The process of acrylic fabrication involves different methods aimed at creating different desirable structures and shapes using unprocessed acrylic. The acrylic sheets are cut into pieces, according to required specifications. The professionals use different tools for cutting these sheets and such tools include blades, plastic cutters, saber saws, routers and table saws. The articles made from acrylic are usually given a glossy and flame polished finishing at its edges with the use of a hydrogen-oxygen torch.
The process of acrylic fabrication also involves rendering the desired colors and decorations to acrylic articles. The acrylic fabricators usually use spray painting or screen printing method for this purpose. For the decorative purpose, vinyl films are used in many cases. You can also have custom made acrylic articles, where more than one piece is fixed with another part of the article in order to give it a unique figure. The fabricators may also use adhesives, screws, nuts and bolts and even ultrasonic welding process, as per the need to attach one acrylic piece to another. Such decorative items include trophies, different display and decor items.
Applications of Acrylic Objects
There are different applications of acrylic objects and the most common usage is in exhibition and display. There may be different decorative items, signage and light fixtures but apart from these, acrylic is also used for other purposes. The acrylic fabricators may also use it for making:
- Automotive trim
- Windows for swimming pools
- Acrylic ship windows
- Public aquarium windows
- Acrylic architectural glazing
- Flood windows
- Submarine windows
- Exhibition and display solutions
- Rear projection screens, and
- Acrylic transparent barriers
Acrylic has superior optical clarity, resistance to sunlight and impact and even to extreme temperatures. This makes acrylic the most suitable material for different applications, such as:
- Flame polishing
- Medical industry
- Food industry
- Tooling and industrial purposes
- Laser engraving and much more
Types of Acrylic
The acrylic fabricators use plastics for all sorts of different projects. The material is available in both transparent as well as colored options. It can be machined, heated, laser cut or bent into almost any desired shape. Usually acrylic comes in two distinct varieties, such as extruded and cast. Both these types look, apparently, identical but the one you l choose largely depends on your fabrication plans.
- Extruded acrylic – This type of acrylic has a low melting temperature than the cast acrylic. This property makes it ideal for trajectory cutting on any laser cutter but, unsuitable for milling or drilling.
- Cast acrylic – This type of acrylic is preferred when you need to do laser engraving. Usually, laser engraving results in a frosty white color that is in contrast with the rest of the material. When laser engraving is done on an extruded acrylic, it results in a clear engraving which does not create a contrast.
Working with Acrylic
Flame polishing is done by acrylic fabricators to make a frosty appearing edge look clearer. A propane or MAP gas torch is used to give it a transparent and polished appearance. Edges that are to be glued should be prevented to ensure a strong joint.
Bending is done with the help of a strip heater that softens the acrylic material to bend it to the desired angle.
When you need to cut acrylic, the acrylic fabricators use a plastic scoring blade and score the acrylic several times along the same line. This helps you to snap the piece in two with a little pressure. This is done by placing the acrylic on the edge of the table.
This blog post written by Hayley Potter. The opinions expressed in this post are based on her personal view.