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Polishing Acrylic?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
How do I get the edges of acrylic to be really smooth and such? Cutting it usually creates a bunch of scratches and such right? Also, what type of table saw blade would I need to cut the acrylic?

I did a search, there's nothing on polishing acrylic, but a bunch on cutting,
    
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post #2 of 24
I think usually a flame is used to polish the acrylic..idd sand it down with some 200 or 400 grit to get it smoother than use that flame thing that comes in a can (you know the ones plumbers use)
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post #3 of 24
Sand it up to 800-1000 grit and polish with anything from automotive car polish to the acrylic scratch remover polish kits that are available.
You can uses even finer sand paper...
Also. 3M FinnesseIt II for automotive finishes works great too...
FinnessIt II works on almost any plastic... even LCD monitors...
It don't do jack on naturally dull plastics though!
    
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post #4 of 24
from what i can tell, there are 2 types of acrylic. (this is from experience so dont quote me on this).

i have bought acrylic from home depot. clear sheet. use like 200 - 300 grit sandpaper on a wooden block to sand it flat or to the edge you want (whether its flat or rounded). using a propane blow torch (at a small flame...) put the flame about 1 inch or so from teh acrylic and move across the edge at approx 1 inch per 1-2 seconds. becareful to not let it get hot enough to bubble.

i have this other type of acrylic i got off craigslist thats like a dark gray - black tinted acrylic. apparently that cant be flamed. only way to "shine" the edge is to sand it really smooth going from 200 grit to 400 to 800 to 1500 and maybe 2000 grit. make sure its VERY VERY smooth with no scratches. Using a buffing wheel and rouge, buff the edge. If you dont make sure its smooth and scratchless, the buffing will make it VERY apparent.

take your take. dont rush. if you rush, u might accidently sand some other part or at an angle that you dont want and get pissed at yourself. patience is a virtue. dont rush and you will be rewarded.

*edit*

to add to The Duke, acrylic/plastic scratch remover ONLY works of scratches that are small, and cant be felt by nail or something.
Edited by iandroo888 - 6/19/08 at 11:40am
 
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post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Would a hole saw work for drilling holes?
I need to make sure it's low speed or something, right?
    
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post #6 of 24
A holesaw will work but I find that it melts the edge and leaves it pretty fugly so I then end up sanding and so forth as posted above.

A handy tool is a 3" buffing wheel on a mandrel in either a drill or drill press..this will allow you to polish the inside of large holes.

One tip I can add is that you can often get a relatively good start on polishing an edge by first filing it with a PLasticut laminates file (available through most Mica Suppliers and some hardware stores) The nice thing about a file is once you get the hang of using it you can leave a much nicer edge than coarse sandpaper: nice and flat with few scratches.

For cutting plastic you can us any high tooth count table saw or skilsaw blade...but you will get the best result from a special (read expensive) saw blade with 0 or negative rake to the teeth, and an ATB (Alternating Tooth Bevel) tooth pattern that has reliefs laser cut into the blade to handle the heat of the plastic.

Use wax or soap whenever possible to aid in the cutting: obviously this may not be practical or safe on a Tablesaw...but it will help.
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post #7 of 24
if you flame polish, use MAP gas not propane or butane.
they have it at home depot. I got a kit with a replaceable tank, and it has a cool igniter-handle thing, and has an "always on" setting so you dont need to hold a trigger or button all the time.

I like the 3M Perfect It 2 advice above too. I am going to the auto store today so I am gonna pick up some of that, along with the Imperial hand glaze for the case
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post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
What do you mean by using max or soap?
Also, the Acrylic is pretty thin, ~0.1", so could I cut it using a knife or something?
Thanks for the help.

Also, how does flame polishing work? Does the heat just make the acrylic smoother or something?
Edited by xHassassin - 6/19/08 at 12:25pm
    
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post #9 of 24
use Novus plastic polish. if its acrylic.
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post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by xHassassin View Post
What do you mean by using max or soap?
Also, the Acrylic is pretty thin, ~0.1", so could I cut it using a knife or something?
Thanks for the help.

Also, how does flame polishing work? Does the heat just make the acrylic smoother or something?
Many people without access to tools use a razorknife and straightedge and score the piece and snap it using the straightedge and a table edge to make a nicew clean break. I prefer to use wqhat I always use...and have not tried that.

The heat "heals" the rough surface...it sort of melts it back together.
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