Manufacturing a product

hello all,

I wanna apologize in advanced for the broad title.

I am in progress of designing a consumer product which will be injection mold (similar to yogurtland spoons - biodegradable plastic). this product will not be exposed to heat, cold, pressure, whether and or rough enviroment and will not contain any movable parts in or outside (sorry but i cant go into details of the product). Even though i am an industrial designer, i am a bit lost to where to start on choosing the right type of material that would be appropriate for my product. many design schools teach sketching, modeling, processes, simple material research however, they dont really prepare us to know all types of plastics. with that being said, can someone please guide me to where i can learn about the different types of plastics to give me in depth knowledge, pros/cons of certain types and which plastics capable of offering certain types of finishes to help in creating a product. all feed back and replies are welcome!

thanks a bunch! :slight_smile:

without much more to go on from your description … disposable plastic “flatware” is generally molded out of polystyrene. While recyclable, it is not biodegradable.

If biodegradability is required you might start investigating PLA resins.

This is one of the most obscure materials I know of, but this thread start reminded me and Lew’s material recommendation drove it home.

Casein plastic. Introduced to me by a Swiss guy that had commercialized a watch (case) from the material. He showed me the watch and the packaging and gave me the pitch.

Plastic made from milk.


Casein plastics were introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, their starting material being the protein in cows milk, precipitated by the action of the enzyme rennin.

Although casein is readily moulded to shape under moderate heat and pressure, it does not produce a stable material for manufacture until it has become hardened by soaking in formalin (5% solution of formaldehyde in water) for a long period. Unfortunately, this causes much distortion so casein plastics are almost always produced by machining stock material such as sheet, rod, tube or buttton blanks (small discs). After machining, casein may be polished either mechanically with abrasives or chemically with a ‘dip polish’.

The material readily takes a surface dye, so coloured items can be quickly made from pale coloured stock items. This was especially important for the button trade which was the principal consumer of casein plastics.

As well as buttons and buckles, casein was also used for knitting pins, fountain pen and propelling pencil barrels, dressing table ware and a host of other items.

Out there. Unfortunately the name of his product was, wait for it, “The Cheese Watch”. Cannot even find it on Google. However, an interesting source of a material that was quite hard and structural feeling for a watch.

Thank you guys! I will look deeper into the information that was provided. i might be back for more questions once i read through the info :wink: