Thermoforming is a manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product. There is a wide range of thermoforming materials that provide just the right properties for your plastic formed product, and each material has physical characteristics that make it suitable for specific applications.
Thermoforming Material & Description
Good general purpose material, very tough yet very hard and rigid, good impact and electrical. Available in gauges from .040 to .475 with several extruded textures. Comes opaque and can be matched in custom colors.
A blend or alloy of ABS and polycarbonate that thermoforms well, weathers well, good color retention, very hard, excellent impact.
Flame retardant, tough.
Outstanding weather resistance, excellent optics and electrical properties, poor impact, high gloss and deep luster. Available in standard gauges from .080 to over 1″. Available in clear, transparent and opaque colors.
Acrylic, cell cast
Excellent optics and hot strength, more expensive. Acrylic, continuous and extrusion cast.
Large volume use and best price, good optics.
3 or 6 mil film for laminating, decorating, and weathering of extruded ABS.
Modified acrylic with higher impact properties.
A blend of acrylic and PVC that is a tough, chemical-resistant material that weathers well and is flame resistant. Available in custom colors.
HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
Crystalline, very tough materials, good weather resistance with UV inhibitors, resistant to many chemicals. Available in standard gauges from .040 to .500. Available in opaque custom colors. Tough and stiff. Good low temperature. Economical.
HMWPE (high molecular weight)
Excellent environmental stress crack properties, thermoforms well, good low temperature.
HIPS (high impact polystyrene)
Good general-purpose material, rigid. Available in clear but usually opaque custom colors from .030 to .350, low cost.
Good general-purpose material, good abrasion and chemical resistance. Available in clear but usually opaque custom colors from .030 to .125.
Stiff, light, flat, thermoformable. Available in stock colors and gauges, generally 3 and 6 mm but others also available.
Clear, higher impact than acrylic, easy to form. Available in gauges from .030 to .500.