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Thien Seperator #1: Old Lexan

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Blog entry by romanweel posted 07-06-2015 12:48 AM 813 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I may or may not do much in-depth coverage of this build…I don’t have a lot of pictures for it. But I wanted to share this little bit of advice that I wish I had found when I needed it.

I had a piece of old Lexan left to me by the previous owner of my house. It’s almost perfectly sized to become the walls of a Thien tophat seperator, and it’s 3/8” thick. BUT it’s been sitting in the garage for who knows how long, and the backing paper on both sides had rotted in place. It’s the worst kind of stuck-on paper where the paper peels off in 1/2 layers leaving a fuzzy, solid sheet of glue behind over The Entire Piece of Lexan. Apparently, this is common (even on relatively new sheets).

The Internet Knowledge base suggested that petroleum-based products were a terrible idea (Goo-Gone, Goof Off, WD40, etc), and heat would be tricky on polycarbonate. I personally found alcohol to be only marginally effective against the glue, and after an hour’s worth of elbow grease and about 5” of progress, I was ready to just go buy a new piece of polycarbonate. So I checked the price.

3/8” x 48” x 48” Lexan™ Polycarbonate Sheet $262.24/Sheet
In Stock.
Ships Soon.

Sooooooooo I decided maybe I could work with what I had.

In a fit of frustration, I left the piece sitting in a trashcan full of water for the night. And lo! the angel of the workshop smiled on my frustrated act of despair! The next morning, that glue just gave up and let go at the gentle persuasion of a soft sponge. So the next night, I filled a bigger trash can. (that lovely clean end is the bit that I left soaking the night before)

I had to work one half of the sheet at a time, and it still took a lot of soaking, but I’ll take soaking over scrubbing any day!

Ok, so what I learned:

  1. Soak old Lexan in plain old water to loosen the glue.
  2. Use a soft sponge to remove the residue.
  3. And DO NOT scrub with one of those green scrub pads. Maybe this is common knowledge…I certainly didn’t know it. And now my hard-fought-for Lexan is cloudy in the middle >:/ It’s fine. I’m over it. I’m using it as-is.

And that’s it! Good luck, anyone trying to use old Lexan. If you were lucky enough to have gotten it for free, that’s awesome! But if you had to buy it, hopefully these tips will help you keep from going crazy over it or scuffing it up like I did.



6 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

19172 posts in 2135 days


#1 posted 07-06-2015 01:39 AM

You can remove the “cloudiness”....
With headlight restoration abrasives & a drill with a pad.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View romanweel's profile

romanweel

16 posts in 706 days


#2 posted 07-06-2015 01:47 AM

Thanks, Randy, I’ll look at that.

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

19172 posts in 2135 days


#3 posted 07-06-2015 01:58 AM

Before you go through the effort….
May want to ask folks that have used lexan, for Thien Tophats.
I wonder if the abrasive sawdust ends up making the lexan cloudy.
I’d hate to see you expend time, effort and money, all for naught!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View romanweel's profile

romanweel

16 posts in 706 days


#4 posted 07-06-2015 07:18 AM

Yes, I had thought of that, too. But it seems that most of the recommendations on the Thien site are for Lexan, and since I happened to have this piece that is just about the perfect size, I figured I’d follow popular opinion. Besides, there’s always the chance I’ll get a clog inside the separator, and the clear walls will give me an idea of where the problem is (even if they get cloudy). If the interior of the walls get scuffed once in use, oh well. I can use something different on the next build, but I’ll be no worse off for having tried.

View racerglen's profile

racerglen

3112 posts in 2240 days


#5 posted 07-06-2015 10:29 AM

Caught a youngish guy at the drags one time using an SOS pad to take his dial in off his Lexan side window..that was terminal…

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View romanweel's profile

romanweel

16 posts in 706 days


#6 posted 08-18-2015 01:20 AM

So I tried the headlight restoration kit from 3M. I think maybe because the scratches were on both sides of the Lexan, the process succeeded only in making my scuffed sheet look uniformly cloudy. Translucent instead of transparent. Maybe if I’d used an entire kit on each side instead of using one kit on both sides. Maybe if I’d spent 4 hours instead of 2.
Yep, the green scrub pad was terminal, it appears. It’s fine. Besides the price of the kit ($15, I think?), the Lexan was still free, so I can’t really complain. Live and learn.

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