It's time for another FAQ Friday!! Today we are batteling a snowstorm but we are still here hard at work answering your calls and emails!
Happy Friday everyone!
Can I Fasten my resin panels together with bolts or cables?
Yes, the rule of thumb for drilling holes in all polymer types is to be sure the edge of the hole is 3x the diameter of the hole from the edge of the material. Always leave some wiggle room between the parts as plastic expands and contracts with heat, cold and moisture. Rubber washers and collars are useful to hold parts firm while allowing expansion contraction room.
Is my LIGHTBLOCKS sheet as strong as glass?
There are several ways to measure strength. An acrylic LIGHTBLOCKS sheets is 50% stronger than glass, while a LIGHTBLOCKS Polycarbonate or PETG sheet may be many more times stronger. Acrylic is strong enough to be used for glazing hockey rinks to protect spectators from flying pucks. In a bullet resistant grade, LIGHTBLOCKS acrylic will withstand 6 shots from a 357 magnum fired at a distance of 6” from the wall! Similar results can be obtained from mere ½” thickness polycarbonate.
Plastic, however, is more flexible than glass and must be supported at closer intervals. Please see our deflection chart in the tech spec section for specifics. A ½” sheet of acrylic will need to be supported every 30” to remain flat when suspended. Remember, if there is extra stress such as table or counter top design, you will need to design extra support.
Can you make curved parts with LIGHTBLOCKS?
Yes, this is done in 3 different ways:
Simple Heat Forming- This is done by placing flat sheets of polymer in an autoclave over a wooden form and heating the plastic till it relaxes into the shape of the form. The sheet must be cooled very slowly to retain the shape. A too rapidly cooled sheet will continue to tighten the radius over time. Use this method for simple shapes of all sizes where small quantities are needed.
Cold Forming- As plastic is flexible it may be safely forced into a curve by clamping the sheet along two sides. Each polymer has its own maximum safe bending radius. An advantage of cold forming is that no mold is needed and any quantity can be economically made.
Vacuum Forming- In this method a heated sheet of polymer is sucked around a form by removing the air from the chamber with a vacuum. The mold for this type of forming allows for complex shapes, deep draws and large production runs.
How ‘exact’ is the thickness of my polymer sheet?
Plastic thickness varies a good deal from manufacturer to manufacturer and is never perfectly the same across a sheet unless a military spec. plastic is requested. This Costs quite a bit more than regular plastic. It is best to make sure the channels and mounts have some room to allow for this quality. It is possible to address the thickness issue on the edges of a panel to allow it to fit into a frame with a tight tolerance. Room for expansion must always be allowed.