The manufacturing method used to produce A-Cast cast acrylic sheets, while enabling small quantities to be produced, giving flexibility in both colour range and finish, also gives the material mechanical properties which enable fabrication using both conventional and specialist equipment in a number of processes.
Removal of the protection film can create a static charge which will attract dust to the A-Cast sheet. The surface of the sheet can then be cleaned with fresh water or a mild detergent and blotting with a chamois leather or soft, 100% cotton cloth. VuPlex can also be used for cleaning and to repair minor scratches.
A powered circular saw with blades having alternative teeth beveled, as is typical for use with aluminium, can be used on A-Cast which can also be cut-to-size using band saws, jig saws and fret saws as well as specialist beam saws and wall saws, typically used in plastics fabrication.
A-Cast sheet, up to a maximum thickness of 4mm, may be cut in a straight line by deeply scribing the surface of the sheet several times. The sheet should then be supported on one side of the line while pressed down sharply on the other side, over the edge of a bench.
Laser cutting can be used to cut A-Cast into simple or complex shapes equally well with extremely fine, practically radius-free inner contours. Edges are also finished as if polished, even in filigree contours, with no secondary processing required. Only cast acrylic can be laser cut with good results.
When drilling A-Cast, a pilot hole should be drilled first to locate the drill to be used. Conventional twist drills and hole-saws for use with wood are suitable for drilling A-Cast. All work should be supported by a back stop to prevent splintering the exit hole.
Screwing and tapping
Standard taps and dies can be used for cutting screw threads in A-Cast although lubrication should always be used and fine threads avoided. Where parts are to be frequently taken apart and assembled, threaded metal inserts would prove beneficial.
Routing & Engraving
Portable routers as well as specialist flat bed machines can be used with A-Cast. Routing can be performed dry but the use of compressed air to clear swarf and keep the router cool is recommended. A-Cast can also be readily engraved and delivers particularly effective results with A-Cast Fluorescent.
Diamond polishing can be used to produce a polished straight edge with sharp, 90° corners. Diamond polishing produces excellent results with very little stress in the work, which is particularly useful if the work is to be bonded in any way.
Flame polishing can be used to produce a polished edge with rounded corners which can be desirable as it is safer to handle. Due to excessive, localised heating, flame polishing can produce highly stressed edges and requires annealing in order to reduce or eliminate the stress.
A-Cast sheets are softened along a line by a strip heater, on one or two sides dependent upon thickness, before the sheet is bent and then clamped in place to cool. Localised stress is generated by the process which inevitably, will produce a weaker edge.
Drape forming refers to a single curvature thermoforming technique which uses gravity and very little force. The A-Cast sheet is heated and then placed over a mandrel mould, lined with cloth, to take up the form of the mould.
When heated to a temperature between 140 and 170°C, A-Cast can be thermoformed into component parts by the application of force such as air pressure or mechanical press clamping. When held to the mould shape and cooled, A-Cast will retain the shape.