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Those that make their own enclosures out of acrylic

Discussion in 'Vivariums and Terrariums' started by Venomgland, May 14, 2018.

  1. Venomgland

    Venomgland Arachnosquire Active Member

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    What tool do you use to cut the acrylic? How well does the hand tool work compared to electric saws? I don't have any saws. Thats why I am asking.
     
  2. Spiderguy47

    Spiderguy47 Arachnoknight

    I don't make acrylic enclosures but I have worked with acrylic and I can tell you that you probably shouldn't use a saw. You can either use an acrylic knife that scores it so you can snap it or you can use a dremel (personally I recommend the acrylic tool since it comes out looking nicer). If you use a saw on true acrylic it will crack and break.
     
  3. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnosquire Active Member

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    i have milled acrylic on a cnc mill (only a couple times) and can tell you not to get too aggressive or it will chip. if you have to use a saw, i would imagine that a blade designed for metal (finer teeth) will work better than one for wood, but this is purely speculation.
     
  4. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnumerical Staff Member

    There are circular saw blades that are specifically made for acrylic. I wouldn't suggest using Dremel just because of how rough the cuts are. No way you'd be able to get the perfect cut needed for a 100% acrylic enclosure.

    But really, I wouldn't suggest a 100% acrylic enclosure regardless. It always, always bows over time.
     
  5. Venomgland

    Venomgland Arachnosquire Active Member

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    So it works pretty much like a glass cutting knife?
     
  6. Venomgland

    Venomgland Arachnosquire Active Member

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    Thats something to think of. Thanks
     
  7. sasker

    sasker Arachnobaron Active Member

    I simply score the acrylic on both sides with a normal hobby knife and a ruler before snapping it. If I really want to go fancy, I will then use a very small torch (like those gas fueled cigarette lighters with a blue flame) to lightly melt the edge to make it smooth. I don't make my enclosures fully acrylic, but some of my enclosures have a plastic top.
     
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  8. Red Eunice

    Red Eunice Arachnolord

    I had to look up my password just to post my answer, yes I don't frequent this forum like I used to.
    Since you haven't saws, the score-n-snap method is my recommendation.
    I've built over 100 acrylic enclosures for myself and local keepers. I use a table saw for cutting the pieces and smooth off the edges with a router equipped with a laminate bit.
    Look at some of my past threads on acrylic enclosures.
    Using the proper thickness of acylic for your size build is key. Correct thickness = no warping.
    Attaching some photos of builds in my invert room.
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Generally, you'll get a better cut with a machine over scoring the plastic.
     
  10. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Thought you disappeared!
     
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  11. Venomgland

    Venomgland Arachnosquire Active Member

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    That is awesome! Thats what I'm looking to do, but I don't have access to the power tools. What thickness acrylic do you use?
     
  12. Venomgland

    Venomgland Arachnosquire Active Member

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    I remember using a jigsaw ages ago, were talking back in 1995, to cut some plexiglass. All I remember is that it melted the plexiglass and we had to keep re-cutting the same line cause it would melt back together. The cuts looked terrible too.
     
  13. Theneil

    Theneil Arachnosquire Active Member

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    i would bet some soapy water as a cutting lubricant could help prevent the melt/fusion issue with the jigsaw. Might help the finish too but i can only imagine that it still wouldn't be a pretty edge.
     
  14. Red Eunice

    Red Eunice Arachnolord

    Migrated into LR shooting, an expensive and time consuming sport.
    Btw, thanks again on the lead for the S. hoffmanni slings. Pushing 1 1/2 years now and only doubled in size, slower growing than expected. Very inquisitive species, much like my P. scrofa, disturb their enclosures and come onto the surface to investigate. :)
     
  15. Red Eunice

    Red Eunice Arachnolord

    Entirely dependent on the build size, mind you I only build arboreal enclosures.
    Example: a 6"X6"X12" use .120" thick.
    12"X12"X24" use .180" thick.
    Built a dozen, 5"X5"X10" using .080".
    I used .220" thickness on the sides of some 16"X16"X36" custom enclosures for a friend's P. ornata/rufilata MFs. Used .180" for the remaining pieces.
    11.5X11.5X20 .160''.jpg
    Above photo is .160" thick all around, biggest I could make out of a piece of scrap acrylic. With a bit of force it will twist slightly when the door is open.
    Thicker is better, only to a point, without power equipment. 180" is as thick as I would go using the score-n-snap method. ;)
     
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  16. Venomgland

    Venomgland Arachnosquire Active Member

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    Ok thanks. I only plan on doing arboreals too.
     
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  17. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Arachno HoneyBadger Arachnosupporter

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    Lay it on the side with the door up... BAM! Terrestrial enclosure!

    I have time to plan, but I will eventually have 6, 7-9" terrestrials.

    A similar style of enclosures on a dedicated bookshelf is in the planning stages.

    Thanks for the thickness info, I'll start the shopping at Lowe's and Home Depot and see what I can find.
     
  18. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Buying fancy guns instead of fancy Ts, mann...where's the dedication! ;) I figured something had the attention of our resident acrylic expert. You know speaking of hoffmani, first You are quite welcome. Second, slings are going for 100$ for some reason if I recall now, and when I told you about them, I believe they were going for like 20$.

    Didn't know they were inquisitive, that's quite cool. Have their little horns appeared yet?
     
  19. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Exactly, you jigsaw was moving too fast, thus melting it, not actually cutting it. That's why I don't recommend Dremel's for acrylic. Mind you it's not impossible to use them on acrylic, but you really end up melting due to high RPMs.

    Same with drilling, most people are melting it with a drill, but the right speed and bit, and you should see a single piece of plastic rise up from the drill. I've done it, not easy.
     
  20. Venomgland

    Venomgland Arachnosquire Active Member

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    I'm going to get some acrylic and the acrylic cutting tool this weekend and give it a shot. Its supposed to rain all weekend so I have nothing else better to do. Well I do, but its not fun, so I'd rather play with some acrylic.
     
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