How To Measure Plastic Properly

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polycarbonate sheets

As with any material, you’ll need to be able to measure your polycarbonate sheets and acrylic (perspex) sheets accurately in order to get the most out of them. However, once you obtain your plastic sheet, it might not be obvious to you how to proceed in order to ensure that you receive enough parts for your needs.

Obviously, the more precise your measurements are, the cleaner and more accurate will be your cuts, and the cleaner and more accurate will be the joins between panels or plastic sheets and adjacent walls or other components.

Working With Large Scale Installations

When laying plastic sheets over existing walls in a protective or decorative manner, or over and between existing walls for protective, aesthetic, or structural reasons, you’ll typically want to start with the largest piece. That would be someone who needs to fit between two separate walls.

When measuring this sheet, leave a 2 to 3 mm gap on each side for a good but comfortable fit. The adjacent sheets will effectively cover the space when they’re in place.

Allow a bit of space between the sheets when connecting them in a corner to ensure that the adjoining sheet can mate properly.

If the area where the sheets will be installed is not perfectly square, make sure you get accurate measurements of it and then draw them out carefully on the sheet to be cut.

How To Accurately Measure For Tap Holes

Tap holes are measured to the centre of the hole, not the perimeter. To calculate the correct diameter in the proper location, you then measure outward from the centre.

Methods To Mark Measurements

After you’ve measured the frame, you’ll need to designate the cutting or drilling location with absolute precision to ensure secure connections, airtight seals, and structural integrity. Acrylic, such as Perspex and polycarbonate sheets can be marked in a variety of ways, some low-tech and others high-tech.

Using a magic marker

The most popular and traditional technique for marking measurements on an acrylic or polycarbonate plastic sheet is to use a straight edge and magic marker. While this approach is quite reliable, the marker line width may not be precise enough for some projects. However, thanks to its widespread usage, it has proven to be very successful in many applications.

Using a razor knife

Some people prefer to use a razor knife rather than a magic marker in order to achieve a high degree of accuracy while also providing a line for the cutting tool to follow. The cutting line is etched into the sheet with pinpoint precision using this method. The advantages, on the other side, are that you can cut anything from tough cardboard to very thin materials with this knife. The disadvantage is that if you use it to indicate the cut line while cutting, you’ll get a scratch that you won’t be able to fix. This technique necessitates a steady hand, a solid surface, and a lot of patience.

Using a laser

Over the last several years, laser cutters have been used more and more frequently to guarantee absolute precision in measurements and cutting lines. A fibre laser, for example, allows you to cut a wide range of commercial polymers including acrylic and polycarbonate sheets. Typically, however, laser surgery is used for regular measurements and cuts necessary for large batch purchases rather than individual uses.