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Old 08-19-2004, 07:55 PM   #11
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The clean-up

OK, after flush cutting all of the edges on a router-table (or with a hand router), I use a razor blade to gently remove any burrs from cutting and beads from the seams. When you put solvent in a joint and put pressure on it tidbits of solvent ooze out of the joint. This is normal. They dry as beads on the outsides of your seams. Then I start the elbow grease; I first do a quick sand with 300+ sandpaper also along the corners to ease them as they are very sharp. I follow up with a good wet-sand with 600+ grit on the seams and over any solvent that may have dripped on the project. I sand sand sand till smooth. I then buff out the scratchmarks with a buffing wheel and a plastic compound. This compound can be found at any plastics place.

After a lot of buffing with not only the wheel but a soft cloth you end up with a ridiculously clear new acrylic tank...

Keep in mind the "clean-up" is completely optional and only for looks. The tank is structurally sound when the solvent is cured. Typically I wait at least 3 days before water testing and a week is recommended. If per change you have a small leak you can fill with Weld-on #16 as you would silicone on a glass tank. It takes away from the beauty of sharp edges and can be messy, but sealed with #16 and leaks are gone. This particualr tank was overbuilt as 1/4" acrylic would have been more than enough.

Just to give you a size reference here is an everage sized 4 year old kid-fish...

As a disclaimer I have to re-emphasize I am a mere hobbiest. These are the methods that work for me. If you have the tools (a table saw is really all that is required), a cheap source of acrylic, and some time give it a shot. It is very rewarding and fun tp play with. Just always keep safety in mind and Happy DIYing!


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Old 08-19-2004, 07:57 PM   #12
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HEY BEARFAN, fix my typos....LOL

I wish I had a nickel for every miracle that you easily tricked me into. -Chris Robinson
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Old 10-14-2004, 09:23 PM   #13
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Mighty fine work Sumphead! Great work, great pics, you got it down with working with this material. I killed the thread I started and added the text here to the Sticky for what it's worth. Scott

There were some excellent suggestions on Eddie's DYI Sump Thread, I didn't want to threadjack his post, but I thought the subject worthy of a thread in itself. Being new here, I would guess this subject has been brought up before, I hope I'm not beating a dead horse.

I had mentioned that I was using a jigsaw with a fine tooth blade and it was working well with the 1/4 inch acrylic. I found that a 10 or 12 teeth per inch (tpi) was fracturing the thinner stuff. I chose using the jigsaw as the project I'm working on required several curved cuts. Still there was some melting back together behind the blade.

This brings to mind my line of work. I'm sure everyone has seen the overhead drive-in bank units that sends the carrier in to the tellers. Most often we use a 4 1/2" clear acrylic tube above the customer unit just to canopy level then switch to regular pvc and take it in the bank.

We always have to cut to fit these acrylic sections, I would say they are 1/4" thick, maybe 3/8ths at the most. The reason I bring this up, I found that a sawsall works well for this with a little practice. Cutting slow with a wide blade allows the blade to pull most of the heat away from the teeth, hence less melting.

We have also used a table "chop saw" like masons use for brick cutting for cutting the acrylic and pvc tubing. It works good on the pvc, but tends to make a rougher cut and takes more filing on the acrylic vs. the sawsall to finish the end smooth.

With the jigsaw and plate acrylic, I found that cutting fast at a high rpm produced less melting behind the blade. When that blade gets hot though, there isn't anything to do but let it cool off or it will melt the acrylic like a hot knife in butter.

Biggen, I haven't tried the fine tooth blade on the 1/8" acrylic yet or used a table saw nor have I tried the scoreing method. I would guess a table saw would work well, a large blade pulling more heat away from the cut plus a wider cut with less chance of melting back together.

Has anyone tried using a spray bottle of water ahead of a jigsaw blade to keep the temperature down? It might work, but I'm not a big fan of electric tools and water I'd love to hear some more ideas and experiences from the seasoned craftsmen here.

Here I go again, diving in head first!
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