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Modding A modder's guide to acrylic

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 14 Mar 2008.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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  2. [USRF]Obiwan

    [USRF]Obiwan New Member

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    After all those years, the Orac3 is still one of the best looking mods around. And a very nice article.
     
  3. undertheradar

    undertheradar New Member

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    This article has a bunch of problems with it. I dont use acrylic for computer mods, but I have years of experience with acrylic for reef aquariums, building reactors, flanges, aquariums, fixtures, etc. There are several things in that article which are just plain wrong, or not the best way to do it. For instance, that type of saw blade pictured/suggested in the article is one of the worst blades you can use for acrylic.
     
  4. undertheradar

    undertheradar New Member

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    One thing of importance: much of the 'cast' acrylic in the US isnt cell cast. Its something called 'continuous cast'. Its poured like cell cast, but on a constantly moving conveyor belt (like a 1/2 mile long) a bit like how plate glass it made when you think about it. Its a bit different than cell cast as far as strengths and problems though.

    90% of the acrylic work I do is done by a laser CNC or CNC router... thats the way to go, and usually pretty easy to find someone you know who can do this for you. Most people who work in factories, engineers, etc tend to have access to one... one computer store local to me actually has a laser CNC in their back room...lol.

    There is a multitude of articles on sites like reefs.org and reefcentral.com (mostly in the DIY sections, sort of like the aquarium version of the modding community) about working with acrylic. You can ask there as there are several professional fabricators there who are more than willing to help.
     
  5. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    Undertheradar, would you mind elaborating?

    I've worked with acrylic in modding since 2001, and I've found a fine-toothed plywood-panel blade to be a great way to cut it without marring the edge beyond recognition.

    I don't attest that these ways are the ONLY way to do it, so if you have some actually constructive tips, then by all means - fire away. But if you're just going to say "Oh this is so wrong," that's not exactly helpful. Particularly when you can look on the net at large or in the forums to find that we as modders have been doing some of these things for years to great success.
     
  6. theevilelephant

    theevilelephant New Member

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    great article, as someone who works as DT Tech (the guy that cleans and maintains workshop machinery) i might get some of the students to look at this too see what you can do with acrylic. Also please dont use band saws for acrylic unless its yours and you have the right blade, it makes a huge mess, clogs blade and machine and stinks.
     
  7. vaderag

    vaderag I know what a Dremel is...

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    I've done a bit of acrylic work in the past, but mostly forgotten all the techniques - this article has re-awakened my idea of building an acrylic case - thanks :)
     
  8. speedfreek

    speedfreek New Member

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    If I ever went to watercooling I told myself I would make my own reservoir, now I have a good idea how to.
     
  9. Thacrudd

    Thacrudd Where's the any key?!?

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    I really appreciate the good read! Flame polishing makes a bit more sense now lol. Orac3 is the case that I happened across a few years ago and it is what got me into PC case modding (I did a bunch of xbox's before) A few comments :

    1. the sawblade pictured is what I've used and have had wonderful results from in the past.
    2. I do alot of my cutting now on my bandsaw, 80" blade, 15TPI, and it works great.
    3. Superglue is a very bad bonding agent for clear acrylic. It creates a foggy residue around where you used it, not just the exact spot you put it on. I would reccomend it for anything except transparent materials. (just my experience)

    If you were making a seamless bond, would you flame polish the 2 edges before you put them together?
     
  10. Yemerich

    Yemerich I can has PERSUADETRON?

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    Well, using a blow torch for polishing the edges is good. biut if you have a sandwitched acrilic the results arent that good. So, a blow torch is only good for single pieces.

    My last four mods are all acrylic. And i have one going on here in bit tech. It's the Odinn project.

    In MY experience, polished edges doesn't bond together well. So i don't think a really seamless weld is possible. The glue used to weld acrylic is cloroform based and is fairly easy to find - at least where i live.

    Another good thing to save u some work is to "scrape" the edges. This way you can save more than 50% work on sanding.
    If you need to bond 2 polished faces together, sand them with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper to have a more resistant weld.
    For drilling the acrylic, you need blunted HSS drill bits. This prevents the acrylic to cause splinters.
    The high quality acrylic (the ones that are not recycled) doesn't melt when u saw it, have no odor and is much harder to get foggy when the glue hit its face.
    Still the best way to get polished edges still is by sanding it by hand, and polishing with sheep pelt.
    I don't have a table saw, but the people who cut it for me use "wydea" blades to cut it.

    Cheers people!
     
  11. MJudg

    MJudg ProModder

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    Wow! Nice article!
    I also love acrylic and LUMINA is the best example of beauty and functionality of this material!
     
  12. talladega

    talladega I'm Squidward

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    WARNING!!! Watch out for the IPS Weld-On containers! They may explode in your face like it did mine!!!

    seriously. lol. I finally unscrewed the lid and then there was a metal tab i needed to get out so I was prying it open when BOOOOOM! The metal tab hits my eye and I get the solvent all over my face and in my eyes.

    Maybe im the only one this has happened to?


    Nice tip about flame polishing. I'll test that out I think. Does it keep the edges very staright and flat too?
     
  13. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I have to disagree with some of what has been said. (This is for the noobs who have never heard my constant preaching.)

    You missed the biggest reason why you should avoid extruded plexi: It melts if you try to cut it with a powersaw.
    If you are doing a lot of straight cuts on plexi, invest in a $100 table top wetsaw/tilesaw. They can cut through any thickness or type of plexi with great results. They work on polyprophelene or cast and extruded acrylic. On my tile saw I have cut 1 1/4" thick cell cast plexi successfully.

    Flame polishing will never look as good as sanding and polishing. -and why would you want to take a torch to something you put a lot of work and money into?

    Like Yemerich said, I sand the edges I plan to fuse together with 150 grit sandpaper. Faces I just leave polished.

    @Talledega - Sounds like you should have put it in the fridge for a while.:hehe:
    I'ts good practice to puncture those kinds of caps before removing them. Treat them like a shook up Dr. Pepper can.
     
    Last edited: 14 Mar 2008
  14. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    There are some good tips for the new be moders
     
  15. Teknokid

    Teknokid Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, i found it good, although the UK company mentioned is a bit dear :(
    personally im gonna start getting myn from ebay, excelent deals from there im finding.
    Nice article :)
     
  16. Matticus

    Matticus ...

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    Nice article.
    Though on page one "perpex" has a closing tag before it, so no Italics.
    This has sort of reminded me to actually bother to make something from acrylic, so thanks :)
     
  17. Project_Nightmare

    Project_Nightmare New Member

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    Good thing this article came out before I started the case mod I'm planning! I wish there were more articles on using acrylic like this one.
     
  18. cc3d

    cc3d It's a mod mod world

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    There is a technique for mixing acetone with scraps of the plexi you are joining to make a goo (glue) that will bond plexi fantastically. I can't recall the details, but I am sure it is 'findable'
     
  19. wywywywy

    wywywywy Member

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    Nice article. Many thanks.
    One question though - what is the best tool/method to mitre 45 degree on acrylic sheets?
     
  20. talladega

    talladega I'm Squidward

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    I've had it in my room in for like 3 or 4 months. lol There was no warning on the thing about it being under pressure at all. Looked. Afterwards. :) It said to cut out the metal tab and the utility knife wouldnt cut through so i was prying it open and it blows up in my face. It probly would have sprayed out even from poking a hole but atleast my eye wouldnt have gotten hit. That hurt for a while. Next time.... :D

    Do the tighten the screw on lids to 10,00Lbs of torque or what? I couldnt unscrew it with my hands. Had to use a tool. :blush:

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm DR PEPPER!!!!!!!!!!
     
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