Acrylic Extrusion: Ultimate FAQ Guide

What are the Benefits of Acrylic Extrusion?

Acrylic extrusion is comparatively an affordable and produces sheets that are more dimensionally stable.

It provides flexibility when it comes to manufacturing products with consistent cross-section.

You can use extruded acrylic sheets to produce complex shapes such as decorative trims.

Extruded acrylic parts

Extruded acrylic

Acrylic extrusion allows for easy alteration during and immediately after execution.

You also obtain good mechanical properties using this particular method.

The benefit of this is that it enables you to manufacture high quality and durable acrylic products.

Acrylic extrusion process yields a good surface finish, which allows you to have a minimum makeover for the product as far as surface finishing is concerned.

Which is Better, Cast Acrylic or Extruded Acrylic?

The better option between cast and acrylic is quite dependent on your particular application.

Cast acrylic is lightweight and rigid, has low water absorption and excellent optical properties.

It provides outstanding resistance to long-term exposure to sunlight and weathering too.

Extruded acrylic is thermoformable, and has more impact resistance than glass.

It also has good UV and electrical resistivity in addition to excellent optical properties.

Extruded acrylic is less expensive and more dimensionally stable than cast acrylic.

It is also softer, easy to cut, polish and relatively durable.

Cast acrylic is apparently the highest quality type and somewhat more expensive.

It also offers the best optical clarity higher resistance to solvents and better thermal stability.

Generally, extruded acrylic stands a better chance of offering more advantages than cast acrylic.

But the difference is not necessarily significant.

Does Extruded Acrylic Contain Bisphenol A?

The potential advantages of acrylic material are that it does not contain BPA; neither does it release the same even during hydrolysis.

BPA

BPA

This makes it one of the best options to go for in substitute for PC that is merely non-toxic.

The effect of this is that it enhances your safety as the user, especially regarding the medical risks associated with the exposure of this chemical.

What is the Softening Temperature for Acrylic?

The softening temperature for acrylic should be anything between 340 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

While at it, you need to regulate the temperature when aiming to soften this material to prevent it from melting.

How Do You Remove Scratches on Acrylic?

You need to soak the piece of sandpaper and run it over the marked, scratched area in a circular motion.

You’ll then have to repeat the process using a dry piece of sandpaper.

Remember you need to do this by alternating between the wet and dry sandpapers for about three minutes or so.

Repeat the same process using 1200 grit sandpaper until all scratches disappear.

Then dry the area using a piece of clean cotton cloth and then apply the acrylic polish you’ll have no visible mark.

Removing deep scratches from acrylic needs more effort and this time you’ll first use a 600 grit sandpaper instead of 800 grit sandpaper.

You first soak one piece of 600 grit sandpaper in water and use circular motions over scratched areas for about three minutes.

At the same time, you need to be alternating it with a dry piece.

The next thing to do is repeat the same process using 800 grit sandpaper for a few minutes then finish with a 1200 grit sandpaper until the scratches disappear.

Once this is over, you can then decide to clean the area using a clean, soft cloth and then apply the acrylic polish on to restore its shining properties.

Can You Laser Cut Extruded Acrylic?

Yes and the best way of laser cutting of extruded acrylic is concerned is through vector cutting.

This is a type of material that that has a lower melting point hence producing an almost flame-finished edge when cutting with a laser.

Laser cutting acrylic

Laser cutting acrylic

Is Cast or Acrylic Extrusion Stronger?

Acrylic material, whether cast or extruded acrylic with a thickness of .125” is 2 to 3 times stronger than glass.

Ideally, it offers 2 to 3 times more impact resistance than a double strength window glass.

And an acrylic material with a thickness of .250” is almost 9 to 10 times more impact resistant than any other ordinary glass or wire glass.

However, polycarbonate seems to be a bit stronger than both cast and extruded acrylic material.

Does Acrylic Extrusion Produce Scratch-resistant Material?

Scratch-resistant material in extruded acrylic is usually integrated after the extrusion process.

So you don’t need to worry about the possibility of this material losing its scratch resistance properties.

Plastic extrusion

Plastic extrusion

And whenever the scratch resistance substance is incorporated, you’ll notice that the extruded material will have excellent optical quality.

What is An Extruded Acrylic Sheet?

This is a type of acrylic material which is manufactured by a continuous production process.

It is made by melting what is commonly referred to as acrylic resins in a machine using and using the liquid substance to fill a die.

This sheet is a versatile and all-purpose acrylic that provides multi-functional properties.

It is available in different types of colors, patterns, sizes as well as textures.

Extruded acrylic sheet has better tolerance on thickness, but you can as well attain tighter tolerances by making prior arrangements with extrusion mill.

Some of the key features of extruded acrylic sheet include impact resistance, and relatively lightweight.

Of course, the essence of these two main features is that they help in reducing the chances of breakage during transit.

This helps in lowering the shipping cost and overall longer life of the crucial parts used in the application.

Can You Cut Extruded Acrylic to Size?

Different methods that you can use to cut extruded acrylic include, use of the table saw, coring tool and router.

Cutting acrylic

Cutting acrylic

However, the most efficient way that is becoming popular nowadays for cutting extruded acrylic is laser beam technology.

What is the Best Way to Clean Extruded Acrylic?

The ideal solution to use is a commercial plastic cleaner and or mild soap and water in removing debris and dirt.

Always ensure that you use a micro-fibre or a non-abrasive lint-free piece of cloth that won’t scratch the surface of the sheet.

But when cleaning tough grease, tar residue or oil, you may consider using kerosene or commercial grade hexane.

And to prevent blotting, you also need to ensure that you wipe clean all the solvents with freshwater and blotted dry.

You should also never use ammonia or gasoline as a cleaning solution for extruded acrylic sheeting.

What is Acrylic Extrusion Tolerance?

It refers to a dimension which determines the length and strength of acrylic material and it ranges anywhere between 47.5” to 48.5”.

Several factors tend to determine acrylic extrusion tolerance, including cost, manufacturing capabilities, and application of the extrusion.

How is Cast Acrylic Made?

Cast acrylic is made by a process where MMA liquid is pumped into a mold made of two sheets of glass.

The monomer is then submerged in relatively warm water where the process of polymerization takes place.

Cast acrylic

Cast acrylic – Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

The result of this process is a rigid PMMA or polymethyl methacrylate, which generically referred to as Acrylic.

What is Continuous Cast Acrylic?

This is a cost-effective alternative to cell cast sheet created by pouring polymerized acrylic onto steel platforms and continuously heating and cooling it.

The heating and cooling take place between highly polished steel plates to control curing as well as producing the exceptionally clear and stable final product.

Continuous cast acrylic is generally superior to the traditional cell cast sheet as far as maintaining consistent and uniform thickness throughout the entire sheet.

This type of material is best known for its creative range of colors, tints as well as sizes and ease of fabrication.

It combines high molecular weight and thickness tolerance, making it ideal for several applications, including point of purchase display and skylight, among others.

How Does the Acrylic Extrusion Process Work?

Step 1 involves loading of raw material, in most cases, pellets, and granules into a hopper and then fed into a long heated cylindrical chamber known as the extruder.

This raw material is then moved through this chamber by a revolving screw.

In the second step, the raw materials flow from the hopper down through the feed throat and onto the large spinning screw operating within a horizontal barrel.

Of course, the different materials have various properties, so heating only takes place within a specific temperature.

At the end of the heated chamber, molten pellets are forced through a small opening often known as a die to form the shape of the finished product.

The fourth step involves feeding the extruded acrylic from the die to the conveyor belt for cooling.

The cooling process can take place using water or air, depending on your preference.

Then the last step involves designing the die of an individual acrylic profile so that it flows smoothly and evenly from the extruder to final profile shape.

What are the Mechanical Properties of the Extruded Acrylic Tube?

It has a relative density of 1.18 g/cm cubic and an impact strength of 2 KJ/m2.

The notched impact strength of this tube is KJ/m2, whereas its expansion rate is 7 x 10-5.

Acrylic tube

Acrylic tube

This tube also has a modulus of elasticity of 3300 N/mm2 and a heat distortion of 100°C.

The constant working temperature for this tube is 75°C and offers a light transmission rate of 92%.

What is Cast Acrylic Used For?

One of the key uses of cast acrylic is in building and construction.

Nowadays, buildings are defying the logic of physics hence the need for strong and durable materials.

It is also used in commercial and structural glazing, given that it is strong and resistant to weather.

Point of sale displays are also the other areas where cast acrylic material is used.

This is in addition to creating signage, trade shows, exhibitions as well as convention displays.

What is Extruded Acrylic Tube Used For?

One of the major use of extruded acrylic tube is the construction of advertising and point of sale displays.

Since this tube is lightweight, you can easily move it from one point to another.

It is also used for making menu boards and signage.

They help in holding the printed message clearly so that it can be read by those in the facility.

The extruded acrylic tube is also used for making display cases and trade show booths which apparently require right base material as well as a tube for support.

This product is also common in building and construction

What are Other Acrylic Machining & Fabrication Techniques Available?

Other acrylic fabrication and machine techniques include:

Polishing one of the key machining procedures that you’ll often use in this particular material.

Some different types of polishing include the following;

Vapor polishing is one of them which uses solvent vapor that flows over the surface of acrylic material producing a more translucent finish.

Flame polishing is the other method which ideally uses a fine high-temperature hydrogen-based flame over the acrylic surface.

The other machining method for this product is buffing.

It is a technique mainly used in on exterior surfaces of larger components.

It gives a fine finish.

One of the key fabrication methods for acrylic material is decorating.

Today, you can decorate this material and use it in different applications thanks to its clarity, weather ability, and versatility.

Forming is the other fabrication method that you can use to create a particular product from acrylic material.

You can also use engraving as the other common and popular fabrication method for acrylic material.

How Does Extruded Acrylic Strength Compare to Glass?

Extruded acrylic ordinarily weighs than half of the glass, but it is way stronger than glass.

You’ll find that extruded acrylic of .125” thickness is two to three times more resistant than double strength glass.

The same type of acrylic is also four to five times impact resistant than ordinary and wire glasses.

Additionally, an extruded acrylic of .250” thickness offers almost 10 times impact resistance than wire and other glasses.

So in general, extruded acrylic is quite stronger than any other glass that you can ever find.

Does Extruded Acrylic Yellow in the Sun?

No. Extruded acrylic material, not yellow in the sun at all.

This is even evident when you look at most of the protective canopies that were used during the Second World War.

They are still clear after all the many years.

What Shapes can WeeTect Produce with Acrylic Extrusion?

¾” Z-bar is one of the WeeTect’s acrylic extrusion shapes, and it’s available in different grades.

5/8” Z-bar is the other common acrylic extrusion shape.

Extruded acrylic shapes

 Extruded acrylic shapes

Others include 1’2” Z-bar, W-bar, ¾” channel as well as 15/16” channel.

These shapes have quality properties such as ease of fabrication, superior chemical resistance, excellent optical light transmission and resistance to sunlight and UV radiation.

Does WeeTect Offer Custom Acrylic Extrusion?

In fact, this company has all the major capabilities of acrylic fabrication.

This, therefore, means that it offers customized acrylic extrusion products.

Some of the top customized acrylic extrusion products from WeeTect include ballistic glass, acrylic display, machine guards and lightbox.

Others also include light guide panel, skylight, and domes as well as instrument panel among many more.

Which are WeeTect Top Extruded Acrylic Products?

Some of these products include acrylic aquariums, helmet and face shield visors, swimming pool and submarine windows.

Others include aircraft canopies, signage, Point of purchase displays, jewelry cases, light fixtures, automobile windscreens, and cellphone touch screens, among others.

As you can see, all these top extruded acrylic products from WeeTect are used in a wide range of applications.

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