Plastic Micromachining

Kapton stencil with laser machined rectangular holes 16.7 microns by 110 microns

Kapton stencil with laser machined rectangular holes 16.7 microns by 110 microns

Plastic Micromachining

Potomac Photonics has a broad range of technologies and processes to micromachine almost any type of polymer material on the market with features both small (down to a micron) and large. With the added benefit of being able to handle projects ranging from single prototypes up to full production runs of millions of parts, Potomac is truly your one-stop manufacturing solution.  Examples of projects or applications that we have helped our customers develop and bring to market include:

  • Fabricating custom plastic parts
  • Patterning of metalized plastics
  • Precision cutting of polymers / plastics sheet
  • Part singulation
  • Polymer circuit excision
  • Small hole drilling in almost any type polymer material
  • Blind channels and holes

We can machine almost every type of plastic material including:

  • Laser Micromachining of Kapton tubing

    Laser Micromachining of Kapton tubing

    Kapton – A polyimide film developed by Dupont is used in a variety of applications and industries including consumer electronics, solar photovoltaic and wind energy, aerospace, automotive, medical devices and biotech products.  It has good insulation and temperature characteristics and is available in many types, sizes and thicknesses.  Potomac carries Kapton HN and VN material on the shelf and can turnaround custom parts in as quickly as 24 hours in some cases.

  • PEEK – Polyether ether ketone is a colorless polymer thermoplastic typically used in medical, biotech, aerospace and automotive applications.  It has a high tensile strength, has a wide temperature range and is very resistant to wear.  Potomac has extensive experience fabricating precision PEEK parts such as microfluidic devices and complex automotive parts.
  • Microfluidic channels in plastic substrate.

    Microfluidic channels in plastic substrate.

    Polycarbonate is one of the most widely used thermoplastics because it is highly durable, extremely scratch resistant and very inexpensive.  Also known as Lexan, Makroclear and Makrolon, it has been used by almost every industry including automotive, defense, medical device, biotech, electronics, alternative energy, etc.

  • BoPET – Biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate is a polyester film used many types of biotech, electrical and packaging applications.  Also known as  Hostaphan, Melinex and Mylar,BoPET is one of the many materials that can be metalized with conductive coatings such as ITO and patterned by Potomac Photonics.
  • Microhole in Nylon Tube

    Laser micro hole in Nylon tube

    Nylon is a highly durable synthetic polymer that is also known as polyamide.  It is available in many different types of configurations.  Potomac has machined highly precise features in nylon including blind channels in nylon rods for a medical device application.

  • ABS – Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene  is a thermoplastic that is commonly used for mechanical parts and processes.  It is an extremely tough material with good heat resistance and is available in many different types and colors. In addition to machining complex ABS parts, Potomac has the capability to laser mark ABS quickly and cost effectively.
  • Polyethylene a thermoplastic polymer is one of the most popular materials used in consumer applications.  Widely used for packaging products such as bags, films and heat shrink, polyethylene is available in many different types of branching and density configurations that make it a material of choice for other industries such as military, medical and biotech.  Potomac has experience cutting and drilling small holes in many types of polyethylene including High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Very Low Density Polyethylene (VLDPE) for applications such as leak test hole drilling for the pharmaceutical and medical industries.
  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer  and is best known by the Dupont brand name Teflon.  PTFE is low friction material, has excellent dielectric properties, and has very high melting temperature.  PTFE is widely used in semiconductor, consumer and biopharma applications.  Potomac has the capability to machine PTFE with our low wavelength lasers and micro-cnc systems with feature sizes as small as 1 micron.

Potomac Photonics stocks many of the these polymer materials.  If we do not carry the material, we have the ability to acquire it quickly from our list of qualified suppliers.  Our goal is to be your one stop shop for custom plastic parts and materials.  In addition, we do not have any minimum quantity policy, so you do not have purchase more parts or materials than you require.