View Full Version : Acrylic Access Panel

Steve Clarkson
04-12-2009, 10:02 PM
OK, try to picture an acrylic cube. Now picture that one side of the cube is a 12"x12" piece of acrylic. Now, how do I make an 8"x8" cutout on that panel to be used as an access panel......YES, I know HOW to cut out an 8"x8" square out of a 12"x12" square!!!! What I'm trying to figure out is how to re-attach that cutout.....

I've thought of using a bead of clear silicone caulk (I had mentioned that in a previous thread) on one edge. I'd like to keep the outside of the cube as flat as possible, so it can be flush against the wall,so big bulky knobs are out. A hole in the little access door would be OK since this side will be against the wall and not seen.

Can you put nails/screws through acrylic without breaking it? I'm doubting that. Can hinges be attached with glue or weld on?

Anyone have any good ideas?

Doug Griffith
04-12-2009, 10:24 PM
Hi Steve,
There are acrylic hinges that readily accept glue. They're kind of bulky though. A living hinge might be less obtrusive than the pin type.

Unless the box is clear, why not use 2 layers of 1/8" acrylic with the inside piece having a smaller hole. Glue them together and you'll have a lip to keep the panel from falling in. You could make your own living hinge by gluing a thin flexible substrate between the 2 pieces and to the back of the panel.

I've etched deep recesses in acrylic and glued in magnets. That works too.


Dave Lock
04-12-2009, 10:24 PM
Hi Steve,

If it's infrequent use and not seen you could use a strip of thick scotch tape. I know it sounds 'tacky' (excuse the pun) but it is actually quite effective, and it's hardly noticed being almost transparent.
Not sure what the name of the tape is but it is just like scotch tape but wider and thicker.
Just a thought....



Stephen Beckham
04-12-2009, 10:28 PM

I use the small brass screws (perpetual plate size) in 1/8 and 1/4 acrylic all the time. Drill the right size hole and they actually will thread themselves quite nicely.

Overtighten and they'll strip - but you're not done, put a drop of acrylic solvent in the hole, let it dry and you'll get at least one more good use out of it prior to being totally stripped.

Steve Clarkson
04-12-2009, 10:42 PM
Thanks for the ideas.

Doug, I had thought about the two piece idea.....but there are two problems....one is gravity.....it might work if the access panel was on top.....but on the side it would fall off. The second is, I want it to be as flush as possible with the rest of the cube......and it needs to open "out".

Dave, I really thought of using tape......which would probably work.....I was actually thinking of electrical tape since the cube will likely be black acrylic......but I DON'T want it to look "tacky"......

Steve.....thanks for letting me know about screws in acrylic.....had no idea that would work. I guess I may just have to find the right type of hinge......one that can be put on the inside, yet still allow the door to open out.

Thanks again for the suggestions

Frank Corker
04-12-2009, 10:54 PM
Steve the acrylic hinge idea is the best, they can be welded on and when they are open, they really aren't that bulky, besides if the acrylic is thick enough you can engrave down on it for the hinges to sit in.

Steve Clarkson
04-13-2009, 8:29 AM
Good point.....thanks for the tip!

Albert Nix
04-13-2009, 9:43 AM
If you are going to use black I might consider going the two layer route with a slightly smaller hole on the inside one. Then butcher up a mag set that you would use for a name tag. Enlay the mag on the box and maybe a thin washer on the matching part then cut a finger size hole in the door to pull from. It should be easy to make it all flush. Just one small mag should hold fine.
Just a thought

James Stokes
04-13-2009, 3:28 PM
Go to home depot or lowes, They have magnetic catches for shower axcess panells. They just glue on.

Steve Clarkson
04-13-2009, 3:33 PM
Never thought of magnets......thanks guys!

Bill Cunningham
04-14-2009, 10:05 PM
Also Steve, Acrylic can be drilled and tapped for screws, just like any other solid material..

Rodne Gold
04-15-2009, 4:06 AM
Just use a 0.5mm piece of PETG as a hinge , can be glued on. PETG will allow bending many times and wont whiten or stress crack , make a small semi circle on the bottom of the flap so you can get a pinkie in to open it outwards

Steve Clarkson
04-15-2009, 8:26 AM
All good ideas.....thanks!