Material Alternatives for Plastic Injection Moulding

During material supply shortages, consider these resin substitutes for ABS, PC, PP, and other commonly moulded thermoplastics.

16 Mar, 2022

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Material Alternatives for Plastic Injection Moulding

Navigating supply chain issues is a constant challenge, especially in times of material shortages. So we looked at the more commonly used materials and compiled a list of substitution options that can serve well as replacements.

Choosing which ones to use will depend on material properties and the intended functions of your parts. Each section delves into those material properties and reasoning behind the alternative recommendations to provide insight into additional resin options.

With these options in mind, this guide lists alternative materials for common injection-moulded thermoplastics. Please be advised that we may not stock all of the materials discussed on this list. We are constantly evaluating our supply base, so feel free to contact us for up-to-date material availability.

In addition, 3D printing materials could potentially be an option, though not a 1:1 option of course. Materials must be suited to the application itself in order to have successful results.

For more information on materials generally, including detailed data sheets, visit our Materials Comparison Guide.


Common Thermoplastics and Their Material Alternatives


Plastic: ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene)

Trade Names: Lustran, Cycolac, Polylac, RTP

Alternatives: PSU, ASA, COC, PPO

3DP Alternatives: ABS-Like stereolithography

CNC Alternatives: ABS


Plastic: ABS/PC (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene/Polycarbonate)

Trade Names: Bayblend, Cycoloy    

Alternatives: PSU, ASA, PPO

3DP Alternatives: ABS-Like and PC-Like stereolithography

CNC Alternatives: ABS or PC (Tecanat)


Plastic: HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

Trade Names: Marlex, Hostalen, Petrothene

Alternatives: PP, PPO

3DP Alternatives: PP selective laser sintering

CNC Alternatives: HDPE (Tecafine)


Plastic: HIPS (High-Impact Polystyrene)

Alternatives: PMMA, ASA, PPO

CNC Alternative: PMMA (Tecacryl)


Plastic: PA Nylon (Polyamide)

Trade Names: Hylon, Minion, RTP, Stanyl, Vydyne, Zytel

Alternatives: SPS, PSU, PESU, PPSU, PPA, PPO

3DP Alternatives: PA Nylon selective laser sintering and Multi Jet Fusion

CNC Alternatives: PA6, PA66, PPSU


Plastic: PC (Polycarbonate)

Trade Names: Hylex, Lexan, Makrolon, RTP

Alternatives: PSU, COC, PMMA

3DP Alternatives: PC-Like stereolithography

CNC Alternatives: PC (tecanat), PMMA (Tecacryl), PSU


Plastic: PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

Trade Name: Rynite

Alternatives: SPS, PCT, PSU, PPO

CNC Alternatives: PET (Tecapet), PSU


Plastic: PP (Polypropylene)

Trade Names: Thermylene, Polyfort, Pro-fax, Hostacom

Alternatives: PE, PPO

3DP Alternatives: PP selective laser sintering

CNC Alternatives: PP (Tecafine), PE-UHMW


Plastic: PPA (Polyphthalmide)

Trade Names: Amodel, Zytel, HTN

Alternatives: PPS, PEEK, PEI, PSU, PESU, PPSU

CNC Alternatives: PEEK (Tecapeek), PEI, PSU, PPSU


Plastic: POM (Acetal)

Trade Names: RTP, Celcon, Delrin

Alternatives: PP

3DP Alternatives: PP selective laser sintering

CNC Alternatives: POM (Copolymer, Homopolymer), PP


Read the white paper here for a full breakdown of material alternatives ->

16 Mar, 2022

More about Protolabs

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Protolabs is the world’s fastest digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. We use advanced injection moulding, CNC machining and 3D printing technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for product designers... learn more

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