Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), also commonly known as acrylic (Plexiglass and Acylite are all brand name acrylics) is a transparent thermoplastic often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. The Idea Shop stocks acrylic in following thickness and respective colors:
- 0.0625" (1.5mm) Acrylic
- white, black
- 0.125" (3mm) Acrylic:
- opaque red, clear, glass tint , orange, white, black, opaque grey
- 0.25" (6mm) Acrylic
- clear, white, black
Working with Acrylic
Acrylic can be used in many different ways and can be formed into different shapes and sizes. Here in the Idea Shop, the panel saw, table saw, band saw, as well as the laser cutter, can all be used to cut acrylic. We also have a line bender for folding and curving sheets of acrylic.
Lasers + Acrylic = A match made in heaven
The best option for cutting acrylic is the laser cutter. As a side effect of laser cutting is immense heat, the heat leaves acrylic with a polished edge, highly suitable for adhering. Using the laser to cut acrylic offers the best surface finish possible for the edges.
Adhering Using Acrylic Solvent
Note: always wear surgical gloves before working with acrylic solvent. It is also highly flammable. Acrylic solvent is low viscosity transparent fluid that will bond and dissolve two sections of acrylic permanently. Acrylic solvent is not an adhesive; rather, the solvent softens the acrylic, and allows the molecules from each piece to intertwine and fuse together into one piece.
The video below offers a great introduction to using acrylic solvent.
- The two bonding pieces must be held securely together. Consider using clamps or a jig.
- In a situation where there is excess solvent on the bonding surface, do not attempt to wipe up the solvent, as it will leave a cloudy smudge. Instead, allow the solvent to evaporate.
- Allow a minimum of 24 hours for the solvent to cure before exerting load on it. Use of excess acrylic solvent may leave a frosty texture around the bonding surfaces.
Acrylic can also be used for vacuum forming molds. To vacuum form, you must have at least a 12" x 12" sheet.