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Acetal vs Delrin hero image Acetal vs Delrin hero image

Acetal vs. Delrin and Making with Acetal!

From auto parts to art projects, acetal is a plastic renowned for its utility in replacing metal components like gears and electrical components. Beyond industrial applications, acetal is also used by makers in ways you might not know. In this article, we’ll be going over some of what acetal is and it’s key qualities, how it compares to Delrin, how you can use it for your projects, along with some helpful links to Online Metals acetal resources.

What is Acetal Plastic?

Acetal (chemically known as polyoxymethylene or POM) is a high-density thermoplastic featuring high strength, stability, and low friction. A synthetic polymer, acetal is produced by several chemical manufacturers under different names, with variations between the different types. It has a glossy finish, and normally takes on a white, opaque appearance like many plastics, but can be dyed in the manufacturing process into a variety of colors. The main advantage of homopolymer when compared to copolymer is lower weight and greater strength, though copolymer acetal is generally cheaper.

Acetal compound Acetal compound

Acetal vs Delrin

While Delrin and acetal share some similarities, there are also key differences. Acetal can be produced as either a homopolymer or copolymer, while Delrin is exclusively a homopolymer. Delrin also features higher tensile strength, making it ideal for structure models. Delrin is more resistant to impact and features low friction. Acetal on the other hand excels in chemical resistance and maintains good structural stability due to its crystalline structure. Keep in mind that neither are recommended in extreme temperature environments.

If you’re factoring in cost, acetal is the better choice for maker projects as Delrin can be more expensive. As long as your acetal components are not subject to too much strain, they will fit into your project without any issues.

Acetal model train Acetal model train

Crafting with Acetal Plastics

As a popular choice for replacing mechanical parts, acetal is useful for a whole range of crafting projects. Mechanical components that aren’t exposed to extreme temperatures can be replaced with acetal parts. You will typically see acetal machined into gears, clamps, spacers, and other such devices. If you’re a gearhead and looking to build up a new car, you can consider acetal components for your next auto project. On the smaller side of things, acetal parts are used in model trains in anything from car couplings to rails. Seems like acetal is pretty versatile!

Looking for Inspiration?

If you’re going to get started on crafting with acetal, the first thing you’ll need is a way to work with plastics. Any sort of cutting machines, mills, or anything else you would work metal parts with. As far as Online Metals can help, we can cut-to-size any of our acetal parts to fit the size and scope of your project, making sure you don’t pay for more than what you need. We also have 6 locations across the US, so you can anticipate relatively quick and secure shipping.

Person maintaining acetal motorcycle parts Person maintaining acetal motorcycle parts

Once you get your acetal, what can you make? A lot! For instance, we offer acetal round rod in natural and black colorations, and even in homopolymer and copolymer types. Among the higher stress applications, acetal rods can be used for motorcycle axle sliders. Not only does this serve as a replacement for metal sliders, but riders can rely on acetal for stability while saving on weight. Putting together a battle bot? If you work with electronics, these same round rods can also be reliably used for electrical insulation while maintaining your bot’s structural stability.

On the other hand, we also offer acetal sheet plate with the same set of options. In addition to use in heavy-duty applications like electronics and cars, sheet plate is an opportunity for smaller projects to shine. For example, laser-cutting acetal sheet/plate can produce things like guitar picks for the musically inclined. Take it one step further and use the same sheet/plate for guitar bridges and frets! And of course, you can always use acetal in art projects like wall sculptures.

Acetal Guitar picks laid on a table Acetal Guitar picks laid on a table

Hopefully now you have a good idea of how you can use acetal in your next project. And if you’re still not sure, consider taking a look at our acetal sample packs. We offer rod packs in natural & black colors, and a black sheet set. Get creative! And make sure to check out our social media to see what other customers are making with plastics. Good luck and happy making!

About Online Metals

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Online Metals is the world’s leading eCommerce metal supplier, specializing in small quantity cut-to-size metals and plastics, delivered in a fast and reliable manner.

Since 1998, Online Metals has expanded our catalog to over 85,000 different cut sizes, grown our national footprint to seven pickup locations across the U.S., and continued to improve upon our best-in-class customer experience.

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