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Thread: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

  1. #81
    some custom title eh Cannibal23's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Ottawa Ontario Canada

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    ha ha an 18000 view thread is not bad for some dude with 1 rep eh lol. im so glad that everyone is helping out in here and getting the help and advice that they need. plex can be a little scarry when you first start out and are affraid of making mistakes.
    - The stone knows not why the chistle cleves it
    - The steel knows not why the fire scorches it
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  2. #82
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    I haven't had the opportunity to work with this stuff (I will call it acrylic as that seems to be a group term), but am planning a project with it and have learned that there are two kinds: extruded and cast. Given the differences I have read about I was surprised that no one had mentioned it. (They didn't, did they?) Cast acrylic is more expensive, though not prohibitively, and is supposed to cut/sand/form/machine and polish MUCH better than the extruded type. Supposed to have a higher density and higher melting point. Does anyone have any experience with these two different types of acrylic?
    Jaguar Xk
    Last edited by blueonblack; 02-24-2011 at 02:16 PM.

  3. #83
    Wet Paint Xperiment's Avatar
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    Sep 2007

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    This link should give a fair bit of info on the differences between the two types.

    My Worklogs: Reality Bytes / Flux

  4. #84
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    Thanks very much, very helpful.
    Life saber
    Last edited by blueonblack; 02-24-2011 at 02:16 PM.

  5. #85
    100% Recycled Pixels. Twigsoffury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Oklahoma city

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    What about Polycarbonate?

    I'm having alot of problems trying to cut through the stuff its 1 3/4" thick.

    any tips? It's eaten two hole saws and a couple drill bits. oh and a jigsaw blade. If you stop cutting at any point with it in contact the crap just welds itself around it.

    strangest thing i've ever seen.

  6. #86
    Fresh Paint
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    Polycarbonate (Lexan) is a thermoplastic that can be typically cut with a tablesaw using a circular saw blade with carbide teeth, utilizing the "triple chip" tooth design, as the preferred method. Blades for cutting thicker polycarbonate should have three to five teeth per inch with a hook or rake angle of 10- to 15-degrees. Circular saws should be run in the speed range of 6,000 to 8,000 fpm

    Band saws can be used for trimming formed parts or irregular shapes. They should be run at 2,500 to 3,000 fpm and have 8 to 12 teeth per inch. Coarser (larger) blades perform better with thicker gauge polycarbonate sheet. Proper support of the part to be trimmed is important because vibration may induce cracking.

    Routing can put a smooth edge on polycarbonate sheet and can also be used to cut curved or irregular shapes. Routers with at least 1-horsepower motor and speeds of 20,000 to 25,000 rpm are preferred, used with carbide-tipped or high speed steel router bits. Stock must not be feed too fast to prevent vibration and cracking. It is important to feed the sheet against the rotation of the router bit and to provide a fence for sizing when making straight cuts.

    Edges may be finished by planing and sanding, which provides a smooth, matte finish, but flame polishing polycarbonate is not usually acceptable. Instead, after sanding to remove all the tool marks, a cloth dipped in a solvent such as methylene chloride can be used to carefully wipe the sheet's edges. Do not allow the solvent to drip on the sheet face as discoloration will occur.


  7. #87
    Resident 100HP water-cannon operator SXRguyinMA's Avatar
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    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    I jsut placed an order with for some materials for my project, and this thread was very helpful! I order a bunch of extra, because I'm sure I'll mess up. But I'm going to take my time and see how it comes out!

  8. #88

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    Quote Originally Posted by jdbnsn View Post
    Lastly, where can you buy large sheets of it? I think i looked at lowes and Home Depot and neither had it, I had to get some from tybrennis online. But if I needed a large sheet, the shipping would be way too much?
    Thanks a bunch all!
    Depending on quantity, I found a couple places to check out, the prices seemed alright to me... the first, only if you're ordering in quantity, because they have a minimum price per piece (which seems dumb to me, but I guess that's why I don't sell plexi ), the second seemed good. So: , and , they are really the only two that I've looked in-depth at.

    And a question of my own. Working with plexi, and wanting to make a waterproof enclosure. The panels are squared up, and I am concerned about the joint, first. I was thinking of making a square bracket with more plexi, and using ISP Weld-On to seal the pieces to each other. Is there a more effective way to do this, and would this work?

    The second. I have two tanks of water, and need extrusion pipes running between them. The first part of this question is this... how far apart should they be? The are ID .250", OD .5", the walls of the tank are .5". The second part is making the holes where the pipe passes through waterproof. I've looked for gaskets, but that seems to be the wrong application. I was thinking of getting something like a barb from a watercooler or pump, and seating it in the hole, then connecting the pipe, but I'm not sure that will allow liquid to pass through them. Suggestions?
    Fortes Fortuna Adjuvat, Carpe Diem!

  9. #89
    Anodized cvitullo's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Ann Arbor MI

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    I was thinking of making a square bracket with more plexi, and using ISP Weld-On to seal the pieces to each other.
    I don't see why that wouldn't work, as long as you sealed it well enough.

    And after reading through all of this, just thought I'll add my experiences with lexan/acrylic. We used ridiculous amounts of lexan in my high school robotics team, and a dremel works great for cutting it. If you use a high RPM it leaves a fair bit of melted lexan on the edge to file off, but I didn't have any problems with heat distorting the sheet (1/16th inch, btw). Acrylic seems to be waaaay worse from a strength standpoint. I tried drilling holes through it, and it cracked every single time. I've seen some tips recommending drilling backwards, but I haven't tried that. From my experience, I don't think it'd work that well. Lexan's definitely a lot springier than acrylic, which I suppose could be a bad thing if you're using thin sheets over large areas, but 1/8th or 1/4 inch is pretty rigid. Hacksaws work great for rough cuts, and tinsnips work really well for small cuts. I used a bandsaw to cut a 4 foot section with no problems, just make sure to use a fine-toothed blade.
    Be careful bending, it's really easy to go overboard on the heat. We had an absurdly ****ty bend in one part because we used straight up heat with no good edge to bend it on, so make sure you're prepared.
    Like I said, drilling acrylic is frustrating. If you just drill normally, it cracks at least 95% of the time. I got 1 hole out of 9-ish to work well, but that's the only one I've ever succeeded with. Lexan has no problems, just drills straight through.
    Also, if you ever mix up lexan and acrylic, just wobble it. If it makes a "woob-woob" noise, it's lexan. Only works for larger, thinner sheets, though.

    Wow, that was a lot more than I thought it would be.
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  10. #90
    ATX Mental Case AntraxLife's Avatar
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    May 2009

    Default Re: Tips for working with plexi/acrylic

    anyone know how to frost plexi... anyone who can show or explain that to me ?!? im just a noob
    Im Dutch... can i say anything else?!?

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