Polycarbonate Thermoplastic Machining

Polycarbonate polymers, or PCs, exhibit excellent toughness, high impact strength, and a high modulus of elasticity. Most types of polycarbonate thermoplastic offer transparency and high optical clarity. This material is relatively easy to work with, and Upland Fab are experts in machining complex, high precision parts from polycarbonate polymers.



Benefits of Working with Polycarbonate Polymers


Polycarbonate thermoplastic provides high heat deflection, very low moisture absorption, favorable low frequency and high voltage insulating characteristics, making it an ideal material for electrical and electronic components. PCs also provide high tensile, shear, and flexural strength, and retain these characteristics at elevated temperatures. Excellent creep resistance and flow resistance, a low coefficient of thermal expansion, and low deformation characteristics under load further improve the materials’ performance in high temp applications.


Polycarbonate polymers are highly versatile materials that are useful for a broad range of applications. Common uses for PCs include equipment housings, electrical connectors, insulators, and fittings, relay components, medical devices, and many more.


Sheet grade polycarbonate is also called Lexan or Makrolon whereas acrylic sheet polycarbonate is commonly referred to as Lucite.  Both Lexan and Lucite have benefits and drawbacks. Both are two of the most frequently used see-through plastics but Acrylic will have a shinier surface but is easier to crack. Where polycarbonate is stronger and more impact resistant it's also easier to scratch.


There are many grades of polycarbonate thermoplastic available, from general purpose to machine grade to glass-filled and more. Each PC grade offers unique characteristics that may make it better suited to your application than others. Contact us to discuss your material requirements.

Properties of Polycarbonate Thermoplastic

ASTM or UL test Property Unfilled 30% Glass
D792 Density (lb/in³)
D570 Water Absorption, 24 hrs (%) 0.12 0.12
D638 Tensile Strength (psi) 9,500 19,000
D638 Tensile Modulus (psi) 320,000 -
D638 Tensile Elongation at Break (%) 60 10
D790 Flexural Strength (psi) 15,000 23,000
D790 Flexural Modulus (psi) 375,000 1,100,000
D695 Compressive Strength (psi) 12,000 18,000
D695 Compressive Modulus (psi) 240,000 500,000
D785 Hardness, Rockwell M70 / R118 M92
D256 IZOD Notched Impact (ft-lb/in) 13 2
D696 Coefficient of Linear Thermal Expansion
(x 10-5 in./in./°F)
3.9 1.2
D648 Heat Deflection Temp (°F / °C)
at 264 psi
270 / 132 295 / 146
D3418 Glass Transition Temp (°F / °C) 293 / 145 300 / 149
- Max Operating Temp (°F / °C) 250/121 270 / 132
C177 Thermal Conductivity
(x 10-4 cal/cm-sec-°C)
UL94 Flammability Rating
@ less than .45" (11.5mm) thickness
@ .45" (11.5mm) thickness and above
D149 Dielectric Strength (V/mil) short time, 1/8" thick 390 470
D150 Dielectric Constant at 60 Hz 3.17 3.35
D150 Dissipation Factor at 60 Hz 0.0009 0.0011
D257 Volume Resistivity (ohm-cm)at 50% RH 1016 1016

[Polycarbonate Thermoplastic material chart]

High Precision Machining of Polycarbonate Thermoplastic Parts


When working with polycarbonate polymers, Upland Fab utilizes multi-axis machining to ensure that tight tolerances are maintained from the first part to the last. Our CNC machining capabilities enable us to produce consistently high precision parts, with minimal handling and fixturing requirements. In many cases, even the most complex parts can be completed in a single operation for fast turnarounds.


Thanks to our DPD/MBD processes (Digital Product Definition/Model-Based Definition), we can work directly from your completed CAD models. Working straight from your digital design files eliminates manufacturing errors and ensures that your parts match your exact requirements. We can deliver cost-effective polycarbonate thermoplastic parts that are 100% on spec.


Top-Flight Communication Keeps You Up to Date


With Upland Fab, you’ll have a single point of contact throughout every stage of your project. We know the importance of effective communication, and we’ll provide reliable, consistent updates to keep you informed from the first step to the last.



Other Materials We Work With

Are you looking for another material? We have the ability to machine many different materials take a look below at some of the other plastics we work with. 


  • Polycarbonate (PC)


Contact Upland Fab to Learn More About Machining Polycarbonate Polymers

Upland Fab has been providing top-flight plastic and composite machining in Southern California since 1970. Contact Upland Fab to discuss polycarbonate thermoplastic machining for your project, or request a quote to get started.

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Precision Plastic and Composite CNC Machining

Precision Plastic and Composite
CNC Machining since 1970.

Precision Plastic and Composite CNC Machining
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