Acrylic work: Routing Acrylic Projects

Working with acrylic isn't very hard, but you do have to be meticulous. Straight cuts are important, and the smoother the edges you achieve, the better your joints will bond. Many people wonder how sumps are assembled and don't realize that the bonding agent literally welds the two pieces into one piece with a chemical reaction that melts and merges the material. You need a triple cut (ATB) blade with 80 or more teeth for a clean edge.

I use Weld-On #3 for my joints, and #16 for gaps as well as in seams that I feel need a little more reinforcement. Looking for extended tips at the local hobby shop, I was able to force a long nozzle on the #16 to better control the amount of glue coming out because it had a smaller diameter tip.

Acrylic work: Routing Top Flange

There are a few ways to accomplish the top flange (the rim or one-piece euro-brace) of a sump. Originally, I would build the sump, squeeze in pieces of wood inside the upper edge of the sump, and use a router with a ball bearing guide to trace the lumber. This was tedious, and cutting wood for each sump would end up costing too much.

Later I bought an Edge-Guide that mounts to the router. Once the sump was built, I could use the edge guide to follow the outer periphery of the sump while the bit cut out the opening. This is fine, but it is possible to make an error, or even damage the sump if the center piece drops inwards too hard. Plus the sump would fill up with shavings that had to be removed afterwards. Some images of this procedure are included on this page when you scroll down quite a bit.

Acrylic work: Routing teeth

How would you like to route some teeth for a baffle of your sump? Here is one of the methods I've used.

You could create a "jig" that is re-useable, such as the thumbnail to the right.  It provides me with a series of grooves for the router bit's shaft to trace, but over time it melts the material of the jig and has to be replaced.  This is a good choice for a few uses, at most.

Acrylic work: Tools I use...

Due to the abundance of emails, it was time to put some pictures on the site. Here are a number of items I use to build the sumps and other acrylic wares I fabricate. While not everything is absolutely necessary, I find that if you have the right tools on hand, your end result will be better. Keeping track of all these items can be a task, since they scatter during the construction phase...

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