Monopoly in Lights

Enriching the Electric Company

Flame Off!, or, Like Sands Through the Hourglass

I’ve been pretty anxious to start putting together the surface supports for the board, but managed to convince myself to hold off until I figured out how I could clean up the exposed surfaces of the black acrylic.  What I’ve always read is that the single best way to finish acrylic edges is by using flame polishing.  Basically, move a torch quickly along the edge so the acrylic very briefly melts, then reforms a glossy, polished edge.

Great theory.

I went out to get a torch, which may be useful for other things later, and tested it out.  Sure enough, it can melt the plastic, but there was one tiny problem.  The acrylic I have is so thin the process caused warping. After reading up a bit more, someone mentioned that it wasn’t worth even trying on 4mm acrylic, and it turns out this stuff is closer to 1mm.  So, back to the drawing board.  Time to sand.

(As a side note, I really would have needed to do the sanding anyway; the flame polishing won’t fix problems like saw marks, which I had quite a lot of.)

After spending a while using various sand papers, sanding sponges, and files, dear wifey was about ready to climb the walls from the horrid screeching noise.  This, combined with the fact that it was an awfully tedious, unproductive process, drove me to look for an alternate solution.  The answer finally came in a series of posts discussing doing detail sanding work on wood carving, and mention was made of various rotary tool sanding options.

Off to the hardware store this morning, to return with a new Dremel sanding kit.  Had several different types of sanding, buffing, and polishing wheels.  Unfortunately, they weren’t individually marked, so I had to make some guesses about which ones were which grits, but eventually I figured out a good order, and managed to get a pretty smooth finish on all the exposed edges.  Unfortunately, my not-steadiest hand meant that in several places the wheels bit into the material too much, and left some parts rather more sanded down than intended, but it should be good enough.  After all, the point of this is the nice lighted panels, not the black dividers between them.

But I want those dividers to look nice enough to not draw attention, at least.

June 16, 2012 - Posted by | Construction

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