Polycarbonate sheet is manufactured by an extrusion process. It is an exceptionally strong sheet material with incredible impact resistance, it’s virtually unbreakable.
• Impact resistance
• High strength
• Excellent optical clarity
• Hard wearing
• Weather resistant
• Resistant to high temperatures (UK class 1 fire rating)
• Noise reduction/sound insulation
• Easy to cut and machine
• Sky lights
• Automotive and aircraft components
• Security components
• Vending machines
• Street furniture
• Machine guards
• Roof domes
Working with polycarbonate:
We cut polycarbonate sheet to size using a circular saw and a CNC router. But acrylic sheet can also be cut with hand tools. Most hand tools designed for use for wood or soft metal can be used on acrylic.
Circular saws, band saws and jigsaws and are all suitable but for small jobs a fine-toothed hacksaw is easy recommended. Ensure the material is fixed securely and use light controlled pressure to achieve a good finish.
If cutting large amounts of material using a powered saw a tungsten carbide tipped blade would be a sensible investment.
Polycarbonate is not suitable for laser cutting.
Polycarbonate can be polished but the sheet doesn’t transmit light to the edges of the material so if you require a plastic panel with a bright polished edge other materials such as cast and extruded are more suitable.
Drilling holes in polycarbonate
Standard wood working drill bits are suitable for drilling holes in polycarbonate sheet. Be sure to use another piece of material (scrap wood or acrylic is perfect) underneath the panel to act as a backstop. This will ensure the drilling will not blowout the panel as the drill exits the material.
Do not under any circumstances use a centre punch on a polycarbonate panel, it’s very likely to cause damage. It’s a good idea to start by drilling a small pilot hole to help locate the drill.
Be patient and drill at a steady speed and pause regularly to remove any swarf collecting around the drill, not doing so is likely to cause over heating and in turn will damage the hole.
When approaching the other side of the panel, continue to drill through it and into the backstop to ensure the exit hole does not splinter.
Start by blowing and brushing any loose dirt and dust from the polycarbonate sheet.
With a mild solution of lukewarm water and a drop of standard washing up liquid use a soft cloth to wipe clean any stubborn dirt and grime.
Gently rinse with clean water before dabbing dry with a mircofibre cloth to ensure water spots do not develop.
Specialist polish can be used to polish out fine scratches from polycarbonate sheet, however T-cut car polish achieves great results too.