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A .125″ thickness of acrylic is 2 to 3 times more impact resistant than double strength window glass, 4 to 5 times more impact resistant than wire glass or other glasses. A .250″ thickness of acrylic is 9 to 10 times more impact resistant than wire or other glasses.
Polycarbonate is strongest, followed by PETG/PET, impact modified acrylic sheet, then general-purpose acrylic sheet.
Acrylic is stronger, more impact resistant, lighter in weight, won’t shatter, is easier to fabricate, and can be easily formed.
No, standard acrylic is a conductive material. A spray coating is available if non-conductivity is needed.
All of the acrylic sheet Emco Plastics sells is manufactured with plenty of Ultra-violet stabilizer (UV) protection. This means that with proper maintenance of the Plexiglas® acrylic sheet, it should last 10 years or more before it ever yellows. Of course, you’ll need to wash the Plexiglas® with the proper cleaning solutions like our Novus® brand polish or Brillianze®, and to also be careful to never use such products as commercial brand “glass cleaning” sprays. Glass cleaning spray and other such products contain ammonia that will cause hazing or fine scratching and eventual yellowing of the Plexiglas® sheet. If you need an acrylic product that resists scratching, then ask us about our Lucite® SAR® abrasion-resistant acrylic sheet.
Since the beginning of the creation of plastics, many myths have been perpetuated about the longevity of plastics, especially outside in the elements. All plastics come from petroleum and natural gas. Sunlight, especially ultraviolet radiation, has a disastrous effect on most plastics. Some plastics, like polyethylene (PE) milk jugs, degrade quickly in the sun – in a matter of months. PE can easily be recycled. Many children’s toys are made from PE and get brittle and crack when left outside. Acrylic (Plexiglas®, Lucite®, and Acrylite®) comes from natural gas and is completely inert when in solid form. American-made acrylic does NOT yellow in the sunlight. Witness the protective canopies and bubbles in the World War II bombers- they are still clear after 50 years in the sun! There are three other clear plastics that do yellow in the sun and get confused with acrylic- Styrene, PETG, and Polycarbonate. They have their respective qualities that make this an acceptable trade-off. Ask your Emco Plastics salesperson for information on all of these plastic solutions.
All materials expand and contract to a greater or lesser degree due to changes in temperature and humidity. Allowances must be made for these changes in the construction and fabrication of products; for example, the expansion joints in cement sidewalks and on steel bridges. Acrylic sheet is subject to greater dimensional change, due to thermal expansion and contraction, than other materials with which it is used in construction. Acrylic Sheet vs. Other Materials Inches/Inch/F Acrylic Sheet .0000410 Aluminum .0000129 Plate Glass .0000050 For indoor applications where temperatures normally remain the same (+/- 20 degrees F), acrylic sheet does not generally require special considerations for expansion and contraction other than providing for a snug rather than tight fit since its movement is approximately .00984″ per foot length for each 20 degrees of temperature change.
|Degree of Size of Temperature Change for Plexiglas|
A 10″ carbide tipped circular saw with 80 teeth.
Absolutely! In fact, Emco Plastics can build you any size or style of custom-designed Plexiglas® acrylic case, to your exact requirements in no time at all. And that same care and quality is extended to your individual display case as well. Just give us an idea of what you are looking for and our designers will do the rest.
Yes. You can cement them to many different materials using the appropriate adhesive. Please refer to our adhesives chart for specific information.
When your beautiful piece of Lucite® acrylic scratches, you can fix it quickly! If you can’t feel the scratch with your fingernail, then Novus® #2 or #3 should restore the finish. Otherwise, you will need to sand and buff the area that is scratched to return the shine (see the Solution in the next paragraph). It’s the same way we polish the edges of thick pieces of acrylic here at Emco Plastics – it works! This procedure ONLY works on acrylic. It does not work on styrene (like the colored boxes we sell) or on polycarbonate (Lexan®, Tuffak®, Hyzod®). They both look clear, but they cannot be restored. Ask about our Abrasion Resistant coatings.
Yes they are available in different colors - however, minimum order requirements may apply.
Sand the scratch with a #400 grit sand paper. Once the scratch is removed, wet sand with a #600 grit sand paper. Buff out using 3M® super duty rubbing compound and a high speed bonnet buffer. Buff out with a fine polish such as 3M® finess-it-II or Mequiars® #17 clear plastic polish and a high speed bonnet buffer.
The material cracks because the drill speed is too fast or there is too much pressure on the drill when exiting the hole at the underside of the acrylic sheet. Back up the work area with another piece of acrylic or plywood so then the drill can continue through into solid material. If using a commercially available twist drill, make sure it is ground to a proper angle of 60-90 degrees.
There is nothing more frustrating than a crack in a piece of Plexiglas® or Lexan®. Both of these materials are “notch sensitive”. By the way, so is glass! That’s why you can scribe and break glass (and Plexiglas®) along the scribe. These materials have no grain and therefore cracks can travel as they please. However, cracks can be stopped with a simple procedure. Using a very small drill bit, (1/16″ or so) drill a hole through the material at the end of the crack. That’s it. If it is a long crack, you might be able to inject some IPS WeldOn® #3 (Methylene Chloride) into the crack to partially seal it. If the plastic is on a sign, and therefore most likely opaque, you should glue a 1″ strip of 3/16″ Plexiglas® to the back side to reinforce the cracked area.
Use a Fletcher Terry Knife or a plastic cutting tool when cutting the sheet. This method can be used for sheet thicknesses of .250″ and thinner. Scribing the sheet should be done at least 7 to 12 times for .250″ material and 5 to 7 times for .187″ materials and under. It is best to support the bottom of the sheet on both sides of the score line. After the part is scribed and broken, the edges should be finished.
Yes, cast acrylic sheet, tube and rod are available in a variety of colors. Please call for availability and pricing.
3mil polyfilm or papermask.
Don’t you just hate it when those price tags don’t come off a plastic item? The problem is that the adhesive either dries out or the wrong kind of adhesive was used on the price tag. In any case, you need to find a way to get the darn thing off your plastic.
Solution: The simple way to take a “stuck” sticker off of plastic is by moistening the price tag with Lighter Fluid – which is actually a very refined grade of kerosene! This will not bother Acrylic, Styrene or Polycarbonate plastics which will be 90% of the types you will be dealing with. If in doubt, test the fluid on small part of the plastic. Look at it in 24 hours. Remember that you could scratch the plastic when rubbing the price tag loose. Easy does it.
Our saws and routers leave nice chip-free edges on the pieces of Plexiglas® we cut. On edges that will be exposed to the touch, beware. While this edge is not sharp like glass, if you run your hand down the edge quickly, and with pressure, you may get a “paper-cut” type of injury.
Solution: Use #100 grit sandpaper and a sanding block. Just pass the sandpaper over the edges at a 45 degree angle a few times. Use your fingers to test the edge. When it feels good, stop!
Acrylic will ignite and burn if placed in an open flame. Polystyrene will smoke.
What film coverage is best when routing acrylic sheet?
Papermask, 2mil film & 3mil laser films are preferred.
Use a mild soap & water mixture with a gentle cleaning cloth. Do not use ammonia based cleaning solutions on the acrylic as it will eat into the sheet and cause it to craze.
Once applied, you will not be able to remove solvent cement from the acrylic. Solvent cement eats into acrylic; any excess would evaporate, leaving a slight outline where the solvent was located. You might try buffing to smooth the surface.
Use water to wet the papermasking and then peel back, or add a mixture of a small of rubbing alcohol to water and spray onto the papermask. After the solution is applied, gently pull back from acrylic sheet.
Sand with successively finer grades of sandpaper and finish polish with buffing wheel and plastic polish or jeweler’s rouge.
One of the really great properties of some plastics is their resistance to chemicals. Plastics that can be dissolved by a chemical are generally glueable, while those that are not dissolved cannot be glued. A quick test you can do at home – find some nail-polish remover (acetone) and test a very small area on the plastic you would like to glue. If it gets sticky, then Emco Plastics has a solvent adhesive that will work! If the acetone simply dries up, you have a problem. Your choices will be; mechanically fasten the plastic, ultra-sonic welding, or hot-air welding. Most chemical tanks are made of polypropylene or polyethylene and will not glue. PVC and ABS will glue (like your sprinkler pipes). Engineering plastics for the most part cannot be glued with adhesive, unless a contact adhesive is acceptable for your application. Please talk to our sales people about our Adhesive Cross-Reference chart that will help you select the right adhesive for your application.
No, the parts will craze (generate small cracks) due to the heat used to flame the edges.
Sheet, rod and tube in acrylic materials are available in both extruded and cast grades, the selection of which should be determined by the quality level desired when compared to cost considerations. When cast acrylic materials are manufactured they are manufactured from raw monomer which is cast or poured into molds. Once cured, the material is often ground and then repolished to finished dimensions. Casting is the more expensive of the two processes, but yields a better quality product. Extruded acrylic materials, on the other hand, are manufactured by pushing acrylic pellets through a highly polished extrusion die to produce a finished product. Die marks and other slight imperfections may make extruded sheet, rod, and tube somewhat less desirable for critical applications. The process is less expensive however, and the quality is perfectly acceptable for most applications.
No, neither prolonged exposure to moisture nor total immersion will cause warping, swelling or loss of clarity.
You can get up to a 96″ diameter in cast acrylic tubing.
Acrylic tube is less than half the weight of glass and only 43% the weight of aluminum. Acrylics are unaffected by aqueous solutions of detergents, cleaners, alkalis and aliphatic hydrocarbons.
In order to achieve clean cuts and easy finishing, cut acrylic tube with carbide tools. The cut surfaces can be wet or dry sanded to smooth saw cuts then buffed and polished for clear finish.
No material, including glass, is considered scratchproof. However the siloxane hard coat on SAR significantly improves the surface hardness of Lucite® sheet for exceptional performance in demanding glazing applications.
No, the hardcoat will resist adhesive chemicals.
No, Lucite® SAR fabricates identically to standard acrylic with power woodworking tools and blades. The protective masking should be left on during fabrication and transportation of the product, and removed upon installation.
Acrylic offers approximately 25 times and polycarbonate offers approximately 200 times the impact strength of float glass. In many cases, the impact strength of Lucite® SAR is satisfactory.
No, because of the hardness of Lucite® SAR’s surface coat, neither thermoforming nor cold bending is recommended.
No, abrasion resistance will be lost.
No, standard inks will not adhere to the coating. Contact your ink supplier for possible ink alternatives.
No, flame polishing an AR coated acrylic sheet will cause it to blush or whiten.
No, only PETG and polycarbonate mirrors (up to .080″ in thickness) can be die cut.
Sanding the edges of acrylic mirror with successively finer grades of sandpaper and then buffing them with polishing compound works well.
Minor scratches can be repaired on the backside by applying a small amount of argent (silver metallic) paint over the scratch.
It is not recommended. The acrylic will stretch and the backing will fail. Shallow depths may work. Plastic sheet should be formed then plated.
Manufacturers sometimes use different color backings to differentiate and identify their products. Regardless of the color, the backing serves to protect the mirror from scratches in transportation and fabrication.
Mount to a smooth, rigid flat backing such as 5/8″ or 3/4″ plywood. The surface should be coated with a high quality paint or sealant to cover pockets and seal out moisture. Next, cover the surface with mastic or adhesive.
Yes, however, the mirror may blush at the bend especially when exposed to prolonged heat. Try samples for testing. Please refer to the Fabback® User’s Manual for instructions.
The acrylic for Fabback® mirror sheet meets a C2 fire rating by ICBO. Polycarbonate meets C1.
Minor scratches can be subdued by polishing with wax. Larger scratches can be treated with a lamb’s wool pad and buffing with a light abrasive rubbing compound.
Outdoor use is not recommended due to expansion, contraction and moisture. If outside use is desired, seal the perimeter with silicon sealant and protect paint backing.
Palmer Mirro-Mastic®, Super Set Mirro-Mastic®, 3M® 4323, and Gunther Premier or Pro-Mastic®. If a spray adhesive is needed, 3M® Super 77 may be used. Please follow your adhesive supplier’s directions for gluing.
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