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Old 09/26/2006, 05:27 PM   #276
H20ENG
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thanks northern for the tip on keeping away from Melev!


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Old 09/26/2006, 09:25 PM   #277
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lol.. Northern or Melev..do you guys ever use just a Router and a Straight Edge to clean up the edges for bonding or only use the Router Table? Im getting a router tomorrow and am thinking of using a straight edge, what do you think of that?


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Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 09/27/2006, 12:39 AM   #278
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Using the router and a straight edge will work fine for cleaning up the edges. The advantage to using the router table with offset fence is that you set the size of the pieces to be exactly the same. when you use the straight edge the pieces are not sized the same so making a closed box with a top (top brace) is a lot harder.

kim


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Old 09/27/2006, 03:40 PM   #279
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Im not sure i understand about the offset fence and how it keeps them the same size? is it like a table saw fence that moves or adjustable?


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Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 09/27/2006, 03:58 PM   #280
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I never use an offset fence. I am just not that coordinated I guess.

I use a big fence and a router in the table.

Diagram:

F A B
-me-

Fence acrylic Bit.

I push the acrylic into the fence the bit shaves off a tiny bit.

Wood working you usually see this

F
B
A
Me

and you slide the acylic across the fence. I could never make this work, the piece would always get caught in the hole in the fence housing the bit.

lots of folks use a jointer with good results for easy pieces.


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Old 09/28/2006, 01:16 AM   #281
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When I say offset fence I mean the same setup as Northens first diagram. You put the material between the fence and the bit so it is all the same size. If you setup the fence next to the bit, or use a straight edge or a jointer you can clean the edge up to make a good glue joint, but ever piece can end up a different size as well as you can loose your square corners. If you put the material between the fence and bit, the edge you are cutting stays perfectly parallal to the edge against the fence.

Now this is the most unsafe way of running a router and if you talk to most woodworkers they will tell you it is a big no no. But does do a very good job on what we need and I always suggest you use featherboards to keep the material against the fence, and they will also help to make sure the material does not kick back at you.

Kim


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Old 09/28/2006, 06:23 AM   #282
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Check my gallery, page 3 "routing acrylic" for a pic or two. Please do keep what Kim said in mind, this is by no means the safest way to machine acrylic but it is the fastest and most consistent way as all of your pieces can be machined within a very tight tolerance which is necessary for acrylic. It's very helpful to have a dust collector on the table as well.
It's very much like a table saw fence only you use C-clamps to attach the fence to the table. With practice, you'll learn how to tap the fence so you can move it just a few thousanths of an inch at a time.

HTH,
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Old 09/30/2006, 11:21 AM   #283
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Quote:
Originally posted by NorthernCF
PS I just met Melev IRL, at MACNA. I am now thinking working with acrylics is too dangerous. Let me describe Melev to you:

Robin Williams in his big cocaine days.... only with more energy!!!!!


hehe!


Who needs drugs when you can be that way naturally?


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Old 09/30/2006, 12:17 PM   #284
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The issue is, most of us CAN'T be that way naturally, so we need the drugs to keep up with fancy pants like you!




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Old 10/03/2006, 05:22 PM   #285
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what do you mean by "not the safest way". dangerous to acrylic or to me? waht is the easiest way to set the fence to right setting? do you have markings on your table or do it by eye?


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Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 10/03/2006, 05:23 PM   #286
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Also what do you recomend for a inexpensive router table? can I use my table saw some how?


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Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 10/03/2006, 05:57 PM   #287
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highquality,
It can be dangerous due to the acrylic being jammed between the spinning bit and the fence. With the tablesaw blade, its less of an issue because the blade is spinning parallel to the work. The router bit, however will want to pull the work into itself if you try to take too large a bite into the material. This can grab the piece and throw it at you. I had a friend LOSE A TESTICLE this way, no BS. So you can clamp a feather board to the table so that the acrylic can only ride up the bit so far. Its a fine line between jamming the material against the fence too tightly and leaving enough play while still being safe.
That said, many people route the acrylic with only the fence and bit, no feather board. Pay close attention, keep constant pressure against the fence, and ONLY take off a 16th of an inch at a time.

My tablesaw has a router cutout in one of the extension wings. You can easily fab up a base of plywood, melamine, etc for any tablesaw. A dedicated table is best, but mine works for as often as I use it.


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Old 10/03/2006, 07:12 PM   #288
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I tend to like my testicles... I don't know if I'll ever try this alternate method!

A local hobbyist has virtually all the stuff to make a CNC router at last, and I'm about to buy it. That'll be cool, and man-parts friendly.


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Old 10/07/2006, 06:11 PM   #289
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When you glue the 4 sides onto the bottom, you leave 1/16 th of an edge for the fillet or ooze to ooze out on, right? that makes it better right? So do you still go back and route the bottom 1/16 off flush after it dries? does that mess up the strength or chip the ooze weldon? Or do you leave it


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Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 10/07/2006, 09:14 PM   #290
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Routing Acrylic?

Melev & H2OENG,

I know this may sound stupid but I have only used my router for wood in the past and recently tried to do a test piece of lexan only to have it explode into tiny flying shards (glad I wear gloves now!).

Do you run the peice with or against the spin of the bit? I didn't think that 3/8ths would be too much going against the spin but I do now!

BTW, I finnally made an upflow filter for resins that works! I'll send you a pic if ya want, just wished I had used a router to clean it up some.


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Old 10/07/2006, 11:16 PM   #291
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Highquality, I leave a little overhang when gluing, which is routed off once it has cured. This gives a nice clean edge. I've not had any issues with seams afterwards.

paisleyw, if you have a project in front of you, such as the bottom of the sump facing upwards... I use a laminate trimming bit that has a bearing at its base. The bearing traces the four outer walls of the sump, and I run the router counter-clockwise around the sump until all the overhanging acrylic has been trimmed away creating a flush edge on all four sides. The bottom of the sump is done. Next, I flip it over so the top is facing up, and do the same so the flange looks nice and clean.






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Old 10/07/2006, 11:38 PM   #292
Mark NJ
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Decided to try my hand at Acrylic DIY. Does anyone know of any suppliers that sell scrap pieces? I would like to practice a bit before embarking on the real thing. Thanks. Great thread!!!!


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Old 10/08/2006, 09:08 AM   #293
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Hi Quality,
Yep, as Marc said, just flush cut the flashing off after everything has cured. I usually leave more than 1/16", usually like 1/8-3/16" all around. It gets flush cut off anyway and if the tank slides a little - you're still good.

paisleyw,
Lexan is a different material than acrylic altogether and while some things are similar between the two - machining them is not one of them. Lexan and all other polycarbonates are very soft and grabby as you now well know. Unless you are *very* accustomed to machining pastics, I would advise sticking to a jointer fence type of edge prep for this stuff until you are very comfortable with it. Lexan can be extremely dangerous to route on an open router table and utmost care should be taken if you want to do it. 3/8" Lexan will test a router and cutter more than one would think, I use strong routers with big cutters so that I'm never machining off more than the cutters radius which will be enough to cause one to lose control. The other thing you can do to help is use 3-flute cutters which don't clear chips as well but don't let things get as grabby either. I *personally* route it against the spin. If you route it with this spin - it will pull right away from you.
What are ya machining Lexan for anyway?
Same goes for other plastics such as plate PVC, heavy gauge, ABS, styrene, PETG, etc.

Mark NJ,
Very few suppliers are going to advertise that they sell scrap, other than their "bargain bin" which would otherwise go into the dumpster. Look in your local yellow pages under "Plastics, distributors, sheet, rod, film" and ask. The other folks to ask are fabricators which will be under "Plastics, fabricating, finishing, and decorating" or something to that effect. I know I have tons of scrap that I give away for folks to experiment with. Hopefully, fabricators in your area will do the same.

HTH,
James


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Old 10/08/2006, 10:50 AM   #294
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Would you also advise to cut the front and back panels 1/4 longer as well and route them off after too? wouldnt the extra length of the end panels get in the way of the bearing when routing the bottom or vice versa?


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Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 10/08/2006, 11:10 AM   #295
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Oh I see now, I would do route the sides first , then the bottom BEFOR PUTTING ON THE TOP??? On this size tank should I cut the front and sides to right length and glue the up that way or leave front and back longer to route?


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" If you can touch people with wildlife, then they want to save it." Steve Irwin

Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 10/08/2006, 11:45 AM   #296
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What I do is glue the entire thing together. The top and bottom are 1/4" longer on all four sides. The front and back are 1/4" longer at each end.

Yes, the ends get in the way a bit, but once you've got the top and bottom routed, the ends will be next and it takes off the rest completely.


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Old 10/08/2006, 11:56 AM   #297
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Thanks for the tips! I'm gonna run over to the local plastics shop in Jax tommorrow to pick up some better material. The lexan was scrap from hurricane prep-season I'll let you know how it works out.

BTW Melev - Your site rocks! Rob sent me the url awhile ago when I was talking about making my own tank, ended up getting a 120 aga from him because the Wife thought routers were too expensive


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Old 10/08/2006, 12:35 PM   #298
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I ordered some 2 " strips of acrylic for the top flange. I could not afford to put a whole piece on top and route it out. Have you guys ever done it this way? Put strips on each top side for support? Would I glue them with tank sitting right side up or with the tank flipped over and have tank sitting on top of them?


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Current Tank Info: One of my tanks is a 50 gallon Mini Reef - 250 wt 20k on a PFO mag. ballast - a 250 wt krystal star 11k on a dynamic E-ballast - ASM G2 1/2 skimmer -TLF phosban reactor with 1 1/2 carbon in it -
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Old 10/08/2006, 01:54 PM   #299
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I've not done it that way, but others have with success. It is similar to eurobracing a glass tank. I would have the tank sit on top of the strips and apply the solvent. Once cured, route off whatever lip you left exposed.


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Old 10/08/2006, 03:03 PM   #300
Acrylics
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Quote:
Originally posted by highquality
Oh I see now, I would do route the sides first , then the bottom BEFOR PUTTING ON THE TOP??? On this size tank should I cut the front and sides to right length and glue the up that way or leave front and back longer to route?
Cut the front & back longer, glue the ends, then route the flashing. Then glue the top & bottom on then route the flashin again. This is the way I do it, 'course whatever works for ya

Quote:
I ordered some 2 " strips of acrylic for the top flange. I could not afford to put a whole piece on top and route it out. Have you guys ever done it this way? Put strips on each top side for support? Would I glue them with tank sitting right side up or with the tank flipped over and have tank sitting on top of them?
I don't recommend this as you wil have sharp corners in the access cutouts and the stresses will be concentrated there. A full sheet on top allows for large radii to distribute stress to a larger area. From a sturctural point of view, it makes no difference whether the strips are on top or inside.

HTH,
James


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