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Forum topic by dust4tears posted 07-28-2012 01:04 AM 856 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dust4tears

397 posts in 837 days


07-28-2012 01:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router base acrylic help advice

Yellllow Lumber Jocks and Jock~etts,

I am doing my first go at making my own Router Base out of 1/4” acrylic. (For sign making~~but that doesnt matter)

How can I get the ‘edge’ off of the acrylic? I DO NOT have a torch….Do I just sand it? I DO HAVE a dremel and every possible accessory~~ That was my first thought.

Any thoughts are welcome Por Favor~

Dust4tears

-- Ride hard or go home~


13 replies so far

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2396 posts in 2127 days


#1 posted 07-28-2012 01:16 AM

If you can put the edge over a very hot source of heat it will actually melt and smooth out. The trick is not to heat it so the sheet warps. A paint stripping heat gun is what has worked for me as you can pull it away when you need to.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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dust4tears

397 posts in 837 days


#2 posted 07-28-2012 01:19 AM

I forgot, I do have a heat gun~
Thanks

-- Ride hard or go home~

View Roger's profile

Roger

14859 posts in 1493 days


#3 posted 07-28-2012 01:30 AM

One thing while cutting, I would do it in steps.. Don’t try cutting right through the whole 1/4” piece, do it a little at a time. When I cut acrylic, I take very light passes, then when you get through that last little bit, what’s left will just “break” off with your fingers. Besides, I’m sure if you cut through the whole thing, I’d bet you saw mighta got plugged up with all that heated, melted acrylic. Good luck, Craftsman sounds like he’s got a good way also

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1266 days


#4 posted 07-28-2012 03:50 AM

I usually rout a shallow roundover or chamfer on my router bases I make.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View dust4tears's profile

dust4tears

397 posts in 837 days


#5 posted 07-28-2012 03:54 AM

I havent even used heat yet and the acrylic seems to be (the router base, cut from the initial piece) bowing~~

Now I am nervous to add heat. If I weighted it down with rocks and weights, and then heated it, do y’all think it would be stable enough?

Or do you know if my concern is wasteful?

-- Ride hard or go home~

View MNgary's profile

MNgary

235 posts in 1106 days


#6 posted 07-28-2012 12:39 PM

Back when a nickel bought a candy bar, my shop teacher had us use emery cloth and then buff with polishing compound.

-- I dream of the world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2907 posts in 1774 days


#7 posted 07-28-2012 02:41 PM

If it does warp, I found that my heat gun and a piece of heavy plate metal will level almost any plastic.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

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NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1266 days


#8 posted 07-28-2012 03:32 PM

I never worried about bowing; usually screwing it to the router casting straightens it out.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Pimzedd's profile

Pimzedd

461 posts in 2493 days


#9 posted 07-29-2012 03:41 AM

I taught Plastics Technology for 34 years. Lots of acrylic fab.

Just sand the edge with some 120 and 220 sandpaper. If you want it to be polished, use some 400 and 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper, use it wet. Then get some polishing compound from an auto supply store and buff it out. One of your dremel buffing wheels will speed that up.

Any heating tends to change the shape of acrylic. It can be polished with a torch but it will make the edge swell slightly. The best flame is a oxygen/hydrogen flame which most people don’t have access to.

Hope this helps.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

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dust4tears

397 posts in 837 days


#10 posted 07-29-2012 03:58 AM

Pimzedd~~
It does help. (I put off doing it, so it is still an issue.)
I tired to run it across a piece of wood though. I got caught on the wood, from the screw holes that I used to put handles on. (I should attach pictures~ Next post I will~ )
Do you think sanding it will get rid of that issue, or do you think I will have to ‘collapse’ the hole on itself to prevent it?

(Sorry if these questions sound amateurish….but, I am well, an amateur-sp?- ~)

-- Ride hard or go home~

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3797 posts in 2057 days


#11 posted 07-29-2012 04:40 AM

I don’t use acrylic for my bases. For a little more money and a lot more strength I use polycarbonate of the same thickness. Another benefit of polycarb is the it resists scratches better but it is also very difficult to make an edge clear unless you vapor polish it. You can get near clear with the sanding techniques but it will not be as clear as acrylic.

I have not tried the new head light clearing products but they make work.

I leave the paper on the plastic until the very last operation. I use a chamfer bit or round over on all accessesible edges, sand whatever I want smoother, check for burrs, and then remove the paper. Then look for any more burrs and/or sharp edges, remove whatever is required and I am done.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Pimzedd's profile

Pimzedd

461 posts in 2493 days


#12 posted 07-29-2012 01:41 PM

Photos would help.

Is your wood is catching on the tops of the screws or the edge of the holes? If the screws, are they flathead screws the set into counter sinked holes, then counter sink the holes a little more. If the edge of the holes in the plastic, then sand the edges.

For me, I would not worry about polishing or getting scratches. It is going to happen. Oldnovice suggested polycarbonate. It is a very tough plastic but softer that acrylic. It will be possible to polish surface scratches later in the acrylic. Pretty much impossible to polish surface scratches in polycarb.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

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oldnovice

3797 posts in 2057 days


#13 posted 07-30-2012 05:40 AM

I agree with pimzedd but I just wanted to show how much stronger poly Carb is versus Acrylic.

Poly Carb versus Acrylic

I have just used polycarb more than Acrylic for router bases. I use Acrylic for templates because the scratches, due to use, can be polished out.

I am fortunate to have a Tap plastics store close to my house and there are always remnants of both Acrylic and Polycarbonate, and other types like ABS, polyethelene etc. which are reasonably priced.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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