Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Finishing plastic

This short film explains the processes used to take a rough-cut plastic edge or surface and give it a professional, polished finish.

It lists the tools students will need and guides them through the process step-by step.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • When has one process been completed well enough to move on to the next?
  • How do you achieve quality control in small-scale projects? How would that differ in large scale, commercial manufacturing?
  • In what ways are these processes similar to finishing metal or wood?
  • When might you choose flame polishing over buffing and polishing with a polishing mop or wheel?
  • How might toothpaste be useful as a product for helping to finish plastics? It can be!
  • Would you apply a surface or edge finish to a piece of plastic before or after line bending or drape forming it? Why?

Suggested activities

  • As an FPT, have a competition to create the best polished edge on a rough-cut piece of acrylic.
  • This process can be used to finish a huge range of items which students choose for projects, for example mobile phone holders, personalised bag tags, desk tidies, boombox housings, etc.
  • This process can be adapted to provide a professional finish for a huge range of products and components for KS4 projects.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd/4th levels in Scotland.

More from this series

Finishing wood
Screwing components together
Finishing metal