at all will show up as a very large percentage of the shallow engraving depth, resulting in a poor outcome. Shallow engravings - in particular - require meticulous attention to surface deviation as even the slightest irregularity can significantly impact the outcome.
We have found that the rigid yet compressible nature of the leveling blocks rigid helps us achieve the desired results very quickly without the use of shims. We simply torque the clamp bolts to set the position. The leveling blocks have assisted us in machining parts and allowing the part to remain accurate and aligned.
We used our own HDPE blocks in the color lime green for this project. We do not currently sell our leveling blocks, however we wanted to get some feedback on our customers opinion of them. Is it something you would consider useful in your work environment? If you have any questions or feedback, we would love to hear it! Feel free to email us or reach out to us via chat, or give us a call at 1-833-725-6257.