Resin Buttons VS Plastic Buttons: Understanding the Differences

resin buttons

The term “resin button” and ”plastic button” are often interchangeable with each other, and also sometimes creating confusion for those who don’t really know the differences.

In this guide, we will discuss all the main differences between the two button types, as well as discussing the key areas you should focus on so that you can make a better purchase decision when choosing between the two.

Differences Between Resin and Plastic
One of the most common misconception regarding resin and plastic is that resin is a form of plastic material. Actually, it’s the other way around, plastic is a form of resin.

The main difference here is the source: we describe resin as a chemical compound that is obtained from plants, and so it is all-natural. Resin usually has a clear, yellowish color and is highly viscous. The original form of resin is a volatile liquid, but it will harden into a transparent solid material when processed.

Plastic, on the other hand, is a synthetic chemical compound, and so we can actually call plastic as the synthetic resin. Generally, plastics are made from petrochemicals in combination with natural materials. We can further categorize plastics into several different subtypes such as acrylics, polyesters, silicones, polyurethanes, and many more. There are also plastic materials that are mostly made from renewable plant material known as bioplastics.

Differences Between Resin Buttons and Plastic Buttons
Besides the difference in raw material, as we have discussed above, another key difference between resin buttons and plastic buttons lies in their manufacturing processes.

As we have discussed, the raw resin material is in a liquid form, and so this liquid substance goes through the processes of heating, cooling, solidifying, cutting, etc. These processes are applied via the mould cavity. Another manufacturing process that is commonly used is coating the roller surface with liquid resins, which are then solidified. Then, the solid resin is molded and pressed into the intended form, as well as other subsequent processes.

Plastic buttons, on the other hand, are manufactured from solid substances and are made through an injection molding process.

Due to those different manufacturing processes, resin buttons look cleaner and brighter on the surface. They are also thicker and heavier, and so are more suitable for various applications. Plastic buttons, however, have the advantage of an easier molding process, and so can be shaped in a wider variety of forms. This also makes electroplating easier on plastic buttons.

Important Terms Regarding Resin and Plastic Buttons
Below are commonly used terms when discussing resin and plastic buttons, as well as their definitions.

Polyester Buttons
The term ”polyester” is most commonly referring to a plastic subtype called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and so polyester buttons belong to the plastic buttons group.

Urea Buttons
Urea is a completely organic material that is very resistant to heat processing, belonging to the resin material group. It is quite difficult to make urea buttons since the raw material is very expensive.

Chalk Buttons
Chalk buttons are manufactured of unsaturated polyester resin material in combination with other chemicals. Chalk buttons can be dyed with pigment and can also come in various colors for DTM orders.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
ABS is a thermoplastic polymer material commonly used to make plastic buttons. ABS is a very tough material with very high impact and heat resistance, and so is very durable.

Acrylic Buttons
Acrylic is the term commonly used to describe polymethyl methacrylate, a form of plastic material known for its lightness, toughness, and transparency.

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