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Forum topic by PPBart posted 01-19-2019 03:17 PM 670 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PPBart

87 posts in 804 days


01-19-2019 03:17 PM

I’m preparing to build StumpyNubs’ Router Lift and my plan is to use a piece of 3/8” thick Lexan for the table. I’ve not done much work with plastics, and in reviewing YouTube videos on the topic it seems that some folks treat Lexan/Plexiglass/Acrylic in the same manner. From a practical real-world position, what will I need to use and to be careful of in cutting the plate to size and in drilling holes up to 1.5” diameter in the plate?

-- PPBart


13 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2819 posts in 1136 days


#1 posted 01-19-2019 06:51 PM

I use the same woodworking tools on plastics that I use on wood.
just a little more slower with more eye protection.
(a wood chip in the eye gets soft right away – a plastic chip in the eye is not good).
I would cut the disk to size with the bandsaw and finish with files, rasps, sanders, etc
to get the exact size you need. (a circle cutter on the bandsaw is a valuable tool to have).

.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12291 posts in 4402 days


#2 posted 01-19-2019 07:02 PM

Lexan is a good choice. As john said, it can be worked with woodworking tools.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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LesB

2796 posts in 4416 days


#3 posted 01-19-2019 07:07 PM

Besides what John had to say I have found that drilling holes in thicker plastic has one additional problem. The bit tends to really grab plastic as it cuts so make sure you have the piece well secured (clamped down) and good control of the drill. The latter in most cases (with thick plastic) means using a drill press to control the feed speed of the bit.

-- Les B, Oregon

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runswithscissors

3124 posts in 2998 days


#4 posted 01-19-2019 09:11 PM

Lexan is a good choice because it is very tough, much more so than acrylic.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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steve104c

52 posts in 2212 days


#5 posted 01-19-2019 09:20 PM

Polycarbonate can be cut with power tools. Acrylics will re-fuse itself on the cut lines. The heat the tool produces melts the plastic. Polycarbonate will not do this.

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gwilki

365 posts in 2447 days


#6 posted 01-19-2019 10:58 PM

Just out of curiosity, how big is the unsupported span of the lexan? 3/8” is not very thick, if hanging a heavy router and a lift from the bottom of it. If the span is very big, it will sag over time, I would bet.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View PPBart's profile

PPBart

87 posts in 804 days


#7 posted 01-20-2019 01:54 AM

The plate finished dimensions will be about 11.5” square, unsupported span about 10” square. The router installed will be a Porter-Cable 1.75 HP. If it does eventually sag a bit, I’ll just replace it with something thicker.

-- PPBart

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MrRon

5975 posts in 4217 days


#8 posted 01-20-2019 02:10 AM

Personally I would not use Lexan. I would use a phenolic based board, like bakelite. It is stiffer and won’t sag over time. It is expensive, about $44 a sq ft. I use it on my router table.

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PPBart

87 posts in 804 days


#9 posted 01-20-2019 02:18 AM


Lexan is a good choice…

Can I use Forstner bits for the largest hole (1.5”)?

-- PPBart

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PPBart

87 posts in 804 days


#10 posted 01-20-2019 02:23 AM


Personally I would not use Lexan. I would use a phenolic based board, like bakelite…

I never thought of bakelite, but I’ll keep it in mind for the next time.

-- PPBart

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MrRon

5975 posts in 4217 days


#11 posted 01-20-2019 06:55 PM


Lexan is a good choice…

Can I use Forstner bits for the largest hole (1.5”)?

- PPBart


I’ve never tried it, but I don’t think a forstner bit will cut lexan. A brad point bit or a hole saw might work better. Try it out on a scrap piece.

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PPBart

87 posts in 804 days


#12 posted 01-23-2019 05:10 AM

I ve never tried it, but I don t think a forstner bit will cut lexan. A brad point bit or a hole saw might work better. Try it out on a scrap piece…

I had some scrap pieces of 1/8” Lexan, so I tested — standard twist drills up to 1/2” seemed to cut fine, nice clean holes. Then I jumped up to a 1.5” Forstner bit — it too cut just fine. I think I’ll be OK if I keep speed/pressure down.

-- PPBart

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MrRon

5975 posts in 4217 days


#13 posted 01-23-2019 10:33 PM



I ve never tried it, but I don t think a forstner bit will cut lexan. A brad point bit or a hole saw might work better. Try it out on a scrap piece…

I had some scrap pieces of 1/8” Lexan, so I tested — standard twist drills up to 1/2” seemed to cut fine, nice clean holes. Then I jumped up to a 1.5” Forstner bit — it too cut just fine. I think I ll be OK if I keep speed/pressure down.

- PPBart


Great! Thanks for the report on using a forstner bit on lexan. That I didn’t know.

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