Material:Acrylic Glass

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Acrylic Glass

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Synonyms: poly(methyl methacrylate), PMMA, "Perspex",
"Plexiglass"; DE: Acrylglas, "Plexiglas"
Suggested Donation: approx. 10 € per m² and mm thickness
Suggested Tools: laser cutter, files,
scroll saw, jigsaw(?)

Acrylic glass is a thermoplastic and commonly known under the brand name "Plexiglass".

Be careful not to confuse this with "Bastelglas" (polystyrene) or similar when laser cutting, the other types will emit fumes harmful to humans and the laser cutter or may melt onto the bed.

Cutting

You can saw acrylic glass almost like wood, but it will melt due to heat and stick to the saw, so do it slowly. It is also possible to score a line and break it over an edge, as you would do with actual glass.

Much better though: laser cut it! If it's not too thick, you'll end up with perfect edges and nicely repeatable results.

You'll often find a protective foil on freshly purchased pieces - leave that on during cutting to reduce the chances of shattering (when sawing) or a buildup of unsightly residues (when laser cutting)!

Engraving

Prior to engraving (with a rotary tool or laser cutter), you should remove the protective foil on the side you want to work on.

Engravings become a dull and intransparent version of the original material's color. For more visible and colorful engravings, consider using fill-in paint!

Joining

Gluing

It is possible to join two pieces of acrylic using special adhesives like Acrifix.

Thermal Bonding

It seems to be possible to "sandwich" sheets of acrylic glass purely by heat and pressure. In this paper they use simple clamps and "110°C for up to 2 hours in a fan assisted oven" - sounds like a perfect experiment for a drying oven!

Sourcing

Buyer's Guide

Online shops are cheaper, but if you do not need much, the shipping fee will make it equally or more expensive compared to hardware stores. A good rule of thumb is 10 € per m² and mm thickness. You might find offcuts for a lower price.

Example Stores

You can buy acrylic glass from the following shops, among others:

  • "Zuschnitt" in Bauhaus
    • only clear
    • offcuts may be available
  • Hornbach in Pfaffengrund/Wieblingen
    • several colors available.
  • Plattenzuschnitt24
    • cheap acrylics, plexiglas, low shipping prices
    • they also ship samples for a 5 € fee (can be used as credit for your next purchase)
  • hbholzmaus Kunststoffe
    • fast & cheap shipping, many other plastics available
    • also sell cheap offcuts (various sizes, easily big enough for laser cutting!)