Info courtesy of McMaster-Carr
- Aluminum - Aluminum alloys are strong,
naturally soft, lightweight, ductile and malleable. They are easy to machine,
fabricate, join and work. Aluminum is non-toxic and electrically and thermally
- Brass - Brass resists atmospheric corrosion,
water, and many salt water solutions. A high percentage of zinc makes it
stronger and more durable than copper and bronze. It is easy to manufacture and
maintains higher electrical characteristics.
- Bronze - This copper and tin alloy is
generally ductile and malleable. Its high copper content makes it more corrosion
resistant than brass. It is also harder and stronger than copper.
- Cerro Alloys - Ideal for casting, these low
melting-temperature alloys expand as they solidify, pushing into every crevice
of the mold for superior duplication. Easy to machine and tool, they're also
good for repairing broken dies and patterns. Includes ingots and wire.
- Copper - Copper is corrosion resistant and
highly ductile. Great for electrical applications.
- Iron - Iron is soft, ductile and malleable. It
is supplied oversize "as cast" to allow for final finishing to the sizes
- Lead - Lead is easy to form, even to irregular
surfaces. It functions well as a sound and vibration absorber and prevents
corrosion when used as a lining. RULE ALERT:
HAZARDOUS METALS SUCH AS LEAD CANNOT BE USED IN ANY BATTLEBOT
- Nickel - Nickel features outstanding oxidation
and chemical resistance. Some nickel maintains exceptional strength at very high
temperatures. Commonly used in chemical processing, marine components and heat
exchangers. Includes several alloys, including Monel, Inconel, and Hastelloy
- Stainless Steel - Stainless steels are alloys
of iron to which at least 10% chromium has been added to impart corrosion
resistance. A 10% chromium steel will not rust when exposed to weather. To
obtain greater corrosion resistance, more nickel and chromium are added to the
alloy. Along with iron and chromium, all stainless steels contain some carbon.
The carbon is added for the same purpose as in ordinary steels- to make steel
stronger. Other alloying elements are added for improved corrosion resistance,
fabricability and variations in strength. These elements include nickel,
molybdenum, copper, titanium, silicone, aluminum, sulfur and many others.
- Steel - Steel is iron that has been combined
with other elements such as carbon, manganese and silicon. It falls into one of
two families: carbon steel or alloy steel. Carbon steels are basic steels which
harden only with surface (case) treatments. Alloy steels contain added elements
that cause the steel to exhibit enhanced properties when heat treated.
- Tin - Tin is inherently soft and is readily
alloyed with lead, antimony, silver, copper and other metals to form solder and
- Titanium - Very strong yet lightweight,
titanium has excellent corrosion resistance and a melting point of 3000° F. Cut
it with sharp tooling and ample cutting fluid at slow speeds and high feed
- Tungsten Carbide - Tungsten has good hardness
and provides strong abrasion resistance. Choose between two different grades of
tungsten carbide, in either ball or rod form.
ABS - This tough and impact-resistant
thermoplastic is used in electronic housings, auto parts, consumer products,
pipe fittings, waste pipes, and automotive interior and exterior trim.
Acetal - A good electrical insulator,
Acetal is also wear, moisture and chemical resistant. Acetal's applications
include pump and valve components, electrical components, gears and bearings.
Includes Delrin, glass-filled Delrin and acetal copolymers.
Acrylic - This clear material is used in
displays, windows and outdoor signs. Includes extruded and cast acrylic.
Cellulose - This transparent and
weather resistant thermoplastic is used in box windows, printing, shipping
tubes, laminations and pneumatic conveyors.
Fiberglass - Fiberglass materials
have excellent impact and tensile strength. Standard fiberglass is ideal for
structural applications with weight restrictions. Electrical grade is excellent
for insulating electrical applications.
Fluoropolymers - These materials have
good impact strength and are easy to machine. Most of the fluoropolymers can
withstand high temperatures and have good chemical resistance. Some
fluoropolymers, such as Teflon, are extremely slippery (friction resistant).
Applications include glides, weatherstrips, gasketing, valves and liners.
Materials include TeflonŽ (PTFE), ETFE (Tefzel), FEP, PFA, PVDF (Kynar), and
Garolite - This material is formed
from fibers or glass fabrics woven in resins to form a laminate. These materials
are generally excellent electrical insulators. Garolite also has good tensile
and impact strength. Common applications for this material include electrical
insulation, templates and tabletops.
High Performance Plastics - These
various high-end plastics can withstand extremely high temperatures. All high
performance plastics have superior tensile strength and applications include
aerospace, medical/surgical tools, chip nests, bushings and semiconductor
processing fixtures. Includes polyphenylene oxide (modified NorylŽ),
polysulfone, PEEK, carbon-filled PEEK, glass-filled PEEK, polyetherimide
(Ultem), polyimide, polyamide-imide (Torlon), glass-filled polyamide-imide
(Torlon), polyimide (Vespel), and PBI (Celazole).
Natural Hard Fiber - Natural hard
fiber is an effective electrical insulator with excellent tensile strength. It
has outstanding physical properties and can be steam softened for
Nylon - Ideal for applications such
as bushings, pulleys, electrical housings, food applications and gears. Nylon
has excellent strength and because of its slippery (friction resistant)
qualities can be an economic alternative to UHMW in some applications.
Polycarbonate - This material is
optically clear and has high tensile strengths. Also features good to excellent
impact resistance, unlike optically clear acrylic. Use in windows, machine
guards, privacy and institutional glazing. Includes sheets, rods, discs, and
Polyester - This strong material is
a good electrical insulator. Optically clear PETG is commonly used as an
economical alternative to polycarbonate. Common applications include food
handling, printing equipment, displays, printing equipment, valves and indoor
Polyethylene - A flexible plastic
used in environmental barriers, trays, vapor barriers, cutting boards, tote
boxes, chain guides, among other applications. Includes LDPE (Low-Density
Polyethylene), HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) and UHMW (Ultra-High Molecular
Weight) polyethylene. UHMW is a slippery and impact resistant material that can
be an economical alternative to Teflon.
Polypropylene - This lightweight,
nontoxic and scratch-resistant material works well for a variety of industrial
applications. Features good electrical insulation and impact strength
properties. Commonly used in tanks, ducts, exhaust systems, gaskets, sporting
goods, pharmaceuticals, electronics, chemical and beverage processing.
Polystyrene - Used in food
containers, displays, and printing applications, polystyrene is dimensionally
stable and impact resistant. Includes sheets and rods.
PVC - This thermoplastic is
corrosion, weather and impact resistant. Applications include pumps, hoods,
valves, fittings, electrical boxes and filters. Includes Type I and Type II PVC,
CPVC, expanded rigid PVC, and ABS/PVC.