View Full Version : Newbie hoping for acrylic advice

20-06-2016, 04:40 PM
Hi all, one of my hobbies is fish keeping, I'm hoping to gain some advice on building acrylic aquariums in my spare time to sell to fellow hobbyists and maybe hopefully one day be successful enough to make a living from it

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21-06-2016, 09:26 AM
Permanent structural Acrylic construction requires a "weld" achieved with a solvent cement.
Weldon 4 for bonding close fitting joints and I think it's Weldon 14 that's a gap-filling version, (I think 14 is effectively 4 with acrylic dissolved in it to allow it to fill gaps).
This might be an ideal application for Finite Element Analysis software to ensure your wall thicknesses keep distortion within acceptable limits, don't forget permanent cross bracing at the top of long tanks to prevent the long sides from splaying,

- Nick

21-06-2016, 09:43 AM
Cheers Nick.... most tanks I would start with would be small cubes 2ft x 2ft or smaller maybe slightly bigger until I get experience also I don't want to use bracing bars so will use thicker acrylic to compensate.

How do I cut and prepare the pieces before bonding ?

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23-06-2016, 08:49 AM
A commercial quality circular saw bench should be capable of cuts straight enough for bonding without excessive prep work.

Boyan Silyavski
24-06-2016, 10:37 AM
The best way to cut such materials without chips, especially with a manual circular saw/yep, its possible/ is to stick a normal transparent tape both sides of the cut and cut through it. It lubricates the blade, dont ask me why. Even best is a sacrificial cheap high density foam sheet below the methacrylate , especially if cutting over edge of table using hand saw.

Saw blade must be meant for plastic / more teeth/, from the web manufacturer recommendations:

"For best results with Plexiglas® MC acrylic sheet, circular saw blades should be the largest diameter possible and contain 60 carbide-tipped teeth with a triple-chip-tooth design. Teeth should be shaped with a 5° to 10° positive rake angle and have sharp cutting edges with adequate clearance."

As far as structural strength when gluing aquariums.

i would do my self an DIy acrylic sheet bender. Which simply said is a heated wire that heats a line of material when place near it on top of material, and then bend material over some edge. This is the simplest contraption and it works. Now that you have the facing toward the viewer edges without glue and beautifully executed/ no glue and slightly curved for strength/ you could procede and glue the rest properly with additional reinforcing strip.

I am never ashamed to do it beautiful where must be and strong, where must be. Speaking in general. the above i know from a friend making transparent covers for his beautiful yacht models.

Hope that helps

24-06-2016, 11:01 AM
Most commercial builders of aquaria use bonded square corners in tanks even with capacities of thousands of gallons, the adhesives are not a "glue" they are a mixture of solvent and acrylic and if properly used produce a weld. Cylindrical tanks are manufactured by bending a sheet into a ring and solvent/acrylic welding the joint, this is subsequently sanded and polished to a near invisible join.
I wouldn't buy a tank with a bent corner in it unless I'd specified that in my order, I'd go to a manufacturer capable of working with industry standard materials to industry standards.

Boyan Silyavski
24-06-2016, 11:09 AM
He said he does not want to use bracing bars in first post. I am just suggesting a better looking front. I know its not just "glue " but a weld. Anyway, when i was into aquariums, I made them from glass, even now i don't see the point making them from acrylic.

24-06-2016, 11:42 AM
even now i don't see the point making them from acrylic.

It's far harder to shatter, under prolonged stress it cold-flows rather than deflecting until it reaches failure point, the tank is one welded component with the associated reduction in risk of long-term leak formation at adhesive/build-material interfaces.......

24-06-2016, 11:21 PM
Well my prefered method of containing fish is in my Belly. . . .Yum Yum.

Hey, now we have Britian Back and our Fishing waters will the price of Fish n Chips come down.?

25-06-2016, 08:18 AM
Does anyone know the best place to get the acrylic ?... what's the acrylic described as here in the UK... do I just ask/search cast acrylic ?

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25-06-2016, 09:01 AM
Hey, now we have Britian Back and our Fishing waters will the price of Fish n Chips come down.?
I wouldn't be that sure that we "have Britain back".
I would think it's more a case of we flunked the first test!
Question is when will we be made to resit the test or how else will they weasel out of the majority vote? Mark my words.

25-06-2016, 07:07 PM
Hey, now we have Britian Back and our Fishing waters will the price of Fish n Chips come down.?

Not unless we borrow some Gun Boats from Iceland ;-)

25-06-2016, 07:11 PM
do I just ask/search cast acrylic ?

Yes, and then talk to prospective suppliers, I use Direct Plastics for Nylon Sheet and Nylon Rod and their people are very helpful and very pleasantly BS-Lite, it might be worth looking at their web site or giving them a call and asking if they stock what you need.