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Thread: What is this material?

  1. #1

    What is this material?

    I was in Macy's last night and I saw these cool letters on the wall. It looks like 2 thin sheets of acrylic with foam inside. The lady said they were laser cut. Would like to find a source for this material.
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  2. #2
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    It wouldn't surprise me to learn it was created by laser cutting the acrylic and foam separately before gluing together.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Britt View Post
    I was in Macy's last night and I saw these cool letters on the wall. It looks like 2 thin sheets of acrylic with foam inside. The lady said they were laser cut. Would like to find a source for this material.
    It looks like Sintra to me. I think is it foamed PVC. I wouldn't cut it with laser.
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  4. #4
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    You could be right. I have never seen Sintra with outer layers that glossy or thick but I have not explored the Sintra options that much since my understanding is that it incorporates PVC foam. "Just say no" to PVC and lasering
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  5. #5
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    looks more like wire cut foam than laser. And the acrylic extends over the foam by a LOT it looks like. Laminated after cutting.
    No way are you going to get good cut on top AND the bottom acrylic if it is an inch or more thick.
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  6. #6
    I was told it's came bonded already.

  7. #7
    99% sure that's 'Gatorplast'...

    Years ago I came to know it as 'gatorboard'... the basic stuff they call 'gatorfoam', polystyrene foam core with 'wood fiber veneer' caps. There's a couple of other versions of it, the Gatorplast has the same core but is capped with styrene, which won't absorb water and is better for vinyl and paint. I'm pretty sure it was used for the Beautyrest pieces, and I'm betting the surface was spray painted black before it was cut.

    Back in the early 90's I used to cut big letters out of the stuff with my tool engraver, only my customers would laminate other stuff to it first- one customer laminated .020" thick aluminum to the face which made it fun to cut. They used the lettering for the header boards of their trade show displays. Another customer laminated Formica to a sheet, he wanted 'marble' lettering for a trade show display. That's worse to cut thru than aluminum

    Pretty sure the Beautyrest items were lasered, the foam melts back some away from the cap edges...

    It's pretty versatile stuff for signs and displays (google it )



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  8. #8
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    It looks like gator foam with acrylic top and bottom

  9. #9
    Cool, thanks guys! So it's laserable.

  10. #10
    Looks more expensive than a thicker acrylic. We cut a lot of acrylic letters out of 1/4" and 3/8" and I figure this might be cheaper. I can get a 1/4" black acrylic 24"x48" for $48.00. A black Gator board same size is $150.00.

  11. #11
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    I agree with Fred, acrylic would be my first choice and if you laser cut it you'll have mirror edges.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Britt View Post
    Looks more expensive than a thicker acrylic. We cut a lot of acrylic letters out of 1/4" and 3/8" and I figure this might be cheaper. I can get a 1/4" black acrylic 24"x48" for $48.00. A black Gator board same size is $150.00.
    U-line sells 4x8' x 1/2" thick Gatorboard for $97 per sheet (3 sheet carton mininum)

    e-plastics sells 4x8' x 1/2" thick clear plex for $563.49 per sheet--
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  13. #13
    That's likely Ultraboard/Gatorplast sprayed with Matthews/automotive paint. It was very likely cut on a CNC router and not laser cut. A CNC router can leave that finish if the bit isn't hard or the hold down isn't perfect. Gatorboard is paper faced and not as durable.

    Gemini sells something similar: https://www.geminisignproducts.com/e...nated/#options The foam Gemini uses is more dense.

    Neither of these materials will laser especially well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Britt View Post
    Looks more expensive than a thicker acrylic. We cut a lot of acrylic letters out of 1/4" and 3/8" and I figure this might be cheaper. I can get a 1/4" black acrylic 24"x48" for $48.00. A black Gator board same size is $150.00.
    Acrylic is quite literally one of the most expensive materials to make signs out of. The major benefit is the lack of post processing and the durability. A lot of the numbers being thrown out are not wholesale pricing so you have to take them with a grain of salt, but I can tell you definitively that acrylic is one of the most expensive materials in the sign industry.
    Last edited by Ross Moshinsky; 09-15-2018 at 11:05 PM.
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  14. #14
    I searched on the net, this foam with the acrylic or ?? On the front and back is a lot more in cost. I did see cheaper stuff with a cardboard front and back a little bit cheaper. I would think being foam with two thin sheets of acrylic or plastic be cheaper. Still looking for good pricing.

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