Using plastics for home projects

A Look At Some Of The Tools Often Used In Acrylic Fabrication

Acrylic is perhaps one of the most used fabrication materials of the modern era. The material can be shaped and formed into just about any design, which makes it ideal for use in signs, vehicles, toys, and more. Acrylic fabrication involves a plethora of tools and processes to bring envisioned designs to life. Take a look at some of the tools often used in acrylic fabrication processes. 

Carbide Drills 

Even though acrylic is less dense than metal, typical drill bits and drilling setups can sustain damage when used with acrylic pieces. In addition, the traditional drill bits can cause the edges of acrylic to shatter and fray. Therefore, carbide drills are most often used to implement things like screw holes to house bolts and fasteners in place. 

Buffer Wheels 

Once an acrylic piece has gone through the fabrication process, the finish should be crystal clear and flawless so it does not detract from the overall design. Therefore, buffer wheels are commonly used to buff the surface of the pieces to smooth away any slight imperfections and get rid of any tiny hanging plastic fragments or particles that may be left behind. In addition, various chemicals or polishes are usually paired with buffer wheels to enhance the buffing process and leave the piece with the best finish possible. 

Laser Cutters 

Laser cutters allow for precision cuts in the acrylic material without compromising the edges of the cut. Since acrylic melts at a high temperature, a high-temperature beam of laser can be used for things like: 

  • Engraving words or images into a piece of acrylic 
  • Creating decorative edges on a piece of acrylic 
  • Perforating small openings or holes in a piece of acrylic

It is not uncommon for one acrylic fabrication company to have more than one type of laser cutting machine to achieve different cutting processes as the acrylic pieces are shaped and formed. However, one laser cutting machine can be configured to do multiple types of cuts. 

Heater Benders 

Heater benders are machines that generate heat that is targeted to a certain point on a piece of material so it can be bent or angled. Heater benders are commonly used in making plastic products, including during acrylic fabrication. When making acrylic sheets that will be used for signage, for example, the piece may go through a heater bender to create gentle waves or curves in the piece during the fabrication process.