Custom Plastic Parts, Materials and Snap Joints

Custom Plastic Parts, Materials and Snap Joints 2018-07-09T18:58:11+00:00

Custom Plastic Parts Made Easy

ClickFold Plastics offers a zero-tooling alternative to injection molding and sheet metal fabrication that makes sourcing high quality custom plastic parts quick and easy. We design , prototype and manufacture parts and enclosures to your specifications. We can also include printed graphics such as markings or logos and add third party components such as fasteners, hinges, latches, handles etc.

We will help you choose the perfect material, offer engineering and industrial design assistance, prepare artwork and other elements to be printed and install third party accessories. We even offer contract assembly and custom packaging.

At ClickFold we eliminate the upfront cost and lead-times associated with traditional manufacturing processes that use molds, fixtures and other hard tooling. As a result our  non-recurring engineering (NRE) costs are minimal. No setup for tooling also means that there no minimum order quantities and that releases can be scheduled on short notice to match the customer’s needs.

Getting started is simple:  Just upload or email a CAD file or drawing receive a firm same-day quote for the initial prototype and subsequent production runs for various quantities.  In most cases the time from quote to first production run is less than a month.

Cost reduction, design flexibility, consistent quality, quick turnaround and just-in-time delivery is our focus and these elements are an integral parts of our ISO9001:2015 quality management system. This and our ongoing investment  in the latest plastics machining technology and large materials inventory is the basis of our our success since our inception in the year 2000. Customers are always welcome to visit our facility in Charlotte, NC and we will be glad to provide references and samples of our work.

Typical Products and Materials

ClickFold Plastics is not just a leader in the design and manufacture of custom enclosures.  Our CNC machining and 3-D production capabilities allow us to produce many common technical parts more effectively than other manufacturers:

  • washers, wedges, shims​, bump guards, rails and drip trays made from HDPE (King Starboard) and UHMW
  • electrical ​and thermal ​insulators ​made from Polyetherimide ​(​​Ultem)
  • safety windows, splash ​and sneeze ​guards ​made from shatterproof Polycarbonate, PC (Lexan, Makrolon)
  • tool ​cribs, holders​, mounting brackets​ and accessory trays​ made from Acetal (Delrin)​
  • self-lubricating sleeves and bushings made from filled Polyamide, PA (Nylon, Nylatron)
  • ​​access panels​, inspection covers​, ​​cable​ & ​connector protectors​ and ​trim pieces ​made from high-impact ABS
  • flame-retardant ​switchboards​, instrument panels​ ​​(with optional printing) made from UL-94V0 rated PC/ABS
  • optical grade ​lenses for ​cameras, ​display screens and dials​ made from Acrylic (PMMA, Optix, Plexiglass, Lucite)
  • light-weight doors, side panels and ​covers made from E-PVC (Sintra, Komatex, Palram)
  • holsters & other body-worn accessories made from ABS/PVC blends (Kydex, Boltaron)
  • signage​ using UV-cured inks on various of substrates including aluminum composites (Di-Bond, Alucabond) ​

These are “simple” parts, but they are often critical to the performance of a product. They are commonly made internally or outsourced to a local shop resulting in higher cost than necessary and/or less than ideal quality.​ Buyers often miss opportunities to reduce material usage, machining and assembly time because engineers and operators are unfamiliar with the unique properties of polymers. A prime example is the use of snap-fit connections (permanent or detachable) instead of one-piece designs or mechanical fasteners. With a wide range of design options and material choices the savings can be substantial but require a thorough understanding of plastics processing and part design (click here for more information on snap-fits).

​Please request a quote to have any of your parts evaluated for improvements – quick and without obligation.

Design Hints

Snap Joints

Snap joints are a very simple, economical and rapid way of join-ing two different components.  All types of snap joints have in common the principle that a protruding part of one component, e.g., a hook, stud or bead is deflected briefly during the joining operation and catches in a depression (undercut) in the mating component. After the joining operation, the snap-fit features should return to a stress-free condition. The joint may be separable or inseparable depending on the shape of the undercut; the force required to separate the components varies greatly according to the design.

Typical Snap-Fit Application

Design Hints

Simple snap-fitting hook
Effects of a fillet radius on stress concentration

A large proportion of snap joints are basically simple cantilever snaps, which may be of rectangular or of a geometrically more complex cross section. It is suggested to design the finger so that either its thickness (h) or width (b) tapers from the root to the hook; in this way the load-bearing cross section at any point bears a more appropriate relation to the local load. The maximum strain on the material can therefore be reduced, and less material is needed. Good results have been obtained by reducing the thickness (h) of the cantilever linearly so that its value at the end of the hook is equal to one-half the value at the root; alternatively, the finger width may be reduced to one-quarter of the base value. The vulnerable cross section is always at the root.  Special attention must
therefore be given to this area to avoid stress concentration. The graph represents the effect the root radius has on stress concentration. At first glance, it seems that an optimum reduction in stress concentration is obtained using the ratio R/h as 0.6 since only a marginal reduction occurs after this point. However, using R/h of 0.6 would result in a thick area at the intersection of the snap-fit arm and its base. Thick sections will usually result in sinks and/or voids which are signs of high residual stress. For this reason, the designer should reach a compromise between a large radius to reduce stress concentration and a small radius to reduce the potential for residual stresses due to the creation of a thick section adjacent to a thin section. Internal testing shows that the radius should not be less than 0.015 in. in any instance.