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Old 10-08-2004, 06:38 PM   #1
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Thoughts and Ideas Working With Acrylic

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.
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Old 10-08-2004, 06:44 PM   #2
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I forgot to mention that I haven't had that great of luck getting silicone to stick to acrylic like other materials. Maybe sanding the finish of the acrylic would help it stick better, not sure on that one.
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Old 10-08-2004, 07:55 PM   #3
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Good tips and idea, Scott!!

I have used silicone on Acrylic with no problems before. However, this was for dividers to be used in a sump. As long as there is no weight on the dividers (i.e. more water on one side of the divider than the other) there is no problem as the silicon will hold the acrylic to the glass.

This obviously isn't for mission critical installations, but works well enough will small lightweight projects.
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Old 10-08-2004, 09:00 PM   #4
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Here is a link to a thread I started on acrylic fabrication
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...257&highlight=
I hope that helps a little. Regardless of what you cut with, for solid seams the cut must be square. So I would not recommend anything other than a tablesaw. You could get good cuts with a circular saw and a guide though I am sure.

Also acrylic bonds together using a solvent made up of different types of acid and alcohol. Depending on the mixture it can set quite quickly or even take days. This can be bought pre-mixed of course. Weld-On is popular brand if not the most popular. #3 Is fast. almost too fast IMO. #4 and #5 are a little more forgiving and take a little longer to set.

Silicone is made for glass (having the same/similar chemical makeup) and does not bond well to acrylic.

Back to the orignal question, the only time I use water at all is when drilling with a forstner bit for bulkheads, which can come out kind of raw. Even if you cut with a jigsaw if you have access to a router or jointer to clean up the edges all is well when it comes time to seam your project.

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Old 10-14-2004, 10:25 PM   #5
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Dead thread, Text pasted to Sumphead's Sticky Thread.
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