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Cutting lexan

 
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butler34
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:40 pm    Post subject: Cutting lexan Reply with quote

How do you all do it? I've ruined alot of pieces trying to score and break it. what's the trick?
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oilersfan99
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had great success using a table saw to cut acrylic. I've then polished the cut a little to improve the look. Acrylic is a little different than lexan - but I've never needed the strength of lexan.
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Clonefan94
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tablesaw. Lexan is designed not to break. So, the only way to cut it is by saw or melting.
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tonscia
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, but my experience is different.
Lexan is a trade name for polycarbonate sheet.
I purchased a .060" thk polycarbonate sheet tradenamed Makrolon.
I repeatedly scored it on both sides with a sharp blade, making sure the remaining thickness was less than or equal to one half the original thickness.
I snapped it with no problem.
Try this method on a sample first.
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ChallengerSRT8
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tonscia wrote:
I repeatedly scored it on both sides with a sharp blade, making sure the remaining thickness was less than or equal to one half the original thickness.
I snapped it with no problem.
Try this method on a sample first.

That's what they told me to do at Lowe's (where I bought my Lexan) and it worked for me.
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butler34
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys, that's how I've been doing it, I thought maybe there was a cleaner way, I always seem to get a few rough spots where it doesn't break clean..usually on a longer piece.
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tonscia
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now there's the matter of bending.
You need to relieve the stress built up from bending.

Some people heat up the lexan by putting it in boiling water and bend to a particular shape.

The first time I just bent it to the shape of the game without heating.
Stress cracks developed in only one of the four corners after a few months. While still relatively strong, it was not aesthetically pleasing.

The second time I bent it to the shape of the game and then applied heat carefully from a 1000 deg F heat gun over the entire bend. A very small stress fracture has developed in one on eight corners on two games. I probably did not use the heat gun correctly on that corner.

I'm sure others have sucessfully tried other methods.

I have found that a 6-1/2" high glass (from the playing surface) is keeping the puck in play more than 95% of the time.
This is for a Custom Coleco game made by the big three in Montreal.
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ChallengerSRT8
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tonscia wrote:
I bent it to the shape of the game and then applied heat carefully from a 1000 deg F heat gun over the entire bend. A very small stress fracture has developed in one on eight corners on two games. I probably did not use the heat gun correctly on that corner.

I'm sure others have sucessfully tried other methods.

Boiling water is the best.
Rasta
When you're done with the glass, throw in some pasta.
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Jim Rzonca
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChallengerSRT8 wrote:
tonscia wrote:
I bent it to the shape of the game and then applied heat carefully from a 1000 deg F heat gun over the entire bend. A very small stress fracture has developed in one on eight corners on two games. I probably did not use the heat gun correctly on that corner.

I'm sure others have sucessfully tried other methods.

Boiling water is the best.
Rasta
When you're done with the glass, throw in some pasta.


You are correct Robert. Nothing like boiling water to bend some glass with minimal distortion & no stress cracks. That Pasta boiled in the plasticized residue water is tempting. The heat gun heats small areas at a time at various degrees. That leaves things blurry compared to a big pot of water which heats every square inch to the same degree. BUT heat gun will do the trick. Depends on how pickey one is.

Extra Sause Please!
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Last edited by Jim Rzonca on Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jim Rzonca
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

butler34 wrote:
Thanks guys, that's how I've been doing it, I thought maybe there was a cleaner way, I always seem to get a few rough spots where it doesn't break clean..usually on a longer piece.


A little sand paper or a fine flat file at the end will set things straight Trent.

Keep Cuttin!
Jim Rzonca
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butler34
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks fellas, I appreciate the tips. I really like the way Dwayne S. does his glass, do his games look as good in person as they do in pics? I bet they do.
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Jim Rzonca
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even better in person mr Butler.

Jim Rzonca
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Clonefan94
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tonscia wrote:
I'm sorry, but my experience is different.
Lexan is a trade name for polycarbonate sheet.
I purchased a .060" thk polycarbonate sheet tradenamed Makrolon.
I repeatedly scored it on both sides with a sharp blade, making sure the remaining thickness was less than or equal to one half the original thickness.
I snapped it with no problem.
Try this method on a sample first.


Sorry, I shouldn't have said "only way" I should have said that table saw is the way I do it. If you have the tool, it's really pretty fast.
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tonscia
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speed always comes at a cost (the cost of a saw). This is a fundamental issue in manufacturing and production. So, it is up to the decision maker as to what choice to make.

The inexpensive blade does, of course, take much more time and manual precision. It is very important to have the scoring on both sides of the sheet to be in as accurate alignment as possible. This should minimize the rough cut. You probably could cut all the way through the sheet, but this will take much more time.
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johnbenej
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just reading this thread and am wondering, why Lexan???

1/8 inch thick acrylic works just fine. It looks fine, is sturdy--we attach our timers to the glass and turn them on and off with no visible stress to the glass--and if you have it 5 inches high, keeps the puck in play.

Also, it is very easy to bend if you boil like Rich and Jim do. Rich Thill showed me in 2 hours how to do it, and if I can do it, then you most certainly can.

Another suggestion is: why not ask the glass place (dealer) to cut the glass for you? My glass place does it. I just tell them the measurements and they cut it for me. Then I file it down so that it is not sharp. Why do more work when you don't have to?

The beauty of boiling is that it does not mark up or damage the glass in any way, is simple, and correcting mistakes is possible.

Unless you are going to use a vulcanized rubber puck on your game--which I doubt--then there is no use for lexan. Overkill.

good luck!
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Jim Rzonca
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of corse its only my personal choice and neither is wrong so for Table Hockey game glass i perfer Acrylic over Lexan. Acrylic has much better vision over time. Acrylic has a better look to it, Its rigid and straight and does not yellow, wave and scuff like Lexan. Most that choose Lexan i think because they can bend it which is great.

If one where to break out the microscope for the best looking modeling aspect i think its...

#1 Real Glass
#2 Acrylic
#3 Lexan
#4 Stiga Plastic Shields
#5 Poster Board

Shure you can Cut it.


Can you bend it?
Jim Rzonca
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butler34
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just found a plastics place near where I work, they carry all kinds of material and cut to size, I'm gonna try the acrylic. I have always bought Lexan because that was what they had at the local hardware store. Does anyone know the difference in price between the two?
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ChallengerSRT8
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Rzonca wrote:
Of corse its only my personal choice and neither is wrong so for Table Hockey game glass i perfer Acrylic over Lexan. Acrylic has much better vision over time. Acrylic has a better look to it, Its rigid and straight and does not yellow, wave and scuff like Lexan. Most that choose Lexan i think because they can bend it which is great.
Jim Rzonca

I must have bought acrylic because it is still very clear like when it was brand new. I didn't know the difference at the time.
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oilersfan99
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Acrylic can be bent by boiling water or using a heat gun just like lexan. I **think** acrylic is cheaper than lexan. I've always just bought my stuff at Home Depot.
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SFR Table Hockey
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With Lexan (polycarbonate) in 1/8" you don't need to pre heat. You can bend to a 90 degree angle and it will hold. From there if you bend back and forth it will begin to tear and eventually snap. If you want a gentle curve around a game it just needs to be held in place. It won't retaine memory unless it is bent to a full 90 degree. If you score it and bend it so the score mark is to the outside it will snap clean. You can even cut small runs with a sissor. I do it for the shape of the glass on my games. Table saw, band saw, even circular saw if you can support the sheets top and bottom. Lexan should not discolor but will scratch.

Acrylic or plexiglass is a whole different thing. Yes pre heat and when cut on a table saw it can chip and snap easily if not carefull.

Cost 4'x8' Lexan close to $100 CND. Not sure on acrylic as I no longer get that stuff.
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Jim Rzonca
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a clear view ==> http://www.hydrosight.com/technology/polycarbonate_vs_acrylic.php

Jim Rzonca
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ChallengerSRT8
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Rzonca wrote:
For a clear view ==> http://www.hydrosight.com/technology/polycarbonate_vs_acrylic.php

Jim Rzonca

That's the whole story.
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tonscia
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting videos on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsls5ZPCUnE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydpQdQXN0D4&feature=related

There are several others on YouTube for "polycarbonate vs acrylic" and "bending plastic" FYI.
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