Acrylic vs polycarbonate

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ibprofen98, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. Ibprofen98 .

    Aug 6, 2018
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    Hey all. So I purchased the plexiglass (acrylic) that iput in my case front at my local glass and plastic supply store, and the things they had was 1/8, which meant the edges didn't line up due to different thicknesses. I asked if they had anything thinner and they said that was the thingsth they had. Today I was in there for a completely unrelated project and was looking through their sample stuff and came across a 1/16th thickness polycarbonate. My question is, for future reference, would there be any problems with using the polycarbonate as a frankencasing plastic, it matches up much much better with the average case thickness.
  2. Shank Certified Wiitard Staff Member . .

    Jan 31, 2016
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    Polycarbonate is softer than acrylic, meaning it scratches easier. However, polycarbonate is substantially stronger than acrylic. It doesn't crack or break as easily, but it can be harder to work with because of this. Its much tougher to cut with physical tools, and you can't laser cut it as doing so releasesr chlorine gas. For frankencaseing, polycarbonate should work just fine, maybe even better, assuming you can cut it properly.
    Ibprofen98 likes this.
  3. moonDoctor .

    Sep 11, 2018
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    Shank is correct about the break resistance advantage of polycarb and that it scratches worse than a dog with fleas, but not quite on the lasering stuff (i use a ULS X660 every day at work). Might i offer my 6 years expertise in the family business on this info: Plastics from the pvc family will release chlorine gases when lasered and cause mild to severe damage or death (and not just in California, it'll get you anywhere you live). Polycarbonate is stinky and when lasered without any nitrogen assist will yield a burnt marshmallowy edge (the nitrogen acts as a shield to keep the edge from carbonizing by blocking access to oxygen). Most likely, as we do ourselves, it's a lot easier to say no to lasting polycarbonate than explaining all that stuff (and convincing a client to pay extra for this nitrogen expense).

    That aside, the best way to work with polycarb is to route it. We often laser it a step larger than necessary marshmallow edge and all; then pin route or use a trim fixture it to the final shape (actual process is definitely more efficient than that explanation).
    I'll ask my finish room manager how he would work the polycarb at home if he had to to mimic your situation and let you know soon

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