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OfflineMacQ
journeyman

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 38
Last seen: 15 years, 2 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)?
    #270124 - 03/12/01 09:12 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

If the acrylic is 1/8" (or less) then the best/easiest way is to scribe and break it. You can get an acrylic scribing tool at hardware stores for cheap. You can probably also scribe with a knife but the tool is sooooo much easier.

For thicker material, use almost any saw (hand or power) where the teeth are not offset from each other. If you use a jigsaw (that's what I use most of the time) make sure to run it at a slow speed to avoid melting the material. Circular saws work also. Both may cause little chips along the edge you're cutting but if what you're after if functionality that won't matter. A router works best but is the hardest to use without a special table. Leave the protective layer on the sheet until you're done (or put masking tape on both sides along the cut line before cutting).

I don't know about tolulene. If you're looking for 'glue' what you want is a solvent called methylene chloride (sold under lots of brand names eg - Weldon but it's all the same stuff. It comes in liquid and thickened forms and the only place I've had luck finding it is at acrylic supply wholesalers. Check your yellow pages.

Other types of solvent glues (eg tolulene) will probably work well enough for many applications. Most of my acrylic work comes from building aquariums where the seams have to be perfect to hold water under pressure. For a glovebox or chamber that wouldn't be such a big deal.

Silicone will not work worth a damn at holding pieces of plexi together but it is good to fill gaps & make sloppy seams airtight.

In any case, get some C-clamps and clear off a desk so you can clamp the piece down before you try to cut it. The worst thing is having your sheet vibrate while cutting - a sure method to get cracks in your material.

Hope that helps.



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OfflineMacQ
journeyman

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 38
Last seen: 15 years, 2 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)?
    #270151 - 03/12/01 09:33 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

It's been a while since I bought anything smaller than a 4X8 sheet (~$100 for 1/4" at plastics supply house). IIRC a 3X6 sheet of 1/4" was about $50 at Home Depot. Smaller pieces are available.

1/8" is probably what most here will want though and I really don't have current prices.

Whatever you're going to do, I recommend you make a model out of cardboard first. You can hack and chop and tape the pieces together and then use it as a pattern before you start cutting.

This will help you decide where to cut & glue and where to bend instead. Big tip - bending is BETTER than cutting & making a seam. It's stronger, much easier, and looks better.



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Invisiblepsilocybe cubensis
Blood, guts, andbroken teeth.

Registered: 08/10/00
Posts: 1,220
Loc: Lost Angels
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? *DELETED* [Re: MacQ]
    #270152 - 03/12/01 09:37 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

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OfflineMacQ
journeyman

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 38
Last seen: 15 years, 2 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: psilocybe cubensis]
    #270157 - 03/12/01 09:49 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

Well, let's say you want to make a clear box. You could cut 6 pieces and glue them all together. You would have a total of 12 seams to fit and glue this way.

Or you could cut the 2 end pieces and make the middle out of 1 big piece bent 3 times to form a box. This way you have 9 seams.

My experience has been that it's hard to cut a really straight and smooth line in plexi. But you can clamp the piece to your bench and use a propane torch to heat along the part hanging over the edge until it's soft enough to bend. The bent 'corner' is much stronger than a glued corner and looks real pro as a bonus.

LOL - did that make sense? This is harder to explain than it is to do. I have a website with lots of pictures explaining this stuff. Let me give this some thought. I'm reluctant to open up my 'public' website in this forum - maybe I can copy some of the relevant stuff over to the AOL account I'm using here.





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Invisiblepsilocybe cubensis
Blood, guts, andbroken teeth.

Registered: 08/10/00
Posts: 1,220
Loc: Lost Angels
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? *DELETED* [Re: MacQ]
    #270159 - 03/12/01 09:53 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

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OfflineMacQ
journeyman

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 38
Last seen: 15 years, 2 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: psilocybe cubensis]
    #270163 - 03/12/01 10:14 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)
Log in to view attachment

Here's an example of what might work as an easy glovebox with tons of room & visibility. This is one piece with 2 bends. It butts up against the wall, has a clean trashbag over the wood bench and a piece of plastic with a couple slits in the front. It would be easy to attach a front with actual gloves and also easy to put on a bottom & back (which don't need to be clear so could be anything).

This one is this size and shape because it was a scrap piece left over from an aquarium I never built - it is very roomy tho and if you sit on a high stool, you can look right down on your work. It could be bigger or smaller or narrower or taller - your choice. You can get 1 piece of plexi, throw on a couple bends and you're off to the races.

Dunno if html works here or how the attachments work. If nothing else works here's the url.

http://members.aol.com/skippy8021/pics/DCP00855s.jpg



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OfflineMNmyc
enthusiast

Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 175
Loc: MN
Last seen: 10 years, 4 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)?
    #270175 - 03/12/01 10:29 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

I just bought a sheet 18x30x1/8 and it was only about $3 at home depot.

Help... I'm typing and I can't shut-up!


--------------------
Life is what happens while you're making other plans...


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Offlinemorlahere
addict
Registered: 08/16/00
Posts: 93
Last seen: 13 years, 6 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: MacQ]
    #270282 - 03/12/01 02:38 PM (16 years, 4 months ago)

macq
where've you been all my life?
wish you were here a month or so ago.
i've finished (sort of) my home made mcman and was really looking forward to doing a nice job on it but...... that plexiglass isn't/wasn't that easy to work with.
a friend gave me some good sheets of plexi to play with.
about 1/4" thick. one piece was a dome from a shop display and i glued 2 ends on it.
i looked all over the net trying to find the right glues and ended up (1st time) using a heat/glue gun. this lasted mmmm.... 2 days.
then i got a two part glue supposed for plexi. it's hanging in there but only just.
i was thinking of pvc welding it. would that work?
also i used the jigsaw but the ends look a bit tatty. i thought of finishing/tydying it up with a grinder? but was worried that would melt it. any ideas?
oh yeah, and the glue ran all down the ends! looks shitty and what i was hoping for was a pro job, now what i've got looks like a retarded monkey made it.





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OfflineMacQ
journeyman

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 38
Last seen: 15 years, 2 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: morlahere]
    #270296 - 03/12/01 03:14 PM (16 years, 4 months ago)

Working with acrylic isn't that hard but you gotta get over that learning curve, just like most anything else.

I suspect that some PVC glues are similar to acrylic glues in that they are really solvents but haven't tried any of them. If you live in or near a decent sized city you should be able to find a plastics supply house in your Yellow Pages. I would recommend finding the right stuff if it's at all possible.

The key with the jigsaw is to go slow. I run my jigsaw as slow as it will go and still cut as I put pressure on it. Afterwards I use a roughcut metal file to smooth the seams. If I want them smoother still after that I use a metal scraper on the edge. Once it is smooth you can torch the edge and get a mirror finish.

As I said earlier, I always bend when possible instead of cut & seam.




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Anonymous

Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: MacQ]
    #270697 - 03/13/01 03:21 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

Ok, so how would you recommend cutting the arm holes in the plexiglass... two perfect 8 inch holes, without buying a $35.00 special drill bit? I used a heat gun and a long kitchen knife and sawed away while heating it.... but the final product was mickey mouse. The local plastic company wanted over $100.00 to do this, the assholes.... but it WAS not one, but TWO 8 inch holes for them to drill, so I guess they werent askng a WHOLE lot of money for that kind of labor eh... ya think?! ... the assholes. :) anyways, your input



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OfflineMNmyc
enthusiast

Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 175
Loc: MN
Last seen: 10 years, 4 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: morlahere]
    #270706 - 03/13/01 04:04 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

bend if you can, or use the glue that has always been there to miter corners... Acrylic technology hasn't progressed much from the eighties. Btw Roto-zips are like dremels on steroids and they have a circle guide. a fine sandpaper will clean up the edge.
I have to dig in the attic, but I'll post a really cool joint when I find the catalog. They're only 3 blocks away and they had just the thing to fix the bong I blew up, plus a half inch thick book of paper with descriptions of other stuff also...

And if other sellers, ie the hardware store, won't cut it for free, then they don't want you as a customer. I vote with my wallet.

Help... I'm typing and I can't shut-up!

Edited by MNmyc on 03/13/01 04:22 AM.



--------------------
Life is what happens while you're making other plans...


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OfflineMacQ
journeyman

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 38
Last seen: 15 years, 2 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: Anonymous]
    #270732 - 03/13/01 05:47 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

Ah, large holes are a bit of a problem without the right tools. I've never needed to create "pretty" holes so I use my Dremmel with a steel-cutter bit to create "pretty good" holes. In the case of a glovebox, I'd guess pretty good would be good enough. You're going to have whatever you use to seal the gloves to the hole covering your work.

8" is a BIG hole. I doubt most hardware stores could do it - I know they won't (for free anyway) at Home Depot. All they will do is straight cuts at 90 degree angles.

If I didn't have the Dremmel I would probably drill a series of small holes around the circle and then use a coping saw blade to cut between the holes.

Lemme give this one some more thought...



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OfflineShroomzilla
enthusiast

Registered: 02/04/01
Posts: 177
Loc: Texas, home of the longho...
Last seen: 15 years, 4 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: MNmyc]
    #270733 - 03/13/01 05:48 AM (16 years, 4 months ago)

Definately heat and bent what you can. for the seams you will have, aquarium cement is perfect and looks good. Construction adhesive will work too and is cheaper, but it looks like shit.

for hole cutting, you can buy the "rotozip" side cutting bits and chuck one up in a router. They make several types of these blades, get the type labeled for "plastic laminates" or Formica. you can cut it with a jig saw and the correct blade, but it vibrates like heck, and if you make it too fast, the plastic will melt and foul up your blade. A circle cutter for tile also works, but it takes a LONG tome to get through anything more than 1/8" thick.



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OfflineMacQ
journeyman

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 38
Last seen: 15 years, 2 months
Re: Need help with acrylic (plexiglas)? [Re: Shroomzilla]
    #271036 - 03/13/01 04:28 PM (16 years, 4 months ago)

Gotta disagree with you on one point. Aquarium cement (silicone) is terrible - doesn't hold for squat over a long period of time. Great for glass, awfull for acrylic. I don't know why but I do know from hard experience it's true.

For most glove box & enclosure applications I would guess 1/8" plexi would be fine. Getting this thinner stuff avoids the need for a lot of specialized tools. You can scribe and break straight lines and use small hand saws (eg coping saw) for other cuts.

Clamping the piece down while cutting is a MUST in my opinion.



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