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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:51 pm 
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Hello, so I am attempting to build an "ant nest" out of acrylic. I have sketched out a design and have got a lot of the tools and materials I think will do the job, that being said I have to order the acrylic online because they did not have exactly what I need at Home Depot. So today rather than just wait I cut out my design into a wood board to see how it will go. The end results were ok, that being said I did have a small amount of trouble going around one of the tighter turns, though this can be fixed in a revised version of the design. Anyway my question is, will the same result be possible with acrylic?

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5 x 4 x 3/8 inches (12.7 x 10.16 x 0.9525 cm) are the planned dimensions I would be cutting the design into, this would consist of 3 layers of 1/8 inch (0.3175 cm) acrylic that would be clamped to a sawhorse.

Now as I said the 5 x 4 inch (12.7 x 10.16 cm) wooden board I tested the design on worked for the most part, though I did have some structural problems near the end of cutting due to the thin part connecting to the center part, though as I said I plan to revise the design a bit to fix some of these problems. Anyway would I be able to achieve the same cut on a 5 x 4 inch (12.7 x 10.16 cm) sheet of acrylic with a metal cutting blade on a jigsaw, or would I need something like a scroll saw?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:22 pm 
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This is a UK based site, and I'm guessing you are in the USA, so perhaps you'd be wiser to find a USA based site... :dunno:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:37 pm 
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Gadget wrote:
This is a UK based site, and I'm guessing you are in the USA, so perhaps you'd be wiser to find a USA based site... :dunno:


What exactly is the problem with that? I converted all my measurements to metric, what other factors would effect someone from the UK from helping answer my question?...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:02 pm 
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LizardScript wrote:
Gadget wrote:
This is a UK based site, and I'm guessing you are in the USA, so perhaps you'd be wiser to find a USA based site... :dunno:


What exactly is the problem with that? I converted all my measurements to metric, what other factors would effect someone from the UK from helping answer my question?...


Sorry I spoke!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:18 pm 
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:-) The question was not country specific by a long way. And I can think in terms of 5x4 (inches) from the time I used to do photography, that is a damn small board.

:welcomeuhm: Lizard Script.

I don't think you can cut the shape with a jig saw unless you can find a blade with the correct teeth (what would that be) and narrow profile so it can turn easily. A scroll saw would be better and if it is a powered one you will have a flat surface to lay all the acrylic on it orr make a base if you use a hand scroll saw. The nearest I have come to what you are trying to do was cut the plastic front of a computer case and fit 5x5inch fans on it. I could still cover up my mess anyway, but it was interesting that as I was cutting away, the hot plastic was rejoining behind my cut.

You would be looking to finish the cut smooth with sandpaper or some other method.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:12 am 
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LizardScript wrote:
Gadget wrote:
This is a UK based site, and I'm guessing you are in the USA, so perhaps you'd be wiser to find a USA based site... :dunno:


What exactly is the problem with that? I converted all my measurements to metric, what other factors would effect someone from the UK from helping answer my question?...

i thinks its more termonoligy and availability off correct blades and tools that may be the problem
and whilst metric may be what we use i also use inches as much :lol: :lol:
now heres the problem
assuming many the same i would suggest you make 2 identical plywood forms clamp them top and bottom off the perspex
drill a say 3/4" hole on a curve then use a bosch jigsaw scroll blade rubbing off the the sides off the forms but pendulum action off to avoid cutting into the forms

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:53 am 
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OchAye wrote:
:-) The question was not country specific by a long way. And I can think in terms of 5x4 (inches) from the time I used to do photography, that is a damn small board.

:welcomeuhm: Lizard Script.

I don't think you can cut the shape with a jig saw unless you can find a blade with the correct teeth (what would that be) and narrow profile so it can turn easily. A scroll saw would be better and if it is a powered one you will have a flat surface to lay all the acrylic on it orr make a base if you use a hand scroll saw. The nearest I have come to what you are trying to do was cut the plastic front of a computer case and fit 5x5inch fans on it. I could still cover up my mess anyway, but it was interesting that as I was cutting away, the hot plastic was rejoining behind my cut.

You would be looking to finish the cut smooth with sandpaper or some other method.


Hm yeah, tbh I don't think this project is worth investing into a powered scroll saw for. Maybe I could take the slow route and use a hand scroll saw, but idk if I would be happy with the cut that would likely produce. I am thinking I may double the size to 10 x 8 in. which in theory would mean the curves would be easier to cut with the jigsaw.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:02 am 
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big-all wrote:
LizardScript wrote:
Gadget wrote:
This is a UK based site, and I'm guessing you are in the USA, so perhaps you'd be wiser to find a USA based site... :dunno:


What exactly is the problem with that? I converted all my measurements to metric, what other factors would effect someone from the UK from helping answer my question?...

i thinks its more termonoligy and availability off correct blades and tools that may be the problem
and whilst metric may be what we use i also use inches as much :lol: :lol:
now heres the problem
assuming many the same i would suggest you make 2 identical plywood forms clamp them top and bottom off the perspex
drill a say 3/4" hole on a curve then use a bosch jigsaw scroll blade rubbing off the the sides off the forms but pendulum action off to avoid cutting into the forms


If I understand correctly, the idea is to have 2 wood cutouts of the design like the picture I posted above, attached to both sides of the acrylic as a guide, and then drill large holes where the sharper curves are to help the jigsaw handle those curves? That may actually work, hm.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:37 am 
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BA's idea sounds a good plan. Use a very slow speed as well I'd say.
One snag I can see is that when it's in use, any moisture in there will capillary between the sheets of acrylic.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:33 am 
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if you do want to cut individual holes in the open areas you would be best to make up a jig with say 4mm holes to form a dimple in the perspexs where a hole saw needs to go through
if you reuse the actual cutout remember is will move 1-1.5mm because off the blade thickness x2 so you may get cutting steps dependent on jig positioning
you dont need an exact shape match for this jig just say a shape that touches in 4 positions and covers the pilot hole positions
now its only worth going to all this trouble if you have say 10 plus to do and they need to be very accurate if not freehand following a line may be easier :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:50 pm 
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I was thinking that a Dremel could be used to clean the lines. So rough cut wide and finish with the Dremel

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:12 pm 
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imho cut the sharp corner square, then cut it by hand with a fret saw or use a Dremel with a sanding drum

There are are plenty of services that will cnc mill/laser cut what you want


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:54 pm 
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Just my experience, cutting acrylic with a jigsaw has resulted in some shattering occuring. clamping a couple of pieces of wood either side might stop the shattering but won't give a clean edge. I'm fairly sure that Ultimate Handyman has a few videos on cutting acrylic sheet somewhere...

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