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Plastic for outdoor use

Posted by WhiskeyMike 
Plastic for outdoor use
February 03, 2014 08:15PM
What plastic would be best for outdoor use? Are any especially good against UV sun damage and hold up longer? Specifically looking to make brackets for use on a Jeep.
Re: Plastic for outdoor use
February 04, 2014 09:04PM
Well, PLA has a very low glass transition temp, so eventually it will warp on or in a car. I took some videos this summer of PLA parts warping on my Jeep's dashboard and seat. It was between 90°F (32.2°C) and 93°F with a partially overcast / partially sunny day. So I wouldn't recommend PLA for outdoors. Once the dash temp hit close to 130°F (55°C) the PLA parts warped like sticks of chewing gum. Once the parts were taken outside, they immediately set up with the warp intact.

ABS would last longer in or on a car, but I am unaware of any filament supplier that uses a UV inhibitor in their resin. Over time, it won't be color fast. Chi Mei 927 doesn't have it in it, and that is the most popular ABS. It's just a general purpose extrusion grade ABS.

Polycarbonate will also work, but no UV inhibitors. Also all Polcarbonate that is in or on a car will eventually "craze" - just check the headlights of 10+ year old cars. The micro cracks / fogging is because the Polycarbonate is slowly degrading in the sunlight. On top of that, Polycarbonate is degraded by hydrocarbon oils (yes, the same stuff that keeps your car running).

Nylon is flexible and doesn't glue well (or come in bright or solid colors).

HIPS, would be too brittle, and also wouldn't have a UV inhibitor.

I would guess that ABS would be your current best bet. Your interior liftgate of you jeep is made out of ABS (as well as a bunch of interior trim components). No components for automotive applications are made out of PLA, and they never will be.
Re: Plastic for outdoor use
February 10, 2014 05:01PM
Great, thank you. Is there a finish that can be applied to ABS that would provide outdoor protection? I would guess that paint would help, but would be prone to cracking/flaking with flex. I'd imagine that bed liner would work and has a bit of elasticity to it, but not sure if the chemicals would affect the ABS strength, like an Acetate.

I'll have to try a few and see how it works.
Re: Plastic for outdoor use
February 10, 2014 07:26PM
Post a pic of the bracket and it's location on the Jeep.
I'm curious if it's cosmetic, or structural, i.e. will you put someones life at risk.

You can also plate it with Nickel.

Electroplating ABS prints from Prusa i3 - Problems
Re: Plastic for outdoor use
February 10, 2014 07:34PM
If you know someone with a filament extruder or you feel like building one yourself, ASA resin is available here. It's billed as one of the most weatherable plastics. Alternatively, if you're in the US, I can send you some ASA if you're interested.
Re: Plastic for outdoor use
February 11, 2014 09:13AM
Thanks, appreciate it.

A2, lol, no lives will be endangered with this stuff. The first item is a switch panel box above the windshield. The other pieces are for LED mounts for fog and rock lights.
Re: Plastic for outdoor use
February 11, 2014 10:00AM
UV protection.

Lacquer based for hard plastics:
Self Etching Primer (for plastics).
Primer (for plastics).
Primer surfacer, (fills voids, not necessary).
Re: Plastic for outdoor use
July 16, 2014 02:14AM
Sorry to revive and old thread, but I noticed Diamond Age carries ASA (UV protected ABS) filament.

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