Karl--excellent post. If I may, is the material now available for any "additative" manufacturing process; i.e. 3-D printing, stereo lithography, etc etc. It certainly seems from your post the characteristics are very desirable and have definite applications. Just a thought.
Chain orientation in feedstock before machining can have a large effect on final dimensions. Machining top surfaces of extruded plate can cause internal stresses to release causing warp on a previously flat plate.
Mr Hebel has writtenn a useful article about the challenges found in machining some thermoplastics. All of the points that he made are certainly valid, and the suggested work-arounds will be helpful, no doubt.
But most of the challenges also exist when machining metal parts, except for the moisture absorbtion. The same tips apply when working to produce higher accuracy metal parts as well, although to a somewhat lesser extent. I just wanted to point that out to those who may need to give direction in the macchining of high accuracy parts.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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