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Modding etching plexiglass to dremel or not to dremel that is the question?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by phelan1777, 7 Oct 2006.

  1. phelan1777

    phelan1777 New Member

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    I am haivng a debate with my gf's dad about using a dremel or using a chemical compound to "burn" an image into plexiglass.

    Both methods have their pros and cons.

    Has anyone here used a chemical compound (i.e. paint thinner) to create an etched image?

    I have the image I want to use, diameter is about 11 3/4".
     
  2. Slakker

    Slakker New Member

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    I've used chemical compounds on glass to etch...but never on Plexi. You might try to see if something is made specifically for plexi-etching.

    Although, I'll admit, that when working with glass, my etch-method of choice is definitely sand blasting, it works great, it's fast, and the results are so much better than chemical methods.
     
  3. Smilodon

    Smilodon The Antagonist

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    I doubt any chemical method will be good for the plexi. Dremel is good for making deep lines, but for an even, frosted look sandblasting or frost spray is the way to go. (sandblasting will be best if the plexi is going to be used with some form of light)

    sandblasting is also wery easy to do. Just tape the whole sheet in masking tape, cut out the design with a sharp knife and blast away. I have tried this a couple of times, and it seems like the sand doesn't bite on the tape.
     
  4. phelan1777

    phelan1777 New Member

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    okay, well 1 issue remains where do I get a sand blaster?

    no real need in paying out $$$ just for one piece.
     
  5. devenfore

    devenfore LANCandy

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    I dont know if this is would work for you or not but I just bought a Vinyl Cutter, and there are a couple of options you could do using vinyl.

    1) Have the design cut out of Vinyl. VERY Cheap, prob $5ish to do a side panel. Then apply the vinyl to the side of the case and sand blast with some very fine sand.

    You can buy a Syphon-Type sandblaster for about $5 and a bag of "sand" (I think you will want to buy some very fine glass / ceramic though) costs about $5/25lb bag, and would be WAY more then enough. Of coarse you need a air-compressor to run the sandblaster...

    2) The MUCH easier method, is to have your design cut from "Frosted" vinyl, and apply that to the side of your case. If you apply it right, it looks just like you etched the window. Of coarse it won't catch the light (if you light the plexiglass from the side) the same way a real etching will, but other then that it may be the best way to go.

    If you wanted to do either of these, you can look for a vinyl shop that is close by, or you can PM me and I can do it for you.
     
  6. gideon

    gideon New Member

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    to come back on the chemicals, i think that might give you the effect thinner did on the monalisa in mr bean :D
     
  7. Slakker

    Slakker New Member

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    Yeah, vinyl cutters are SO nice for sandblasting...but not cheap. It also might not be that cheap to have a side panel done...as it takes a bit of setup work in the computer to get the edges of your design smoothed out so that the cutter doesn't leave pixel-jaggies, especially if it's a complex design. My ex's mom did vinyl signs and glass blasting for a living, so I know quite a bit about how it all works...it's a really fascinating process and the results are really great.

    However, it SHOULD be cheap just to buy a square of vinyl cut to fit your window and X-Acto the design out of it yourself...just trace the design onto the vinyl (tracing over a print-out and pressing fairly hardly should leave an imprint in the vinyl) and then maybe rubbing the side of a pencil over the area to make the lines easier to see...
    Then you could cut the design out before applying it to the window to avoid cutting into the plexi (just leave the backing material on).

    A bit of work, but the results are GREAT if you take the time!
     
  8. hydro_electric_655

    hydro_electric_655 Dremelly Dude

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    Or get cut vinyl lay it on sandblast take it off.
     
  9. devenfore

    devenfore LANCandy

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    I disagree, vinyl cutting can be VERY cheap. But you are right on the art. You would have to prepare the art yourself for it to be cheap. But with Illustrator CS2's LIVE TRACE feature, and a little googling for tutorials, and anyone can create the vector file required for a nice cut.

    And once you have the vector file created, it seriously would be like $5 to have a vinyl shop cut the image. At least that is roughly what I charge for pre-created art. Just about any cheap 3mil vinyl would work for etching / blasting / painting plexiglass. (Yeah you can buy spray paint that will make the plexiglass / glass / lexan / etc look etched for about $6 a can.)

    Many choices. :)
     
  10. Slakker

    Slakker New Member

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    I mean the vinyl cutters themselves aren't cheap...at least none that I've seen.

    Yeah, I didn't even know Illustrator could do vectorized images...so yeah, prep it yourself and it would be cheap :)
     

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