Working with acrylic or polycarbonates

jfkal

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I intend to replace my windows myself. Any experience with working with acrylic or polycarbonates? Would it work to take out the old windows use them as template and cut the new ones with a router into shape? Any tips, tricks, precautions? Which is the right router bit to use?
 
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The Trend cataogue lists special router bits for polycarb but expensive, probably best to try your existing bits first. Not too fast speed otherwise it may burn. And from a safety point of view, make sure you wear saftey glasses..
 

oldsaltoz

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Hi Jfkal.
Before you remove the old windows have a very close inspection and make sure the fit you have is good, you may want to add or trim a little in some areas also check the radius on all corners. You can use them for templates, I found the best method is to cut them to shape then router them, I used a standard router bit on the outside edge only, make sure your drill and router bits are razor sharp and don’t push them. A steady flow of water when drilling is better than oil as the oil may prevent sealant sticking if missed in the cleanup. Don’t remove the protective paper till you are ready to fit the windows.
Avaniceday Old Salt Oz....
 

Strathglass

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I personally would not use a router, I would use a very slow speed Jigsaw and water lubrication if necessary. I do not think that a low/ medium cost router would be able to sun at a slow enough speed not to melt the plastic.
 
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I did all my own windows with ICI perspex using a jig saw on slow speed with wood working blades, metal blades are too fine. I did not lubricate at all. Use your old windows as templates.

Test a bit and if the back splinters then use your old windows as a backing plate, clamp tightly, you will have to move the clamps about a bit as you cut thru both at the same time it will stop the splintering. I used a belt sander to level any defect in the cut. Use a sharp knife and drag along the sharp edge of the cut to make a slight bevel, stops you cutting your fingers. To take away the whiteness of the cut use a an electric heat gun, paint stripper type, be carefull practice on off cuts.

When drilling you must have a backing plate of old bits of acrylic or hard wood clamped very tight either side of the hole to be drilled, practice first. Drill the hole at least .5mm bigger than the screw to allow for contraction/expansion other wise you may get cracks.

I made all my wash boards too out of 10mm thickness but 12mm at the edges by gluing on 2mm strips use chloroform as glue if used properly you will not see the join where too clean faces touch. I did the overlaps the same way. Amazing stuff. I also made a cockpit table out of the stuff but it can scratch easily.

Go for it!
 

steffen

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Re: Cooling when tooling Perspex or polycarb.

At school -oh yes, long time ago- i learned to use methyl-alcohol (the standard household stuff) as coolant since the evaporation drains a huge amount of heat from the tool and the material around it and it does not affect the material itself.
Ventilate well and dont smoke
 

Stemar

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Re: Cooling when tooling Perspex or polycarb.

If you use meths, ventilate VERY well. The electric motors in most domestic power tools spark more or less constantly at the commutator. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable using anything so inflammable.

Also be careful with any water-based coolant. The motors aren't waterproof either. Use an RCD.

You can't win with domestic power tools. If your coolant is inflammable you fry, if it's conductive, you get eletrocuted ... and if it's neither it chews up the ozone layer so you get skin cancer!
 
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