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Help needed to laminate Lexan, (polycarbonate). I acquired a used router with no base, no problem! I thought I'd just pick up some Lexan at the hardware store and make one. Mmm, not so. They have some but only in very thin sheets. I will need to laminate 2 or 3 sheets to get it to a thickness that I can use to counter sink the screws that hold it on. I DID get a great deal on a scrap large enough to make 3 complete bases, $5! So I need to laminate a couple of 6"x 6" sheets. Has anyone done this? What glue/chemical/solution have you used?

Thanks!

This maybe belongs in a different thread?
 

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it stay together...
the glue to do the job will cost you a bunch (as in a way more lot) more than a piece to get it right or a replacement base...
 
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it won't stay together...
the glue to do the job (for short term results) will cost you a bunch (as in a way more lot) more than a piece to get it right or a replacement base...
 

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Look in the Yellow Pages or online for Lexan or a plastics supplier near you. For router bases, my plastics supplier considers pieces that size to be scrap and I get it really cheap from my local (1/2 hour away) plastics supplier. He would likely be throwing it out if it wasn't for me picking some up every now and then. I'm not fussy. I don't care what color or size or shape, as long as I can make what I want from it. What I get is usually clear or slightly smoke in color, but I got some transparent red once. It made an easy to find router base.

Charley
 

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Way back in the early 1970's - I was building display cases for Fernbank Science Center (A science museum in Atlanta, Georgia)
We did not use Lexan, but rather we used PlexiGlas.
Formalin is what we used to "fuse" the edges of pieces together.
I am unaware of anyone "laminating" skinny parts in layers with this method.
Our daughter turns 45 this week and that's where I was working when she was born.
I'll tell y'all a funny story here: We had us three guys working in a 10,000 square foot shop.
We had it all to ourselves. The shop was very well equipped with the best tools
money could buy "in the day". My Dad was an avid deer hunter and occasionally, he would
hand me a "rack with a bit of skull attached". I took one of these to the quite large belt sander
and proceeded to "flatten" the skull so it could sit flat on the plaque I made for him.
WARNING: DO NOT DO THIS! IT PROBABLY TOOK 15 MINUTES TO GET IT SMOOTH TO MY LIKING.
The entire shop smelled so bad that we stayed out for a couple of days and did cabinet installations!
Yes we left the windows open!
Another possible source of Lexan is SIGN SHOPS!

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
 

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Help needed to laminate Lexan, (polycarbonate). I acquired a used router with no base, no problem! I thought I'd just pick up some Lexan at the hardware store and make one. Mmm, not so. They have some but only in very thin sheets. I will need to laminate 2 or 3 sheets to get it to a thickness that I can use to counter sink the screws that hold it on. I DID get a great deal on a scrap large enough to make 3 complete bases, $5! So I need to laminate a couple of 6"x 6" sheets. Has anyone done this? What glue/chemical/solution have you used?

Thanks!

This maybe belongs in a different thread?
It's nice to see you posting Jack. Over the years I've used lots of various Acrylics and NEVER had to pay a cent. Skip bins at the rear of plastics fabricators is a good source and on occasions I've been cheeky enough to actually ask in such places if they had any off-cuts or old Acrylics where the paper protection will no longer peel off and requires a hair drier or soaking in Turps to remove. I would never consider laminating.
 

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A little late to the party, but here goes. My car audio installation career utilized lots of 3/4 and 1" thick plexiglass(the brand) as well as lots of other acrylics. They are very dense and very brittle, so be sure to understand at what cutting speed and feed rate and cutter you will be using to cut shape, drill and countersink these. If you want the edges fancy, spend some time making them flat and true and super smooth, then heat them with a propane torch to polish them.

Laminating thin pieces is going to be frustrating and expensive and will not work well, nor be flat and true, especially over time.

I like the idea of phenolic mentioned earlier -it's super stable and dense - my Woodpecker router table is made of 1" phenolic, as are a bunch of router bases and jigs I have acquired. They stay flat and can be drilled, tapped and threaded with fine thread like metal - NOT coarse or woodscrew friendly.

Sign and display manufacturers as well as wholesale/suppliers into the plastic industry is where to shop for any of this and get proper advice. Offcuts are cheap or close to free - I always buy the guys coffee or a case of beer if they are generous and friendly - never know when you may show up there again with a question or needs.

Here are some large car audio show car systems I did in the early 90s when I was dark haired and not fat, altho far less civil. >:)
 

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I would keep the thin lexan for other uses, like guards. Then find something more suitable for a base plate. In the sign business we used to 'glue' (actually more like 'weld') acrylic with methylene but that doesn't work on lexan if I remember correctly.

Be careful smoothing the edges of acrylic with a flame... over time it can develop tiny cracks near the edge. It seems some types are worse than others for this problem. I guess it's the uneven expansion and contraction from the heating causing this. It doesn't happen right away. We stopped using that method and started sanding and then buffing the edges where needed. Any tiny crack in acrylic can lead to the crack spreading, sometimes right through the part. We sometimes used to buy plexi off a roll for signage... the seller would nick the edge with a machete, then bend it over his knee to crack it off. These rolls were often 3 or more feet across. This was no-cleanup for them compared to cutting it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I guess I'll mark this up as just another hair brained scheme! It was a nice idea while it lasted!
 

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I must have been very lucky over many years Paul because I have for MANY years believed in "one speed suits everything" That has applied to my bench drill, milling machine and metal lathe and to a lesser extent my wood lathe. Being in a rush to complete projects is no doubt the reason for this. Fortunately my projects seem to work out just fine.
 

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"over time it can develop tiny cracks near the edge."

Once again I must have been very lucky in not coming across such a problem overtime.
 

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It's nice to be able to see through a router base, but in most cases it isn't really necessary. When I needed an over size base for a special project I made a large router base from 12 mm Baltic Birch Plywood. It served the need very well. I still have the base hanging on the wall, but I don't remember much about the project. It was for a flattening step for a firewood conversion project about 20 years ago. Back then I used quite a few pieces of re-purposed firewood to make some projects.

Charley
 

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That plastic still has uses Jack as in a router bit guard or a guard for a crosscut sled, etc.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That plastic still has uses Jack as in a router bit guard or a guard for a crosscut sled, etc.
Sure, I wasn't going to trash it, I just need to switch gears. SOP!
 

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"over time it can develop tiny cracks near the edge."

Once again I must have been very lucky in not coming across such a problem overtime.
Especially when we weren't too busy, we made OPEN signs for in store windows. They were a very basic plexi box, two chains, transformer and neon letters. Because they were in windows, maybe the heat or UV contributed to the problem. It didn't happen all the time but we found that some signs would get that 'crazing' in the edge. Buffing takes longer, so if the boss didn't think it was worthwhile he would have avoided that, especially because those open signs were our cheapest product. After we switched to buffing we never saw the problem again. Another way of cleaning the edges was sanding and then wetting the edge (only) with methylene but they stopped doing that too.

Tip: If you're trying to distinguish acrylic (what we called plexi) from polycarbonate (aka lexan) the edge of lexan looks black, the plexi looks white. You can see that easily in your photos, Harry. The top 2 pics are plexi the bottom is lexan. I've mentioned this before but you've illustrated it.
 

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Help needed to laminate Lexan, (polycarbonate). I acquired a used router with no base, no problem! I thought I'd just pick up some Lexan at the hardware store and make one. Mmm, not so. They have some but only in very thin sheets. I will need to laminate 2 or 3 sheets to get it to a thickness that I can use to counter sink the screws that hold it on. I DID get a great deal on a scrap large enough to make 3 complete bases, $5! So I need to laminate a couple of 6"x 6" sheets. Has anyone done this? What glue/chemical/solution have you used?
I'd recommend using clear cast acrylic instead
  • Clear so you can see the router bit
  • Cast instead of extruded because cast won't have any internal stresses and will remain flat!
  • 3/8" for a plunge base
  • 1/2" for an offset base

freckleface.com is my source.

I think laminating thin sheets is asking for trouble, way more than the material cost.
 
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