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Plexiglass body panels...special tools, blades, grinding wheels?

Discussion in 'Center Of Gravity' started by juanblzer, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. juanblzer

    juanblzer 1/2 ton status

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    I'm using plexiglass to enclose my cab area a little. It was only 40 bucks for a sheet so I went for it and it should be easy to mount on some tabs (easy to tell where to drill right?)

    My questions are... should I use certain blades? Can I bevel the edges? If so what do I grind with? Any special tools or techniques I should use? I am definitely using it. I know it scratches pretty easy but that will be offset by stickers and the plexi's light blue tint.

    This should qualify as an extreme body mod. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
     
  2. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    Cut it like it was wood. Sand it like it's wood. Basically any fab operation can be done like it is wood. Use SHARP blades. It will gum up most grinding wheels or sanding belts.

    When bolting or riveting thru it, make the holes oversize & use washers. It doesn't expand or contract as little as metal does and you need the extra clearence around the bolts or rivets so that it doesn't crack out from the holes.

    A cool trick you can do is to sand the edges down smooth, like down to 400 grit. Then take a propane torch and carefully flame the edge. It will turn almost as clear as the faces. Makes for a very finished looking install.
     
  3. juanblzer

    juanblzer 1/2 ton status

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    exactly what i was looking for, thank you!
     
  4. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Enlarge the bolt hole openings and use rubber gromets if you can. Plextglass does not like stress points, and acutally prefer framed application usage.

    Use a plastic cutting blade if you can- THey are somewhat corser than metal blades, but finer than wood blades. IT also helps if you hold down both sides of the plexy glass.

    Rotary saws will be better than reciprocating saws.
     
  5. mofugly13

    mofugly13 1 ton bucket of rust Premium Member

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    You need a special drill bit for drilling plexi, or you need to specially grind an existing one. Plexi requires a bit with no rake on the cutting edge. Go to a plastics store and take a look at one and you should be able to figure out what you need to do. I have bits in 1/4" and 3/8", and will lend you one or both. Lemme know.
     
  6. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Work slowly when cutting, the heat will cause the plexi to get "gummy" and then you've got a mess on the blade and are more likely to ruin the part.

    Also, if you want to bend it....you can use a clean flame to gently heat it from both sides in a straight line. When the plexi gets soft it has almost a "liquid" look to it in the heated area. (Hard to describe, but you'll know it when you see it the first time)....after that happens, make your bend and hold it for a few seconds while it cools and it will hold that new shape permanently.


    /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  7. JK5

    JK5 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Plexiglass is cut no different from glass...
    You need the cutting tool...(It looks like a pizza cutter)

    You cut into the plexy about 1/16 to 1/8"...
    then break...on the edge of a table.

    Cutting with a table saw or band saw is possible...with a very fine blade.
    Take your time though...plexyglass will shatter.

    As far as midering goes...
    a 5" hand grinder with #50 grit will work.
     
  8. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    alos 3M makes a plastic polish that will make it look real nice, i use it on my windscreen for my motorcycle, makes it look better than new. plus if you want to get real artsy you can buy colored glue for it and glue 2 thin sheets together and make some cool designs in it. I did a bunch of projects with it in art class in HS, they are all packed away or i would take pic's. /forums/images/graemlins/waytogo.gif
     
  9. jac6695

    jac6695 1/2 ton status

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    [ QUOTE ]
    alos 3M makes a plastic polish that will make it look real nice

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Do you think that would that work well on headlights (such as my 97 GMC plastic lenses)?
     
  10. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    ya that stuff is the shiznizzle [​IMG]
    kinda hard to see the P/N for the cleaner is 051131 39017 and the polish is 051131 39010 /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif /forums/images/graemlins/peace.gif
     
  11. mcinfantry

    mcinfantry 1/2 ton status

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    DO NOT USE WINDEX
    ammonia makes it turn perminantly cloudy

    look in a cop car. cops always LOVE windex and they always end up ruining the cages
     
  12. jac6695

    jac6695 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks to both! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  13. pauly383

    pauly383 Daddy383 Staff Member Moderator

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    [ QUOTE ]
    A cool trick you can do is to sand the edges down smooth, like down to 400 grit. Then take a propane torch and carefully flame the edge. It will turn almost as clear as the faces. Makes for a very finished looking install.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Good tip . When I worked plastics in Phx , we didn't go through the trouble to sand it , we just scraped the edge with a sharp edged flat stock , then flamed the edge to look like glass . To bend panels of plastic , we used piano wire/magnet wire laid across a channel cut in drywall and powered by 100 volts , the wire is heated and only the area near the wire gets bendy then you push it up against a 2x4 bolted on the table to make a good 90 degree ( or whatever you jig up for any angle ) so you have perfect straight bends . We did extruding , vacuum forming , and custom fabrication /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif /forums/images/graemlins/k5.gif
     
  14. az-k5

    az-k5 1/2 ton status

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    Smaller pieces can go in an oven (hopefuly a spare one). The whole piece is soft enough to mold into 3D shapes (domes, and points) but it also allows a tight fit for 3D planes like between cage bars that aren't totally parralel.
     

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