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Old 09-12-2017, 12:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Turning Acrylic

Tonight I tried to turn my second ever acrylic blank, and let's just say that it didn't go as planned. This blank was different from the first in that it seemed to come off in small sharp shards until it broke off of the tube in a large chunk. It reminded me of smashing a piece of hard candy like a jolly rancher.

Is this normal? My first acrylic blank was a little like this, but definitely not as bad. Do different acrylics turn differently? Could age have had something to do with it? Any suggestions for turning acrylics so this doesn't happen again?
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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The term `acrylic` is misapplied to many different plastics . What were your two blanks called ? Supplier ? Most suppliers use fanciful names for a particular blank .
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Hi Greg,
As Wayne commented, there are so many reasons that could have caused your Blank to shatter.
Please give a run down on a step by step of what you did, and what you used.
How did you drill, Speed, Drill type, Sharpness?
How frequently did you clear and cool the Drill?
What adhesive used?,
How did you roughen the Tube?
The Method and tools you used to turn?
What speed?
Where did you start? What sequence did you turn the blank? e.g both ends to round then the center down, or right to left along the whole blank, or what ever?
Was there any adhesive on the tube, where the pieces came off?
Some pictures may be helpful.
Or better still would be take the remnants to a local group of pen turners, and let them see what they can suggest.
Regards,
Brian.
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Old 09-12-2017, 05:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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My first few experiences with the various plastic blanks had me swear off turning anything but wood for quite a while. These days I appreciate the fact I don't have to apply a finish and over time I've learned which ones I can turn with carbide and which ones need the skew. When I blow up a blank it's usually because I'm trying to take too much off at once. For most polymer blanks, patience and light cuts are key. If you're turning acrylester just go ahead and put the carbide down.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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The tools can never be too sharp, and each blank tends to cut differently. The mix when poured makes a difference, some are just more brittle than others, and some days just work better than others. I swear that some of my blanks have a "grain" pattern and cut better in one direction than the other, but it is likely my "feel" for the day or the sharpness of the two sides of the tool. Keep practicing, it will get better, and the results are worth it.
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Old 09-12-2017, 07:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default These videos may help

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...7C&FORM=VRDGAR

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...F6&FORM=VRDGAR

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...AD&FORM=VRDGAR
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghansen4 View Post
Tonight I tried to turn my second ever acrylic blank, and let's just say that it didn't go as planned. This blank was different from the first in that it seemed to come off in small sharp shards until it broke off of the tube in a large chunk. It reminded me of smashing a piece of hard candy like a jolly rancher.

Is this normal? My first acrylic blank was a little like this, but definitely not as bad. Do different acrylics turn differently? Could age have had something to do with it? Any suggestions for turning acrylics so this doesn't happen again?
Welcome aboard and welcome to the acrylic club. Nothing is wrong...you are learning. Most of us have experienced what you are going through. I broke, chipped, cracked a few until I got the touch. Sharp tools and speed are your best friend. Take your time. Light strikes. You'll get there. Some acrylics are more brittle than other. I do not like working with certain types. You'll figure it out. Stay with it...just take your time.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Greg, from what you described leads me to believe that you were trying to turn Inlcae Acrylester. If that is so, then you need to have very sharp tools, carbibe will work also, and take very light cuts.

I use a Sorby spindle gouge, a round carbia, and a R2 carbide. Once you get the hang of turning them, they finish beautifully.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Wow, you guys were spot on. Turns out it was in fact Inlace Acrylester with a carbide tool. What are some of the easier acrylics to turn with carbide?

How about something like this?
https://www.exoticblanks.com/Maroon-...ack-AA-39.html
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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That will turn a lot easier than Inlace Acrylester. I have turned several of those blanks and they have all been a pain. I can turn a regular acrylice acetate blank in about 30 minutes, but it will take me close to 2 hours to turn the Inlace blanks.

If you have a Woodcraft near you, check and see if they have a box with acrlic blank cutoffs. Mine has one and they sell 2 1/2 inch blanks for $1.99. That is a fairly cheap price for something you can learn with. That size will make a nice Sierra style pen.

Also, you can purchase some alumilite blanks and it turns almost like butter. The only thing that I found that you need to look out for with Alumilite and the new Liquid Diamond blanks if the shavings that come of as you are turning can get real long and then they want to wrap around your blank. When that happens, I just turn them off or stop the lathe and pull them off. Not a major problem just a little inconvenience.

Last edited by eharri446; 09-12-2017 at 09:50 AM.
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