In addition to the excellent impact resistance and fire properties of polycarbonate, the advantage of polycarbonate compared to plexiglass is that the material can be easily processed by the do-it-yourselfer. Polycarbonate can be cut/fabricated using a router, circular saw (recommended tool), or a table saw. A fine-toothed blade will yield the best results. In regards to drilling into polycarbonate, you can use a standard drill bit that has to be sharp, this is crucial. You can use a standard handheld drill but a drill press will be easier to use on this material. Polycarbonate cannot be polished but can have the edges and corners rounded without issue. For thicker thicknesses, it is recommended to preheat the plate.
ShapesPlastics offers a variety of fabrication options at your disposal. For the do-it-yourselfers, we recommended ordering a sample piece of plastic sheets prior to purchase so you can practice different machining styles. You can also take advantage of our custom fabrication services to save time and money - get what you want - exactly the way you want it. For polycarbonate, we can drill holes, round the edges (the sides), and round the 4 corners of the sheet (radius corners). We utilize a shilling, table saw, and a CNC router so we have the ability to cut more specialized projects.
Standard glue/solvents do not work well on polycarbonate and require an agent that will chemically connect the material together. Instead of gluing, polycarbonate needs to be “fused” together. Methyl Methacrylate is the most commonly used fusing agent on polycarbonate that creates a silient bond. You can also use super glue and epoxy to glue polycarbonate together.
How to Use Methyl Methacrylate
- Make sure the piece of polycarbonate you are using is clean.
- Apply methyl methacrylate to the area you are intending to join.
- Let the methyl methacrylate sit for about a minute and seep into the polycarbonate before attaching the other piece- when it feels sticky it is ready to bond.
- Hold the other piece you are joining to the area with the methacrylate on it and hold that together for about 5 minutes.
- Let it sit for about 72 hours to fully adhere.
Experts at ShapesPlastics recommend ordering a sample piece of the plastic sheet prior to purchase so you can practice different gluing techniques based on your application requirements.
You can clean polycarbonate with warm water, a few drops of detergent, and a microfiber wipe of some sort. Do not use a dry cloth because this can result in scratching the material. Do not use household cleaning agents such as Lysol or Windex, for they can damage the material. It is best to avoid strong chemically based cleaners.