Snap Joint: An Essential Component in the Production of Prototype Plastic Parts(rivet in sheet metal Bartholomew)

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When it comes to producing prototype plastic parts, precision and accuracy are crucial. CNC (computer numerical control) machining plays a significant role in ensuring these requirements are met. One specific component that is commonly utilized in the production of prototype plastic parts is the snap joint. In this article, we will explore what a snap joint is, its importance in the manufacturing process, and how it can be produced using CNC technology.

What is a Snap Joint?

A snap joint is a type of fastening mechanism used to connect two or more plastic components together securely. It allows for quick assembly and disassembly without the need for tools or additional hardware such as screws or bolts. The joint works by utilizing the flexibility of the plastic material, allowing one part to "snap" into the other, creating a firm connection.

Importance of Snap Joints in Manufacturing:

Snap joints play a vital role in the manufacturing process, particularly when dealing with prototype plastic parts. They offer several advantages compared to traditional methods of joining plastic components:

1. Cost-Effective: Snap joints eliminate the need for additional hardware, reducing production costs significantly.

2. Time-Saving: Because snap joints require no tools or hardware, they speed up the assembly process, resulting in shorter production times.

3. Versatility: Snap joints offer designers more flexibility in terms of form and function. Different types of snap joints, such as tongue-and-groove or cantilever designs, can be tailored to suit specific design requirements.

4. Simplified Disassembly: Snap joints allow for easy access and removal of components, facilitating maintenance or repair tasks.

Producing Snap Joints Using CNC Technology:

CNC technology revolutionized the manufacturing industry by offering precise and efficient production processes. To produce snap joints using CNC machining, the following steps are typically involved:

Step 1: Designing the Snap Joint:
The first step is to create a detailed design of the snap joint. This includes determining the dimensions, location, and shape of the joint within the plastic components. CAD (computer-aided design) software is commonly used for this purpose. Design considerations should include material properties, such as flexibility and strength, to ensure optimal functionality.

Step 2: Material Selection:
Choosing the right plastic material is crucial in creating functional snap joints. Factors such as strength, flexibility, and durability need to be taken into account. Common plastics utilized for manufacturing prototype parts include ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), polypropylene, and polycarbonate.

Step 3: CNC Machining:
Once the design and material selection are complete, the production process begins with CNC machining. The CNC machine follows precise instructions from computerized programs to accurately cut or mill the plastic components according to the designated dimensions and shapes. Snap joint features, such as undercuts or protrusions, can also be machined into the parts to ensure a secure fit.

Step 4: Post-Machining Operations:
After the initial CNC machining process, additional post-machining operations may be required. These can include surface finishing, deburring sharp edges, or adding threaded inserts if necessary.

Step 5: Assembly and Testing:
Finally, the manufactured plastic components are assembled using snap joints. Thorough testing ensures that the joints function as intended, providing a secure connection between the parts without any undesirable movement or detachment.


Snap joints are undoubtedly essential components in the production of prototype plastic parts. With their cost-effectiveness, time-saving benefits, versatility, and ease of disassembly, snap joints offer numerous advantages over traditional methods of joining plastic components. Utilizing CNC technology in producing these joints ensures both precision and accuracy throughout the manufacturing process. By incorporating snap joints into their designs, manufacturers can achieve efficient assembly processes and produce high-quality prototype plastic parts. CNC Milling CNC Machining