Everything You Need To Know About Acrylic
Acrylic is a transparent thermoplastic homopolymer known more commonly by the trade name “plexiglass”.
The material is similar to polycarbonate in that it is suitable for use as an impact resistant alternative to glass (particularly when the high impact strength of polycarbonate is not required).
It is generally considered one of the clearest plastics in the market.
Acrylic is readily available and inexpensive.
It is a good alternative to Polycarbonate when material strength is not a decision factor.
Acrylic is sometimes laminated on top of Polycarbonate (PC) in order get the scratch resistance of Acrylic and the impact strength of PC.
Some bullet resistant ‘glass’ is made this way.
Modern era and in general is used for a variety of applications that typically take advantage of its natural transparency and the impact resistance of certain variants.
Why is Acrylic used so often?
Acrylic is an incredibly useful plastic for applications requiring transparency where high impact resistance is not an issue.
Acrylic is very scratch resistant compared to other clear plastics.
It is a lighter alternative to glass and an economic substitute for polycarbonate(PC) in applications where strength is not a crucial factor.
It can be cut into extremely fine shapes using laser cutting technology because the material vaporizes upon impact with the concentrated laser energy.
If optical clarity is of extreme importance, than we will use Acrylic.
We have machined Acrylic on the CNC, and also made hand-formed pieces.
Usually after machining, the parts need to be polished to remove the tool marks and restore the optical clarity.
Acrylic is available in sheet stock and round stock, making it a good candidate for subtractive machining processes on a mill or lathe.
A wide variety of colors are usually available. Acrylic sheets are also available in certain fluorescent colors.
Sometimes these are referred to as ‘edge lit’.
The color of the sheet is not as apparent when looking directly at the sheet, but the color really pops along the edges, almost looking like it is being illuminated, even though there is no light source.
Parts that are machined from clear stock usually require finish sanding and/or polishing to remove tool marks and to completely restore the transparent nature of the material.
Acrylic sheets can be easily heated and formed to a desired shape.
Simple bends can be made by heating the bend point with a wire heater Or the entire sheet can be heated and draped or forced to take the shape of a desired form.
Parts made from multiple pieces of Acrylic are usually joined together using solvents that melt each surface and result in a barely visible joint.
Acrylic is also available as a filament for 3D printing (generally available as a transparent, white, or black filament).
Uses for Acrylic Sheets
Acrylic aeroplane canopies
Fashion accessories (cuff bracelets,acrylic nails)
Display product (model of clear iphone case for a tradeshow)