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Everything You Should Know About Living Hinge Plastic

Professional products designers and manufacturers are always looking to improve their designs. They want the best materials that can be used to make sure they will have an excellent product. The same is true with furniture makers who also need high-quality materials to create beautiful pieces of furniture. In fact, there are many different types of hinges available today, but not all of them work well together. This article explains everything you need to know about the plastic living hinge.

living hinge plastic

Recommended Materials for Plastic Living Hinges

Several kinds of plastics can be used as material for making living hinges. However, if you choose one type over another, it depends on your own preference or what kind of application you would like to use these hinges for. For example, some people prefer polyethylene and polypropylene because they boast high melt flow, leading to better injection moldability. On the other hand, some prefer K-Resin (SB) because its properties, such as low shrinkage rate and good chemical resistance, make it suitable for applications where exposure to chemicals is likely. So, let’s take a look at each of those options below.

Polyethylene

This is probably the most popular choice among consumers due to its durability and affordability. PE is straightforward to mold into any shape, and it’s flexible enough to bend easily without breaking. Polyethylene is often found in packaging items such as milk jugs, juice bottles, water containers, etc. You should note that although PE is great for creating living hinges, it does tend to wear out quickly after being exposed to moisture. It may crack when subjected to heat or cold temperatures. Therefore, it should only be used in areas that won’t get too much direct sunlight. If you’re going to use PE to make living hinges, you’ll need to seal it before putting it through the manufacturing process. Otherwise, it might dry up and become brittle.

K-resin SB

If you don’t mind spending more money than usual, then you should consider buying K-Resin. SR has been known to withstand extreme conditions, including temperature changes and humidity levels. Because of its superior strength, it can last longer than others. Moreover, it doesn’t absorb oil from food and drinks, unlike PE. That means you shouldn’t worry about having to clean off grease stains every time you open the refrigerator door.

Designing Tips for Living Hinge Explained

The following tips will help you understand how to properly design a living hinge.

Choose the right material

When choosing the right material for your project, you must keep in mind that the material needs to meet certain requirements. Some examples include; flexibility, toughness, ease of processing, cost-effectiveness, corrosion resistance, and environmental friendliness. When selecting a material, you should ask yourself questions such as; “What am I trying to accomplish? What do I expect my finished piece to look like? How durable do I want it to be? Will it be exposed to harsh environments? Is it important for me to recycle it later?” These factors will determine whether you should go with a particular material or not.

Gate placement

It is also important to know where exactly you plan to place your gate. The location of the opening determines the direction in which the hinge bends. This could either be horizontal or vertical depending on the desired effect. In general, placing gates closer to the centerline of the product creates an easier transition between two surfaces, while placing them further away produces sharper angles.

Dimensions

You should always make sure that the dimensions of your hinge fit within the specifications set by the manufacturer. There are many different sizes available, so you have plenty of choices to pick from. Also, remember that larger products require bigger hinges. As long as you follow the guidelines provided by the company, there’s no reason you couldn’t create something unique.

Four Primary Plastic Living Hinge Types

There are four primary types of living hinges made using plastics. They include:

Straight hinge

These are easy types of living hinge designs because they consist of just one part. They can be segmented at various points along their length. Straight hinged parts usually come in three forms; straight, curved, and angled.

Butterfly hinge

This offer bistable hinge action, meaning that it opens both ways. Butterfly hinges are commonly seen indoors, cabinets, drawers, and other similar applications. Butterflies are typically constructed from multiple pieces, but some manufacturers produce single-piece butterflies.

Child-resistant hinge

A child-resistant hinge prevents children under five years old from easily accessing items inside containers. It consists of a locking mechanism that requires adults to use special tools to release the latch before being able to access contents. Child-resistant hinges are often used in medicine cabinet lids, bathroom fixtures, and kitchen appliances.

Double/triple hinge

The double/triple hinge has two or more sections that move together when opened. Double/triple hinges are most common in furniture and cabinetry. A typical example would be a door that swings open into a room instead of outwards towards another space.

Key Considerations of Plastic Living Hinges

If you’re planning about integrating a living hinge into your next project, here are some things you need to consider first.

Cost

Cost is obviously going to play a significant role in determining what type of hinge you choose. You’ll probably find that the price range varies greatly among companies offering these products. However, if you’re looking for high-quality materials and professional services, then you may end up spending quite a bit of money. If you don’t care too much about how expensive your final product is, then you might try finding cheaper alternatives.

Adaptability

When choosing a material for your hinge, keep in mind whether or not it will work with all kinds of shapes and styles. For instance, if you want to integrate a living hinge into a rectangular box, you’d better choose a flexible material like polypropylene. On the other hand, if you want to build a round tabletop, you’d better look for a rigid material such as ABS.

Aesthetics

Another key consideration is aesthetics. In general, people prefer smooth surfaces over rough ones. Therefore, if you plan on making an attractive surface, you’d better opt for a smoother material. Of course, you could also combine several materials together to achieve the desired effect. But again, you’ll have to pay attention to the overall appearance of your finished product.

Frictionless

It’s important to note that friction between moving components should always be avoided. This means that you shouldn’t make any kind of contact with them. Otherwise, you’ll get stuck whenever you attempt to close the container. So, if possible, avoid using metal springs or rubber bands. Instead, stick to non-friction mechanisms such as magnets or magnetic strips. These options provide a reliable way to hold the lid closed without causing damage to its contents.

Flexibility

Flexible plastics can bend and stretch while maintaining their shape. They tend to be less durable than metals, but they do offer greater flexibility. As long as you pick one that won’t crack after repeated bending, you’ll be fine. The downside is that they aren’t very strong, so you’ll have to take extra precautions when handling them. Also, since they lack rigidity, they can cause problems during shipping.

Durability, durability, lifespan

Durability refers to the ability of a material to withstand wear and tear. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it lasts longer than others. After all, there isn’t really anything special about plastic compared to other materials. What matters is how well it holds up against everyday use. That said, it is recommended to sticking to those made from stronger materials.

Applications for Plastic Living Hinge

Plastic living hinge has many applications. Here are some examples:

Consumer applications

1. Cosmetic Compacts:

This is a common application because most cosmetic compact cases come equipped with hinges. Moreover, they usually include a small magnet inside, which makes opening easier.

2. Toolboxes

Toolboxes often feature a hinged cover that opens easily by pressing down on the center of the case.

3. Bottle caps for a drink, food, personal hygiene products

Bottle caps for drinks, foods, personal care items are commonly used as containers. They’re easy to open and close and don’t require tools. However, these caps may break under heavy loads. To prevent this problem, you might consider adding a plastic living hinge to the cap itself.

Industrial applications

1. Weatherproof outdoor cabinets

Outdoor storage units like garden sheds, tool chests, etc., need to keep out rainwater and snow to protect their contents. A good option would be a weatherproof cabinet door.

2. Hinged parts used in the HVAC system

HVAC systems consist of various parts, including ducts, vents, fans, filters, heaters, air conditioners, humidifiers, thermostats, etc. All these parts must be connected properly to ensure proper functioning. If not done correctly, the whole unit will fail. For example, if you install a fan incorrectly, then it will blow hot air instead of cold air. Or if you connect the heater upside down, it will burn everything around it.

3. Outdoor door hinges

If your home needs an exterior door, chances are that it comes with a set of hinges. You’d better check whether they work before installing them outdoors. There are several things to look at first. First off, does the door swing freely? Does it stay put even though you push hard? Is it sturdy enough to handle windy conditions? Do you want to replace old ones with new ones? Check each part carefully before buying.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, a plastic living hinge offers great versatility. It’s flexible, lightweight, affordable, and versatile. With its wide range of uses, you should definitely give it a try!

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