Cutting edge design has over 25 years’ experience in the cutting and manufacturing of acrylic polycarbonate and other plastic components. Unlike other materials there are a number of specialist techniques that are needed when fabricating plastic items to shape, join and finish. Our experienced team of skilled fabricators at can help with almost any requirement:
Acrylic or Perspex (commonly know as) is heavily used to create eye-catching and functional Point of Sale displays in retail and commercial setting
Polycarbonate and other plastics commonly used in the engineering sector for machine parts and
Typical things we make in a range of plastics
Point of sale items
Channel acrylic letters
Cutting and Shaping plastic
CUTTING AND SHAPING PLASTIC
With a mix of these 3 methods we can cut any shape to any size and thickness
Fabrication of plastic and acrylics
With most things in manufacturing there are various processes used to achieve certain things or properties. With plastic fabrication we typically use 3 different manufacturing techniques to achieve a shape or bend.
Bending typical uses a hot wire strip heater or a break press to bend the materials into a certain angles
Hot wire strip heater is typically used for acrylic work and works really well as you can get a very strong and optically clear fold plus it has a nice smooth radius on the part so no sharp edges to worry about, drawback is it can be quite hard to get very precise measurements on the folded area due to the fold allowance and the amount of heat you apply. Typically examples of this type of fold would be point of sales displays where simply clean straight folds are need and dimensionally accuracy is not paramount
Hot wire strip heating on polycarbonate is not great as it very easy to over heat the polycarbonate and create air bubbles plus I can actually weaken that fold area. The best way to fold polycarbonate is with a break press as polycarbonate is a lot softer than acrylic you can cold form in a brake press much like metal
Joining is simply gluing parts together probably the best method if the correct glue and joint type is used, most typical application would be clear display boxes and cases, Making such a perfect clear box and joint lines can be a lot harder than you may think luckily we have a team of highly skilled craftsmen with years of experience in this field.
We typically use acrylic solvent or cement for these types of products as it gives an optical clear joint and produces a very strong bond, we also use U.V. glue but we find it not as strong as the acrylic cement but it does have a very good light transmission through the area better used for gap filling than surface to surface joining.
Another way of joining plastic is to plastic welding this is more use for engineering grade plastics like Polypropylene for example, these types of plastic are very hard to glue in fact most of them will not glue they need to be welded or held together with mechanical fixes like screw or bolt, good thing about plastic welding is it very strong and its cheap not the best looking join but it has excellent bond strength
Moulding is a bit more advanced than the other processes as it requires specialist tools and machinery to produce moulded parts but essentialy you make a mould or plug of the part you want to make heat a sheet of acrylic to the correct temperature and place into the mould, once the plastic has cooled you remove it from the mould, you may have further machining or finishing work to do after initial moulding stage, moulds can be made from various materials MDF and plywood are most commonly used to keep the material cost down as moulds can be pretty expensive to produce.
Polishing acrylic edges
When acrylic is cut using the CNC Router or general hand tools, it typically leaves a matte surface on the cut edge. To create a more decorative finish and a smoother edge we polish the edges, which gives a shiny smooth finish. In the case of some coloured acrylics polishing the edges can reveal a different colour tint sometimes this looks good sometime not as good best colours for polishing are clear, black, white and blue
There are 3 ways to polish acrylic
We normally use flame polishing as it gives the best result and also removes the sharp burr from a well cut acrylic edge which is very important as I good arylic edge is pretty sharp flame polishing smooths that of just like a deburring tool would , the other methods do have some good points but flame polishing cover all areas of polishing where as the other have a number of limits.
Plastics we commonly use and fabricate
Acrylic all thickness and colours