PET (Polyester) Plastic Machining

Your guide to PET Plastic Machining



Readily available and relatively inexpensive

Tough, dimensionally stable plastic

Reinforced grades available for increased strength and rigidity

PET is also known as polyester or polyethylene terephthalate. It is a thermoplastic commonly known under the brand name Ertalyte®. It is a naturally colourless and semi-cristalline material and has very good machinability.

This guide will take you through the main attributes, common applications, notes for designers and suitable finishing and treatments, as well as UK stock sizes and property tables. Don't forget to bookmark the page so you can refer back later.

If you are interested in PET machined parts, please scroll to the bottom of the page for more information about our service and to request a quote.

PET Guide: Properties, Applications and Design Considerations


What is PET?

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a type of semi-aromatic Polyester. PET plastic is a thermoplastic commonly known under the brand name Ertalyte®. It is a naturally colourless and semi-cristalline material.

The most widely used polyester, PET plastic is readily available and relatively inexpensive.

It is a tough, dimensionally stable plastic that offers excellent wear resistance and mechanical strength. It is often reinforced with glass fibers or compounded with silicates or graphite in engineering applications to improve strength and rigidity.

PET has very good machinability and therefore there are few restrictions to consider when machining.

Sharp cutting tools are recommended to avoid chipping during machining.

You may also see PET/Polyester referred to as:

  • Trade names: Ertalyte® PET-P (virgin grade), Ertalyte® TX (bearing grade), TECAPET®, TECADUR PET®, LUMEX®, Vivak®, Axpet®, ArniteTM, Rynite®, Impet®, Polyclear® Crystal™, Petra®, ValoxTM
  • Poly(oxyethyleneoxyterephthaloyl), Poly[(ethane-1,4-diol)-alt-(terephthalic acid)]
  • PETP / PET-P
  • PETE
  • PETG
  • PET ZX

Industry Examples: Instrumentation | Electrical/Electronics | Food technology | Aerospace | Medical | Pharmaceutical | Automotive | Telecommunications


Typical Components & Applications: Base plates | Structural | Gears | Distribution valves | Friction strips | Dynamic seals | Bushes | Packaging machinery parts | Bearing | Rollers | Manifolds | Cases & covers | Switches | Insulation panes | Handles | Housings for appliances

Main Attributes:
  • Relatively high density polyester
  • High strength
  • High hardness and rigity
  • Exceptionally high strength to weight ratio
  • Good creep resistance, even at elevated temperatures
  • Extremely low moisture absorption
  • Outstanding dimensional stability
  • Good temperature stability
  • Good dimensional stability
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Good adhesion and welding ability
  • Excellent wear resistance
  • Excellent stain resistance
  • Good electrical insulating properties
  • Good resistance to high energy radiation
  • Food (FDA) compliant
  • Very good heat and heat ageing resistance
  • Can be used at temperatures from -20 °C to +115 °C
  • Shatterproof
  • Recyclable
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Further Reading & Resources

British Plastics Federation