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acrylic side panel - Page 2

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syrillian View Post
It is unlikely that Lowes will perform the work for you.

I use a Dremel, sidways bit, and a circle-cutting attachment.

Others use Hole saws, but they can be rather costly... and are quite the aggressive cutting implement.

I prefer the Dremel as it is a single tool that performs multilple tasks. Additionally with the Dremel one can cut any size hole from 3/4" - 12" in diameter.

I doubt Lowe's will do anything other than simple straight cuts; I much rather make my own cuts anyways.

I've used both a Hole saw and the Dremel circle cutter on acrylic; the hole saw tends do provide a cleaner cut but is expensive for a 115mm saw, while the circle cutter is more versatile but leaves a tung that has to be cleaned up at the very end of the cut.
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post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
so how thick should the acrylic be? how difficult is it to cut circular holes with a dremel in acrylic? I have only done straight cuts with my dremel.
post #13 of 24
For your purposes a 1/8" thick sheet should do it as it is not load-bearing.

A panel of that gauge can readily support several 120mm fans. If you are uncertain you could go thicker, but 3/16" may very well be the limit.

Make certain that if you do go thicker that the added thickness will not interfere with the panels mouting mechanism/rail/whatever....

Bear in mind that if you plan to re-use the stock mounting pins, that the new panel should be the same gauge as the stock panel.

Also, if you plan on mounting a fan in the new window you may want to get new hardware (nuts and bolts) as the standard fan-screws do not do all that well with acrylic. Generally speaking, a metal and plastic combination for mounting is not recommended; metal to metal (metal nut and bolt) will have greater longevity.

If you do drill holes then you may want to consider an acrylic bit. Standard bits will do, but greater caution is in order as this type of bit will chip the acrylic without warning, and occasionally crack it.
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post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
okay, it all sounds good, you have been a lot of help sryillian. so the only thing left for me before buying it is, how is cutting circular holes in it with the dremel?
post #15 of 24
My pleasure.

It is fairly straightforward, but some care and attention are required at the end of the cut as the center-point will lose its rigidity.

An easy work-around; shift focus from the center point to the end that is furthest from the bit and cut in a decreasing-radius manner; this will leave a small barb. You will need to have the sanding drum attachment to remover the barb and to clean up the cut.

I sounds odd, but I don't know of any better way to describe it.

If you would like I will post some pics of the method.

When polished, the end result is something like this:


These 120mm fan holes were cut with a dremel, then sanded and polished.
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post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
pics would be nice if you don't mind. could you include a picture of the attachments and bits you are using?
post #17 of 24
Surely



These bits to drill holes:



This attachment to cut holes:






With this type of bit:




The barb:




Removed with this:



By tapping gently:




Until it is like this:




After-which, sanding the entire edge with the sanding drum (clockwise) should leave the inner edge like so:




That is a decent surface to start polishing which is another can-o-worms, it could also be left as is, or taped off with plastic tape or electrical tape.
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post #18 of 24
cutting hole with hole saw actually is kind of hard.

my first try, i did it with my project tuxedo. had a little mess up and it always caught onto the acrylic spinning the drilling hurting my wrist.

if you do decide to use a hole saw, heres what you should do (sometime i came up with recently and probably a lot of ppl do it)


- get a scrap piece of wood and cut a hole with the hole saw in it to use as template
- drill a "Center" hole in the middle of where you want the hole to be for the hole saw arbor bit to go in.
- clamp acrylic, "template" hole together onto a table or something. (prevents them moving and the template prevents the hole saw from going anywhere else.. like.. across your hand... *cough* syrillian knows what i did to myself recently...)
- using both hands to hold drill.. slowly drill/cut the hole. due to the properties of acrylic (plastic), high friction = high heat = melting. u may need to tilt the drill a little to cut in some areas. for me, never can cut straight thru.. always have one or few sides that are uncut..

sorry i dont have pictures to illustrate. hope that helps.

dam. i hate how syrillian makes the cuts look so nice. >_> and make the edges so polished and shiny T_T
 
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post #19 of 24
Yah... hole saws are dangerous

...nah... not really, just very "aggressive", similar to forstner bits.
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post #20 of 24
well in general, all tools are dangerous and have a safety hazard. becareful and you'll be fine. thats why i suggest using the template, it helps the hole saw from going anywhere
 
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