Cutting/ working with lexan
11 replies to this topic
Posted 28 April 2009 - 02:38 AM
What is the best way to work with lexan to make lips, fins etc?
I mean, i supose you can cut it using a bandsaw etc. ofcourse, but how do you finish it, to make it smooth normal sanding would make it rough and not clear anymore..
Posted 28 April 2009 - 04:56 AM
The sheets come with a thin protection layer , that helps a bit whilst cutting on a bandsaw .
I utilise sheet metal templates to mark the lips outline with a marker needle .
You can smooth out the sawcuts on a sanding disc or belt sander freehand , this way you could possibly avoid toolmarks . I do it on 80 grit , still comes out smooth on its rims .
An edge of molten lexan will build up whilst sanding , you can easily cut it off with a balsa knife , finally break the edges with a small fine file .
good luck:yay: , Dieter
Posted 28 April 2009 - 06:40 AM
You should be able to "polish" the edges by using a small propane torch and heat the edges,
Posted 28 April 2009 - 06:50 AM
Timely question! I will try the torch idea for edges.
I use a band saw and file. Leave the protective sheet on or even replace with something more durable. I've tried polishing the scratches out; to me its a loser.
Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:21 AM
Before you stress too much about the edge finish, try putting one of the bills underwater after you've sanded the edge. It should turn transparent, because the water fills in the scratches. Just be sure you sand down to at least 100 grit.
Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:20 AM
Well depending on the thickness of the Lexan or whatever brand you are using, you quite possibly can use good metal shears and simply cut the lip with shears. You'll need a pair of straight cutting ones and left or right curve cutting ones depending oh whether you are right or left handed.
I have been using this method on polycarbonate up to 1/16" very easily, once it gets too much thicker it is much harder to do. But I'm not building any Muskie or saltwater baits that might need something thicker.
I then use a Dremel to both sand down to my outline and to polish the edge. For the most part the straight sides and back of the lip need very little work after cutting with the shears and it is mostly to round off the curves to the exactness of the marked line.
Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:27 PM
Get a remnant of carpet. Then rub the cut edges on it fast (back and forth) to build a little heat and that should polish it for you. Cutting with good shears or heavy scissors is a very easy way to cut Polycarbonate.
Remember the fumes are very toxic.
Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:20 PM
I trace a master pattern then cut a little outside the line on my band saw. I then use carpet tape or bowl turners double sided tape on a master jig I made out of quartersawn oak with a handle attached. I run it around a flush cutting trim bit in my router table. If you use one of the spiral cut Whiteside bits you will not need to sand. A standard two flute does a nice job as well. After sticking the tape to the master jig press the tape against your jeans to make it a little less sticky so you can Plaster of Paris the finished lip off easier. I can do about twenty bills before I have to change the tape. Be sure to peel the protective film off of the side of the bill that goes against the master. I made a tight clearance table for my router table out of plastic so I can keep good down pressure and still slide the part around the bit easy. Do not rough cut over an 1/8 bigger than the finished part or the router bit tends to want to catch. I tried to attach a photo and found where I has shown this in the past. http://www.tackleund...bills-lips.html
Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:44 PM
I thought this was a good idea first time I saw it, sorry for not commenting then. I built something very similar a few years ago, for routering small wooden parts, except mine had steel points (nails) in the bottom, to grip the wood. Very important to keep the fingers safe.
I use my router table a lot, for other projects. I use the guide plate and make my templates under size. This way, I can duplicate profiles without any marking out or precision eye balling, just run the template along the guide plate. However, I have not figured out a way to make this work for such small items as lure bibs.
My current plan is to design some kind of pantograph duplicator, for making lips. Haven't figured it out yet, but will be giving it more thought in the very near future. Cutting lips is the next big obstacle on my list.
Posted 29 April 2009 - 12:03 AM
You can sand and then buff Lexan back to a shine using plastic buffing compound. The torch is the fast way for say 600grit sandpaper marks; any rougher it doesn't work as well.
For lip cutting if you make enough then a stamping die will be the most economical option. IF you need more then laser cutting is the option. There is also a power tool that's called a nibbler that works pretty well but not very fast.