For many years Macor® glass ceramic, made by Corning, has been almost a standard material when ceramic-like properties are required for short run components required on quick turnaround.
We say 'Ceramic-like' because Macor is neither a glass nor a ceramic, but has properties similar to each family of materials, being an electrical and thermal insulator, a material which is good at high temperature and in corrosive environments, being of relatively low density, and being brittle rather than ductile. For a fuller look at the properties of the material click here
Macor is made by a casting process and is formed into large slabs approx 12" x 12" x 2". From this condition it is sawn up into slabs, sheets, rectangular section rods etc, and may then be further machined to rounds, tubes, discs etc. You can buy it from us in any of these states - obviously the more it is worked the more expensive it will be.
For applications where a machinable material is ideal, but where Macor's properties may not suit the application, there is another machinable material that may do the job which is based on a mixture of Aluminium Nitride and Boron Nitride. This material has a higher bending strength and a much higher thermal conductivity than Macor, or indeed most other ceramics, and tends to be more expensive per unit mass or volume. For a fuller look at the properties of the material click here
The material is produced by powder compaction and sintering rather than casting and is made by Tokuyama Soda in Japan. It has found a good deal of popularity in applications where the parts are small but relatively highly stressed.
Like Macor, it is available from us in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and the maximum size blank, 300 x 300 x 40, is not much smaller than the largest Macor piece. Smaller slabs, sheets, rectangular section rods and round rod or disc products can be supplied, as well as parts to your print.
The manufacturers of Shapal are no longer having it all their own way. With a slab of material costing well over £8000, it is perhaps not surprising that at least one other producer has found a way to make a similar composite material to sell in competition with Shapal.
The properties of our Generic Aluminium Nitride machinable material are pretty much identical to those of Shapal, so if you are experiencing "budget squeeze", why not consider buying this grade instead? A relatively limited range of sizes are available at present, but there is a significant cost saving to be made.