Acrylic glass work: The overview

Acrylic glass is one of the most popular materials ever. Not only in the craft it can be found in numerous applications, also in home improvement, the plastic enjoys a high priority. This is mainly due to the excellent properties of acrylic glass, but also because it can be processed so versatile and yet uncomplicated.

History and development of acrylic glass

At the end of the 1920s, polymethyl methacrylate, PMMA for short, was invented almost simultaneously in several European countries. But first under the chemist Dr. Otto Röhm succeeded for the first time in producing acrylic glass ready for series production. In 1933 he applied for a patent for this acrylic glass as a plexiglass. The enormous success of the plastic, which belongs to the thermoplastics (plastomers), is to be found in addition to the basic properties, especially in the simple processing.

The processing options of acrylic

How to process and process acrylic glass:

  • Milling, drilling, sawing and cutting
  • File, sand and polish
  • bend, shape
  • welding, bonding, lasering, joining
  • pour and chemically process

Milling, drilling etc. of acrylic glass

In order to achieve good results, the basic properties of acrylic glass must be taken into account. Accordingly, the cutting itself is rather unfavorable (only thin plates). Instead, however, all the cutting methods can be performed optimally. Especially when sawing acrylic glass or drilling PMMA this becomes clear. For all processing we offer you appropriate guides. Also for milling acrylic glass.

Grinding, polishing, filing of polymethylmethacrylate

The grinding of acrylic glass is not only suitable for reworking of cut edges and the like. You can also brilliant satin acrylic, so in its translucency and the surface texture change (roughen).

When polishing acrylic glass, on the other hand, you can reverse the satin finish. So if you want to saw a large-volume acrylic body first, but later on you want a clear cut edge, you first have to sand the acrylic glass and then polish it. Special polishes are available especially for polishing, since PMMA reacts chemically to various solutions that may be contained.

Bending and shaping of acrylic

Acrylic glass belongs to the thermoplastics. It can be bent and deformed in a temperature range between 130 and 170 degrees Celsius. However, a little more expertise is needed. Because after the molding of acrylic glass you should anneal that PMMA necessarily, so it remains really dimensionally stable.

Welding, bonding, bonding and lasering of acrylic

The welding of PMMA also requires a lot of tact. Depending on the method, it is above all the personal experience that is important. The main thing is to heat the acrylic glass evenly over the entire edge, which is to be welded, at the optimum temperature. For hot air blowers, there are special nozzles for this, to which the acrylic rod (welding agent) can also be attached.

Glue acrylic glass

The gluing of acrylic glass, however, is relatively simple. The specialized trade holds numerous products ready for it. However, you can also make yourself good adhesive acrylic for bonding acrylic. More about this in the next paragraph under "casting acrylic glass". In addition to bonding, several techniques are available for joining acrylic glass:

  • mechanically connect (screw, plug)
  • glue
  • welding
Acrylic lasers

The lasering of acrylic glass should not be an option for most DIY enthusiasts. Too expensive is a corresponding laser in the purchase. There are enough service providers who can laser cut acrylic glass at reasonable prices. More information about lasering acrylic glass can be found here.

Tips & Tricks

Many of the described handling and processing options can also be combined well with each other. This makes acrylic one of the most versatile home improvement materials.

With dissolved acrylic (for example, in nitro dilution) you can also stroke cut edges or other roughened PMMA surfaces. Then this surface also becomes clear again.

Pouring and chemical processing of acrylic glass

Casting and chemical processing are some of the most exciting and creative ways to process acrylic glass. You can either buy acrylic as a liquid resin from a specialist retailer or make it yourself. Then you can pour this acrylic glass like that from the trade.

For this purpose, the acrylic is simply dissolved in a suitable dilution (for example, nitro dilution). When pouring the dilution evaporates, the acrylic hardens again. This way, you can glue acrylics clearly (not visible) with one another or, what is very trendy, pour LEDs in acrylic for a wide variety of applications.

Video Board: Skillbuilder: Seven Tips for Working With Acrylic