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Thread: Acrylic or PVC?

  1. #1

    Question Acrylic or PVC?

    Hi all,
    Does anyone know what kind of material is on the front of RCA rear projection television? I'd like to use the "plastic" facing off of mine(since it's no good for anything else!lol) but am scared to cut it with the laser. Is there any way that this could be pvc instead of optical acrylic??
    I've used it quite a bit for scrolling, and it smells, cuts, acts, and feels like acrylic, but...?
    Thanks in advance for anyone that might know =)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Sammamish, WA
    Most likely polycarbonate, which won't shatter like acrylic, but maybe call a TV repair shop and ask if they know.

    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Freida Kirkland View Post
    Is there any way that this could be pvc instead of optical acrylic??
    Don't know for sure, but my guess would be polycarbonate. I believe that is OK to cut but it might edge fracture a few weeks after cutting. Polycarbonate is weird stuff to work with.
    Dave J
    Forums: Where all too often, logic is the first casualty.

  4. #4

    Thumbs up Thanks guys! =)

    Wow, talk about fast response!! =) You guys are awesome!

    You know, I have had a few problems with my EPImini and have always been able to find the answers here - I guess that's why I never totally log out; you never know when you might need the answer to something important!!

    I really appreciate the group - and of course, will be a contributor soon =D
    Thanks so much!

  5. #5

    oh and...

    I guess since this project will be for me, I'll give the stuff a try - that way if it cracks it won't matter much plus it gives me the product knowledge I'll need to have if it's for someone else =) I'll keep ya posted on whether it cracks or crazes, or...
    Thanks again! =)

  6. #6
    I cut some polycarb sheet last year for a client. It was a template for a pcb.

    I have to say the results came out only ok with lots of staining from the fumes. We had to mask off the cut areas to give the best result and then manually clean up with soap and water around the edges. Still, some staining ermained. Not an eficient process.

    We had something to work with in the end but it is a very messy material that left residue all over my machines bed. This took a while to completely clean up again. I think that the fumes may be an issue with polycarb. They didn't smell very rosey.

    Future iterations were NC machine cut.

    Well, that's my experience of polycarb. If you do experiment, I'd be interested in knowing how it went.

    Good Luck!
    Stuart Orrell
    LS6040 40W, CS3, Lasercut 5.1, SolidWorks,

  7. #7

    Acrylic has a pretty unique smell when cut. Since you say it smells like acrylic and cuts like acrylic it probably is. The edges of acrylic are usually clear and smooth with some vertical striations. Polycarbonate cuts with a charred, dark, rough edge especially if the thickness is .062" or more. In light gages (.030" and less) it is goldish colored and smoother.

    Polycarbonate also gives off smoke; usually yellowish or greenish. You don't normally see much smoke cutting acrylic as it cuts by vaporization (whereas polycarbonate cuts by decomposition i.e. burning).

    My experience with polycarbonate is that it doesn't show sensitivity to edge cracking after laser cutting, while acrylic can be sensitive especially in the presence of chemicals (cleaners or solvents.)

    I always mask polycarbonate even in thin gages as the smoke damage will not clean off.

    Both acrylic and polycarbonate will produce toxic fumes so you need good exhaust in any case.

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