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Working with acrylic, punching a hole feasable?

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Old 01-17-06, 12:48 PM Thread Starter   #1
twoeyes
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Working with acrylic, punching a hole feasable?


I'm thinking of adding a window to my current case, I was going to buy a new one but thought what the hell might as well learn something. So basically I'm trying to figure out how to cut a hole into the window for a duct (I have a duct from my old side panel that hangs above the CPU fan and feeds the air out). Is this worth it, or should I just go with a solid window? I have all kinds of saws so thats not a problem, jigsaws, etc. but I'm inexperienced when it comes to this material..

Thanks guys
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Old 01-17-06, 01:11 PM   #2
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Theres a sticky somewhere on how to work with acrylic.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:28 PM   #3
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I do not recommend using acrylic (Plexiglass). It is brittle and cracks and/or chips easily. Instead I recommend Polycarbonate (Lexan) It machines well is flexible and is much more durable. The only downside is that it scratches a little easier then acrylic.

Home Depot sells sheets of it that will be the perfect size to make a window out of to fit your case. I have purchased some there myself.

BTW here is the sticky

http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=297709

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Old 01-17-06, 01:34 PM Thread Starter   #4
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Damn I already bought some oh well no harm done, I'll get that stuff if its better. By the way here are some pics to illistrate my idea:

glamor shots... my beautiful wiring job


Front


side panel


duct


plan


I'm kind of wanting to do a little design on it though like an X or something simple. But we'll see how long I want to spend on it. In any case I'm still wondering if its possbile to do that hole, even with plexiglass? Thanks for the help by the way you guys rock
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Old 01-17-06, 02:07 PM   #5
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Well since you already have it you may as well try it. I recommend doing several things

1) If you are drilling or using a hole saw have it run in reverse so that you are not so much cutting as grinding the hole. If you don't I don't care how careful you are more then likely you will chip the edges of the cut or worse case just crack and shatter the entire thing.

2) Use coolant or a lubricant as you are cutting. For acrylic, I recommend either dipping the drill bit in a white candle to get some candle wax on the bit or for a hole saw I use water mixed with liquid dishsoap (2:1)

3) If You are cutting the Acrylic Mask the area you are cutting using Tape this will help reinforce the cut. If the acrylic is 1/8" I recommend scoring and then snapping along the line rather then trying to use a saw. Line up the scoured line over the edge of a straight edged table or work surface Be sure to clamp the piece onto the table with a piece of material (Preferably squared) just behind the line that you intend to snap. And apply equal force over the entire piece.

4) If you are using a dremel again work the tool backwards. DO NOT CLIMB CUT IT. Meaning if you are cutting a circle and the cutting bit is rotating clockwise make sure you work the tool in a counter clockwise direction.

5) After you make a circular cutout for say a fan or anything for that matter If you have a dremel sand the edges and make smooth any little inperfections and micro cracks. These can turn into a big crack if you accidently bend the plexi too much.

The above recommendations will help keep the tools from snagging. Granted it will take a little longer to finish but if you do it other then what I recommend you run the risk of breaking the piece and having to start over.

Just remember with acrylic more then with other materials let the tool do the work and do not force it and you should be OK

I hope this helps,

EC

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Last edited by Electron Chaser; 01-17-06 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:38 PM Thread Starter   #6
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Wow THANK YOU for all that advice it really helps a lot! I'm going to go to home depot maybe sometime today and see if I can get the proper stuff.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:51 PM   #7
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Glad I could help. If you intend to buy lexan you won't have any of the problems listed above and you can use the tools as you normally would. Though I still recommend coolant for cutting. Dull or non lubricated tooling will heat the Lexan up and can actually melt and/or warp the edges where you are cutting if proper care is not taken.

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Old 01-17-06, 03:07 PM Thread Starter   #8
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Well I'm going to go ahead and try the acrylic but I do have access to both 1/4" and 1/8", which one do you think will be easier to work with? Also can I cut the hole with a jigsaw or do I really need a hole saw..?

Thanks yet again...
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Old 01-17-06, 03:19 PM   #9
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Use the 1/4" it will be a little easier to work with. You can use a jigsaw to cut it .Tape off the area and use a ultra fine blade. The kind you would use to cut metal with.

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Custom 48" X 24" X 12" Case- Abit IC7-MAX3 - Pentium 4 3.4 EE @ 4.2 |Mach II Phase Cooled
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2 X Raptor 150GB RAID 0 , 2 74GB Raptor RAID 1, 1 36GB Raptor, 1 250GB WD SATA
BIX3 w/ 3 GFB1212VHW Fans (660 CFM Total) -Case Fans 5 EFB1212SHE (710 CFM Total)
MB / RAM Cooler 2 TFB1212GHE (440 CFM Total)

:cool: 1800+ CFM of Pure Delta Coolness :cool:
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Old 01-17-06, 03:25 PM Thread Starter   #10
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Alright cool Im going to get the blades and stuff then do it later this weekend.
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