Plastics for robotics
August 16, 2012
So I'm trying to figure out how to best manage the funds I have for purchasing some construction material. I've decided to go with some plastics and lightweight thin aluminum I can cut by hand.
The issue is, I don't know what the different types of plastics have to offer in terms of machinability and robotics platforms, besides Expanded PVC and Polymorph, which I have worked with in the past and still have some pieces left, but I don't care much for working with those materials at the moment.
I'm going to order through TAP Plastics (http://www.tapplastics.com/product/plastics/cut_to_size_plastic) simply because so far I think they are the best price that I have found so far with the widest selection and they cut to size.
The issue with TAP plastics website is it seems there is a $10 minimum charge for ordering cut to size plastic. I can get away with up to 10 sheets of 1/8th (3mm) 4" x 4" any type of plastic, or 3 sheets of 12" x 12" any type of plastic. Since my issue is I don't know these plastics and what is best suited to constructing durable robot bases or parts (i.e. brackets) and how easy one type of plastic is to cut vs another, I don't know if I should get pre-cut sizes or just go with a 12" x 12" sheet and cut out what I need from there.
Has anyone worked with any of the plastics they offer and could offer me some advice as to which type you feel works best for your robotics? Please include ease of machinability, etc, and keep in mind I don't have any heavy duty power tools besides a crappy dremel (barely any cutting bits) and a drill. I have a small hand saw and that's about it.
My ordering limit is about $20 from TAP plus shipping.