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  • torching acrylic edges?

    Don't ask me why, but last night I was watching 'Unique Whips' and they are doing this install in an Escalade - looked like 2 JL subs in a fiberglass box, with 2 JL amps mounted on top. Anyways, they were also putting in some acrylic and hooking up some leds to give it that 'glow' look. So I see the guy with a butane torch torching the edges of the acrylic. I know that there is a method of 'flame polishing' the edges of acrylic, but I didn't think it could be as easy as taking a butane torch to. Anyone know anything about this, or done it before?

  • #2
    No, but thanks for the info!
    Fabricator

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    • #3
      Sounds like an interesting idea... could work, but i wouldn't believe it until I saw it. Anyone got any acrylic and a torch handy to try it out on?
      But don't take it from me! here's a quote from a real, live newbie:
      Originally posted by Viscouse
      I am learning buttloads just by searching on this forum. I've learned 2 big things so far: 1-it's been done before, and 2-if it hasn't, there is a way to do it.
      eegeek.net

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      • #4
        well after some more 'ing - I found that it is best to have a 'clean' flame - with more oxygen in it.

        heres a good link:
        http://www.bayplastics.co.uk/product...ch(polish).htm

        When I get a chance, I think I will bust out the torch and give it a try

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        • #5
          Originally posted by evandude
          Sounds like an interesting idea... could work, but i wouldn't believe it until I saw it. Anyone got any acrylic and a torch handy to try it out on?
          well flame polishing is a professional way of polishing acrylic, but from what I have been previously told, the proper tools were cost prohibitive to everyone except professionals - so I pretty much had my mind set on sand paper and cream polishing compounds. But if a simple tourch will do the same thing as the expensive tools, I'm willing to drop $30 at Home Depot!

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          • #6
            of course it works... lmao.. nobody ever done this before ??

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            • #7
              I haven't - have you?

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              • #8
                I work for an automotive interior company and we do a lot of prototypes for the automakers and for auto shows. When it comes to polishing acrylic or polycarbonate, we use a different method. There is a chemical called Rez-n-Bond that is specific for "gluing" together these types of materials. It actually melts the materials together. When this material is put into a tea kettle and heated into a steam, it can be used to polish by placing the areas you want to polish into the steam. Be careful, for one it polishes very quickly and it is a hazardous material that requires a respirator and is flammable. Anyway just thought I would mention it.

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                • #9
                  Flame polishing does work but you have to be careful. It can cause the edge to roll if it gets too hot. I used to flame stuff and occassionally still do but my prefered method is sand and polish using a compund and a wheel. The finished product is alot better then with a flame but takes alot more time.

                  I am going to have check into Rez-n_Bond....sounds really cool.

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                  • #10
                    SickVette - can you provide some more details on your sanding method - i.e. what grits, what compounds work? I don't have access to a wheel, but would you think that a dremel would work?

                    That Rez-n-Bond stuff sounds cool, but I think I would prefer to either torch or sand...

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                    • #11
                      the flamings easy enough.. just dont let the flame stay still and do loads of quick runs over the surface... you'll find each 1 you do the more it shines.. and no chance of burning or melting.

                      give it a go,.. you'll be surprised how easy it really is.

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                      • #12
                        yeah I picked up my dad's torch last night. Tonight I plan on doing some cutting on the table saw to get a couple of pieces to practice on. I will let you all know how it goes. Thanks for all the input!

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                        • #13
                          tonka....do you happen to have a router? If you can cut the plexi with a router instead of the table saw you will have half the work done right then. As for polishing it a dremel will work with polishing wheels on it. You can also use an electric drill with a wheel on it.I have seen places like Home Depot selling polishing wheels and compounds. As for the grits it depends on the starting finish on the plexi. I cut it all with a router so the start finish is very smooth. Then I use 320 on a small DA then 600 wet and onto 2500 wet. Then start with the compounds. The higher grit it gets sands to the better it will look. Also you should always sand with a sanding pad or block...never with your hand. Your hand will leave waves in the surface that will be more and more apparent as the piece gets shinnier.

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                          • #14
                            Yeah I have a new plunge router that I haven't even used yet. Can you recommend what type of bit I should use for the plexi?

                            Thanks for the advice on the sanding - just need to find some time and I will give it a go!

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                            • #15
                              The bit to use depends on what you are cutting. If you are cutting circles you should use a carbide spiral cutter. If you want to cut out a shape then you need to use a flush trim bearing bit also carbide/carbide tipped. It is best to trim the plexi so that the router is only removing a small amount of material. If you are cutting 1/2" or larger you can use WD40 as a lubricant/cooling agent and it will help with giving a clean cut. I have a set of router bits that cut only plexiglass. It is important that the bit is sharp and free of any chips in the blades. Also I try to use only 1/2" shank bits when flush cutting. Porter Cable has come out with some new bits that you can buy at Home Depot and are very nice.

                              I am going to be cutting alot of plexi glass in the next day or two. If you want I can post up pics of the process.

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