What Is A Plastic Prototype: Definition, Types, and Benefits

The coming out of a product requires endless testing and experiments, and the production of plastic prototypes is the same.

Plastic prototype, as the name implies, uses plastic as the raw material of the prototype mold, and the prototype is the initial physical model of the product. Maybe you’re new to plastic prototyping or don’t know much, and that’s okay. This blog post will give you a different perspective on plastic prototyping.


Materials For Plastic Prototype

The choice of plastic prototyping material is deliberate. Because many end-product performance tests reflect the plasticity of the prototype material, it can affect the desired properties and effects of the project.

Some characteristics of the relevant plastic raw materials will be shown below, from which you can understand it from multiple angles. Of course, this will serve as an inspiration for picking materials if you have an idea to make.


Speaking of Teflon, non-stick properties will be one of the most notable features. But it’s also notable for its chemical inertness, which enables plastic prototypes to make hoses and other seals that industries need.


High-temperature resistance. The melting point of 327 degrees Celsius is the reason why it is excellent as one of the high-temperature resistant materials, and it can not change its shape in a high-temperature environment.


Expensive. The price of Teflon material is relatively high among many plastics, which is not good for the design of multiple consumables.

Grades of Teflon: Teflon FEP 9494, Teflon PTFE 62N, Teflon 7A


PEEK is attractive for companies looking to choose a plastic material with multifunctional properties. It is not only resistant to high temperatures but also to abrasion, which provides consistent performance in plastic prototypes that require multiple tests.


Biocompatibility. The biocompatibility of PEEK is excellent, and it can become a common material for medical device parts.


High cost. The prices of PEEK and Teflon materials are relatively high among plastic materials. For small enterprises, it is necessary to consider whether they can afford a large production cost.

Grades of PEEK: PEEK GF 30, PEEK CF 30, PEEK 450G


Acrylic is a transparent plastic that people can see everywhere in life. It is easy to be machined by engineers and become roadside signs or electrical box casings. Because it has UV resistance and high-temperature resistance, it is easy to meet the requirements of outdoor plastic prototype production.


Easy to process. Acrylic can handle both gluing and cutting, which is very beneficial for prototyping.


Poisonous. When acrylic materials are accidentally burned, harmful gases will be produced, which is not conducive to high-temperature production environments.

The classification of acrylic is UV-resistant acrylic, cast acrylic, and extruded acrylic.


In plastic prototyping, PVC has always been able to make prototypes that require flexibility and impact resistance and remain stable in difficult test conditions.The cost of PVC material can also afford multiple consumptions when trial prototypes.


Cheap. Compared with expensive Teflon, PVC is easy to make and easy to obtain, so the price is relatively cheap.


Low-temperature resistance. The texture of PVC will become brittle in a low-temperature environment, so it is easy to crack.

The grades of PVC are: PVC-U, PVC-P, PVC-C, PVC-Hi

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

The shock resistance of ABS is particularly excellent among plastic materials, and many industries that require shock resistance will choose ABS as the prototype material.The


Chemical resistance. The chemical performance of ABS is stable and safe, and its performance does not change in harsh environments.


Easy to change color. It is easy to change the color of the surface in a high-temperature environment, resulting in a decrease in visual aesthetics.

Classification of ABS includes FR-ABS, High Strength ABS (HIPS), and weather resistance ABS.


What Are The Advantages Of Plastic Prototype Over Metal Prototyping

Low Cost.

The cheap price of most plastic materials makes the risk of material consumption and modification in plastic prototyping affordable.

High Safety Factor.

In a prototyping environment that generates a high-temperature environment, it is safer and easier to handle plastic materials than metal materials.

Strong Machinability.

There is no doubt that the strength of plastics is generally lower than that of metals, so the requirements for the shape and precision of plastic prototypes are easy to complete by machining.

What Processing Technologies Are Included In The Plastic Prototype


Injection Molding

The key point of injection molding technology is the mold making of the plastic prototype, which requires a certain amount of design effort, and then inject the selected plastic resin, and open the mold after the model cools down.


Stable manufacturing. Fixed molds by injection molding enable the manufacture of plastic models with the same quality and precision, which is conducive to demanding shipment speeds.


Difficult to change mold style.It is not easy to change the mold style. Because the finished model does not meet the customer’s style requirements, it is highly challenging to modify the mold style. It is more important to note that small designs with mold cavities may require engineers to remake new molds.

5-Axis Milling

In the face of high-precision prototyping, you should choose five-axis milling technology to help you complete this challenge. It can bring you a precision effect that is different from traditional craftsmanship.


Low scrap rate. In addition to the high-precision features you know, there is also the feature of less waste that is worth choosing.Because the precise cutting of 5-axis milling effectively reduces the probability of scrapping plastic samples.


Limited materials.5-axis milling machines generate a high-temperature environment during operation, which is not so friendly to flexible plastic materials. For example, flexible PVC may change shape due to temperature during milling and stick to the machine tool.

CNC Turning

Turning is a service of manufacturing and processing technology centers with unique cutting methods, mainly high-speed rotating cutting parts.


Repeat manufacturing. When it comes to the manufacturing requirements of creating stable, high-volume batches, turning machines can handle them with ease and with consistent precision.


Shape constraints. The turning method of a turning machine has a fixed rotating cutting path, making it incapable of cutting flexibly to shapes other than circular or cylindrical.


Rapid Prototyping

In the view of many enterprises, once rapid prototyping or thermoforming technology is selected for plastic prototype products, the production effect of quality and speed can be satisfied at the same time.


Production is fast. Production is fast. Rapid prototyping is one of the technologies that can meet the on-demand stocking requirements and help to seize the opportunity of market resources.


Limited durability. Rapid prototyping technology may use less rigid materials in materials, so its service life is short and not durable.

3D Printing

The essential step of 3D printing technology is to 3D model the prototype product and create a plastic model by adding material in sections to make it shape.


Save material. 3D printing technology is an economical technology in the eyes of manufacturers because it does not require too many materials.


Production limitations. 3D printing technology cannot build products with large overhanging structures because it requires tool support, which has an impact on manufacturing efficiency.


What Are The Surface Treatment For Plastic Prototypes

The purpose of surface treatment is to further modify the surface of the prototype product after technical fabrication. If you have any doubts about surface treatment, you can choose a treatment process according to the practical situation.


It is a surface manipulation that can display information on the surface of a product. Typically, attention signs, company information (such as company logos), product information, etc. are displayed.


Embossing is a concave-convex texture that can be made on the surface of the prototype, which can enhance friction and beautify the vision.


There may be sharp surface edges after prototyping that engineers run through a deburring machine (or other tools) to make them safe and aesthetically pleasing.


The coating is the application of paint or coatings with corrosion resistance or other functions to protect the prototype product.




Whether it is aluminum molding or plastic molding, it is necessary to find a production tool that meets the prototype. Generally speaking, the details of making a plastic prototype can determine the success of your product, so every step needs to be made carefully. You can contact the nearby suppliers or find the best answer on the Chinese website Tirapid online.



1. How long does it take to make a plastic prototype?

Generally speaking, a few hours of production time is not surprising, and there are also examples of counting every week. Engineers face many problems making plastic models, and the time it takes to make them varies. Therefore, the time for plastic models also varies according to different production situations.

2. Are plastic prototypes suitable for all machining processes?

For plastic prototypes, we must know that the production requirements of each prototype are different. Different production requirements lead to changes in its creative details, making its production technology also different.For the processing technology, we need to know that the production requirements of each prototype are different.

3. How important is the existence of plastic prototypes to manufacturers?

Because the role of plastic models in manufacturing is innumerable, it can provide manufacturers with beneficial research and development data to the greatest extent. Through the research and development data, it can create competitive and effective application parts and equipment for manufacturers. It can be seen that its existence is particularly important and critical for manufacturers.

4. How to reduce the scrap rate of making plastic prototypes?

Making a successful plastic prototype requires strict control at every step of the manufacturing process, from pre-preparation to post-finishing. In addition, it is necessary to communicate the production details with engineering experts promptly, which is also the key to reducing the scrap rate.

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