Workers mix liquid ingredients in glass moulds to produce cast acrylic sheets. This is a labour-intensive process. As a result, it will be more expensive too. The process of casting yields acrylic sheets that are harder, sturdier and more homogenous. Casting offers greater levels of chemical resistance as well. This is why producers of fragrances, lotions and other solvents prefer using cast acrylic sheets in their facilities. Cast acrylic typically comes in a wide range of custom and standard colours. It is more pliable than extruded acrylic. In addition, it is less likely to melt, chip or bend during milling.
Plastic fabricators in Sydney and other places manufacture extruded acrylic by heating acrylic monomers. Thereafter, they feed the monomers through barrels for the chemical reaction to take place. Unlike cast acrylic, extruded acrylic will be heterogeneous in nature. Its properties will vary based on the direction of the extrusion. Extruded acrylic sheets will be relatively cheaper than cast acrylic sheets. In addition, they will be more dimensionally stable as well. This means that the thickness of extruded acrylic sheets will be more consistent across multiple sheets.
Extruded acrylic sheets will be softer than their cast acrylic counterparts. Moreover, extruded sheets will have lower melting temperatures than cast acrylic sheets. This means that workers will be able to rout and laser cut extruded acrylic more easily than cast acrylic. Polishing extruded acrylic is easier as well. It is worth highlighting that extruded acrylic is less susceptible to dirt or particulate contamination in the production process. And, it is also better suited to cementing and thermoforming. This is especially so by virtue of its lower melting point.
Cast acrylic sheets come in a greater range of thicknesses. They are lightweight and rigid. They feature low water absorption properties. In addition, they offer high levels of resistance to ultraviolet radiation and electricity. Besides this, they possess superb optical properties as well. And, if you want your products to offer superlative levels of resistance to prolonged exposure to sunlight and weathering, you will want to use cast acrylic sheets.
Like cast acrylic sheets, extruded acrylic sheets possess excellent optical properties. They offer good electrical and ultraviolet radiation resistance too. These thermoformable sheets offer higher levels of impact resistance as opposed to glass. More importantly, these sheets are significantly cheaper as compared to their cast acrylic counterparts.
Acrylic fabrication companies often use Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) routing and machining tools for producing various objects. These CNC routing and machining tools can work equally well on both cast and extruded acrylic sheets in many cases. However, differences exist between the two types of acrylic sheets. These differences often end up dictating the choice of sheets used in various projects. Oftentimes, this decision will depend on the client’s requirements and specifications.