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Thread: Acrylic vs Polycarbonate

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    FLAC MP3DUB's Avatar
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    Acrylic vs Polycarbonate

    So doing a bit of looking into acrylic (plexiglass) vs polycarbonate (lexan) for building a new case for my epia m (of course, I only started thinking about a alu. and lexan case after building a wooden one). From what I gather, lexan is a lot more forgiving of a material, but is more expensive and will eventually discolor in dirrect sun light. Plexiglass is generally cheaper, but harder to work with as its more brittle (as I've seen first hand). I was just wondering what people out there have used for their clear plastic cases, and what success they had with it and tools they used.
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    FLAC cproaudio's Avatar
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    Lexan all the way

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    C4M
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    From the looks of things, your machine is in the trunk of your car, so I don't really see why sunlight stability is an issue, unless you're planning on mounting it in plain view.

    I agree that lexan is stronger, however given the application, it's not like you really need the strength - my box is constructed from 3mm plexi and aluminium, and it's more than enough.

    The other point to remember is that although lexan is stronger, it is more likely to scratch easily - it's part of the trade-off for strength.

    I think you're probably overkilling it going lexan, but it's your money. Would come in handy should anyone ever shoot your carPC!
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    Retired Admin Aaron Cake's Avatar
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    I have had my lexan cased player for 3.5 years now, and sunlight has not effected the colour. However, lexan seems to be a dust magnet, and is pretty easy to scratch.
    Player: Pentium 166MMX, Amptron 598LMR MB w/onboard Sound, Video, LAN, 10.2 Gig Fujitsu Laptop HD, Arise 865 DC-DC Converter, Lexan Case, Custom Software w/Voice Interface, MS Access Based Playlists
    Car: 1986 Mazda RX-7 Turbo (highly modded), 1978 RX-7 Beater (Dead, parting out), 2001 Honda Insight
    "If one more body-kitted, cut-spring-lowered, farty-exhausted Civic revs on me at an intersection, I swear I'm going to get out of my car and cram their ridiculous double-decker aluminium wing firmly up their rump."

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    The various threads I've read on this over the last few months have also pushed me towards acrylic, but i'm still wondering about problems that may arise from electro-magnetic radiation and wireless devices. An aluminium os steel case obviously doesn't have these. Any links on this for info?

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    Acrylic is more rigid and resistant to scratches. Polycarbonate is stronger (will bend more than acrylic, but is incredibly hard to break). Acrylic has better optical properties.

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    FLAC MP3DUB's Avatar
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    I wasn't worried about it yellowing it the trunk of my car, I was just "stating the facts." And I've used acrylic before for a window and had issues with it cracking easily when cutting/drilling, which is why I was inquiring about tool usage.
    -Nick

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    C4M
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    Originally posted by MP3DUB
    I wasn't worried about it yellowing it the trunk of my car, I was just "stating the facts." And I've used acrylic before for a window and had issues with it cracking easily when cutting/drilling, which is why I was inquiring about tool usage.
    I think that the issue with acrylic is that you need to be sure that your tools are sharp so that they cut cleanly. I used files, drills, a dremel and a scoring tool to make mine.

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    what bits did you use for the dremel? for cutting?

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    C4M
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    Originally posted by Alphared
    what bits did you use for the dremel? for cutting?
    Depends on the material being cut.

    I cut the acrylic mainly with the scoring blade on my stanley knife, except for the cutout for the power supply - this was cut with the little cutting wheels (like those on grinders, except smaller).

    For the notch in the aluminium by the power supply to give space for the screw, I used the bit that looks like a drill bit, and nibbled away at it.

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