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Old 05-25-2013, 08:44 AM   #1
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Working with acrylic

I removed our never used ice-maker on the sundeck of our boat and am fabricating a cabinet door to close the space and use it for storage. I am matching an adjacent door made out of acrylic. I have never worked with acrylic and got a piece 3/8" thick. I would like to add some thickness where the hinges will attach to the acrylic. I was thinking of using wood since the hinges will attach to the inside of the acrylic door and won't be seen.
My question is what method should I use to attach the wood to the acrylic? I think super-glue is generally used with acrylic but I'm not sure how this would bond to the wood. Any ideas?
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:23 AM   #2
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Why not use an acrylic piano hinge and the special acrylic cement that will chemically weld the parts together? Quick and easy! Drilling acrylic sheet can put stress cracks in the plastic, and will lead to premature failure.

Acrylic Sheet Cementing & Fastening | Capillary Cementing to Ultrasonic Welding
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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I'd go that way too. I've tried to drill acrylic many times, and no matter how careful I've been, the stress cracks appear, even after dulling the bits. The most success has come from drilling a very small pilot hole, and using a cone type grinder to rout out the finished hole. Dulling the bits helps, but the last 1/16th of an inch usually breaks out.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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Thanks guys, but a piano hinge won't work. The door sits inside the cabinet about an inch, not on it's face. I'll need a blum style hinge without the large hole in the door.
I'm thinking of getting enough scrap acrylic thick enough to hold the hinge screws and gluing it to the door.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:04 PM   #5
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I bought a set of drill bits specifically for acrylic (pic). They produce very clean holes without melting or stress-cracking. Set the drilling machine to slow, light pressure only and withdraw the bit every few seconds to clear the flutes.

I also bought an acrylic-cutting blade for my little Makita rechargeable saw (pic). It's a great combination because the Makita turns the blade relatively slowly and the blade is designed to clear the swarf - so no heat build up. The resulting cut edges are very smooth and can be cleaned further with #100 sandpaper.

There is a technique called flame-polishing that produces a mirror finish to the edges of cut acrylic. It involves playing a cool (dirty) oxy-acetylene flame on the edges just sufficiently to start the melting process, but not enough to make it run. I have not had the courage to try this yet!
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoalwaters View Post

There is a technique called flame-polishing that produces a mirror finish to the edges of cut acrylic. It involves playing a cool (dirty) oxy-acetylene flame on the edges just sufficiently to start the melting process, but not enough to make it run. I have not had the courage to try this yet!
A regular home Propane torch will do the same thing. When my Dualsport Motorcycle plastics got faded from the sun, I'd do this and bring some shine back. Have yourself a bucket of cool water and a rag, and wipe the surface as soon as it gets a shine. that will stop distortions.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:12 PM   #7
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Shoalwaters, what is the drill bit called.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:05 PM   #8
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Tim, if you must drill acrylic- SLOW and steady works. Regular drill bits work fine- No heat buildup is the name of the game. Also, drill oversized holes- compression fractures are likely to happen if the hole is the side of the fastener.
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:25 AM   #9
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Tim, I bought my set of Plas-Drill bits plus the other stuff from Craftics. Lots of other goodies on that page - hold tight to your credit card!
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