I get often asked questions about acrylic and building techniques. So, I thought I would take the liberty of posting a step by step pictorial of a project. I had a little over 1/4 sheet of 3/8" continuous cast acrylic and decided to make a 15 gallon acrylic cube tank. I hope you all enjoy.
(2) 15.25"X15.25" (top and bottom)
Cuts should be as square as possible. I use a standard 10" table saw, then a jointer to make smooth edges. A router can be used to smooth out the edges as well with a fence or guide. Since I have a jointer it just easier for me.
Only the sides are pictured as the topr and bottom do to need to be ran through the jointer (explain later)
The first step is to assemble the all four sides. The reason for this is you don't want to attach the sides to the bottom only to find one of your cuts not square causing a stress point on one seam. It also makes it easier to flush cut an oversized bottom on a router table (reason for not jointing the top and bottom)
I attach the sides to the front using a square weighted jig I made from 3/4" pine. Pine is soft and less likely to scratch the acrylic.
Generally the weight of the acrylic with the clamps on the jig are enough to ensure a bubble free seam. However since this tank is rather small I had to use bar clamps to keep a snug seal. I use weld-on #4 as my primary solvent. It is slower than #3 allowing for small adjustments after application. #3 tends to bond almost instantly.
that's boxter's sump in the background.
all four sides.
There are several methods of actually applying the solvent. In this case the capillary method is preffered by me. The "pins" method is for another post generally applies to larger projects.
Now for the Euro top. Draw out your Euro top on the piece. Do a rough cut out so your router blade does not have to work so hard when making the final cut. I use a flush trim bit on a homemade router table. My router is a Porter Cable 1 3/4HP with both 1/4 and 1/2" collets. Then use a strait egde or a wooden jig (in this case more scrap acrylic) and use a strong double sided tape to hold the jig in place and use your flush cut bit to cut out your euro top.
after drilling a stater hole of course.
Corners for larger projects are a little trickier, but still not too hard. I intentionally made this Euro brace somewhat small as I do not know the application of this tank. Users would need a bit smaller brace for hang on applications. In this case it is a 1" brace with a little less that 3/4" in the back just for this purpose.
The top and bottom are attached and weighted. Generally all seams require at least 1 hour to cure before moving. I prefer to wait 2, but sometimes you just cant (like when you wife is yelling at you 'cause she cant park in the garage 8O )
As you can see the top and bottom are slightly larger than the sides. This is so you get a good solid bond and is easily trimmed up with a flush cut on the router.
All that is left is to clean up the edges and polish. I am by far no proffesional and this project is not perfect (like everything else I do) but it isn't rocket science and doable by all.
I'll post more picture when I have it all cleaned up. There was a similar post on "the other site" but my methods are a bit different and I thought I could simplify it a little.
Hope you Enjoy