Acrylic is a transparent thermoplastic often used as a shatter-proof alternative to glass. Acrylic is commonly available in Cast or Extruded sheets, blocks, rounds, or angles. Cast acrylic is made by casting the acrylic resin into a mold or onto a moving steel belt to form sheets. Extruded acrylic is made by forcing the acrylic resin between a set of steel dies to form a continuous sheet, which is then cut into individual sheets. Although Extruded or Cast Acrylic can be machined on Mills, Lathes, Routers, Saws, Drill Presses and more, the material is too expensive to consistently prototype with. Acrylic’s true potential resides in Laser Cutting & Engraving processes. Engraving Cast Acrylic produces a ‘frosted-glass’ look; cutting Extruded Acrylic will produce flame polished edges. Adhering Acrylic together will require special glues and can be tricky.
Chemical Name: Poly (Methyl Methacrylate)
Common Brand Names (Cast): Lucite™, Acrylite™, Shinkolite™A and Hesa™-Glas
Common Brand Names (Extruded): Deglas™, Homalite™, Optix™FG and Solatuf™
Bottom Line: Expensive for Students, but you can’t argue how professional the final product looks! Also great for custom signage applications.