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PLEXIGLAS® or acrylic glass - what's the difference? That's what we're often asked. PLEXIGLAS® is primarily the registered brand name for all acrylic glass manufactured by Röhm (former Evonik). Acrylic glass is the collective term for materials made of the thermoplastic poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), which includes all acrylic glass from different manufacturers. But what distinguishes PLEXIGLAS® from plastic glass made by other manufacturers?
In terms of quality, PLEXIGLAS® and acrylic glass from other manufacturers differ only slightly. The PLEXIGLAS® manufacturer guarantees its colorless PLEXIGLAS® for a very long time, including high transparency and resistance to hail and yellowing. Visually, minimal differences in coloring, transparency, or between silk-matt finishes can only be determined by close examination.
The fact that most people call all transparent plastic sheets PLEXIGLAS® is due to the historical development of the material: The chemist Otto Röhm was able to produce the transparent hard plastic industrially for the first time in 1933. He used the name PLEXIGLAS® for marketing.
PLEXIGLAS® is only about as half as heavy as glass and, according to the manufacturer, has eleven times the break resistance of its heavyweight relative. Combined with high transparency, excellent weather resistance, and comparatively simple thermal and mechanical processing, plastic glass is, therefore, a popular alternative to conventional glass. As a thermoplastic, PLEXIGLAS® can be worked with the addition of heat and at temperatures between 150°C and 160°C. This property opens up many application possibilities, e.g., in trade show, store, and model construction. Its normal working temperature is between -40°C and +70°C, making it perfect for outdoor use.
Whether transparent, opaque, or satin, colorless or colored – PLEXIGLAS® panels can be used wherever low weight is required: transparent PLEXIGLAS® provides the necessary transparency for showcases and displays in exhibition and shop construction, as well as in picture frames. The translucent, colored and satin versions are suitable for sign and lightbox production and as decorative furniture doors, which also offer privacy protection. As excellent light conductors, the panels are an easy-to-process material for the construction of lighting fixtures, luminous objects, and illuminated advertising. Since wind and weather cannot harm the durable plastic, the range of applications is extended to include balcony cladding, greenhouse glazing, and outdoor signage.
We offer PLEXIGLAS® panels in thicknesses from 0.5 to 8 mm, starting from the smallest formats, like 120 x 250 mm, up to a panel size of 1500 x 2000 mm. The range extends from transparent to translucent to opaque and covers a further ten colors, in addition to the colorless varieties. Milky-white PLEXIGLAS®, in five different light transparencies, complements the color palette. Panels with a satin finish on one or both sides complete the selection with their matt surfaces. We also offer non-reflective PLEXIGLAS® with UV protection, especially for professional picture framing.
An important difference exists between cast PLEXIGLAS® (GS) and extruded, i.e., drawn, PLEXIGLAS® (XT). GS is the higher quality variant that should always be used when drilling, sawing, or milling PLEXIGLAS® sheets. XT melts faster, smudges drills and saws, and retains a white cutting edge. But, it is less expensive than the cast panels. As far as surface quality, visible transparency, and resistance to weathering and aging are concerned, PLEXIGLAS® XT and GS show hardly any differences.
If none of our many panel formats include your desired size, you can buy custom-cut PLEXIGLAS® from us.
All PLEXIGLAS® sheets (that cannot be cut with the cutter) can be cut to size according to your wishes and ideas. Information about the minimum cutting dimensions, the prices, and immediate processing in the Modulor shop can be found on the product page of the respective PLEXIGLAS® grade and our Custom Services page.
PLEXIGLAS® cutting and drilling: circular table saws, jigsaws, and milling with fine-toothed saw blades and lasers are all suitable for cutting and processing PLEXIGLAS® panels. To obtain the most transparent cut-edges possible, we recommend adding a little dish detergent. A clever alternative to cutting panels up to 3 mm thick is a technique called scoring and breaking. The plate is scored several times with an acrylic knife and then broken using one edge of a table. When drilling, using drill bits with tip angles of 60° to 90°, along with drilling oil, helps to create smooth holes.
Small-surface gluing, as well as bonding with other materials such as wood, metal, or cardboard, is best achieved using Ruderer plastic glue. Acrifix is suitable for high-strength, almost colorless bonding - even on surfaces. A completely invisible adhesive bond can be achieved with the solvent dichloromethane.
To give the plastic sheets a high-gloss surface, we recommend a lint-free, special polishing cloth and our Acrylic glass polishing paste. The paste is made for thermoplastics and reduces the formation of stress cracks. Deeper scratches and rough cut edges require even stronger handling with wet sandpaper in grain sizes 320 - 400 - 600 - 1000.