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Acrylic First Surface Mirror

Reflectivity

Approximately 94% over the visible light spectrum.

Lightweight

Acrylic is less than half the weight of glass:

1/8″ (3mm) thickness: 1.0 lb / sq ft
1/4″ (6mm) thickness: 2.0 lb / sq ft

Break Resistance

Can be ten times more break resistant and has seventeen times greater impact resistance than glass of equal thickness.

Heat

Will tolerate continuous service up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and can withstand occasional short-term exposure up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Easy Fabrication

Various shapes and sizes can be obtained by cutting with conventional power saws and routers, using the proper blades and cutters. Mirrored acrylic can be cold bent for curved shapes or strip heated for a sharp bend. State-of-the-art laser systems can produce accurate, complex designs.

Quality

Highly reflective surfaces for use in display, decoration, or other mirror applications.

Handling

Vertical Storage

If the mirrored sheets are to be stored on end, care must be taken to avoid warping. Sheets must stand with an angle of no more than 10 degrees from the vertical. A-frame racks made of plywood can be made to give full support to the materials.

Horizontal Storage

if the acrylic mirror is to be stored flat, care must be taken to avoid warping, slipping and scratching. If different sizes are to be stored together, make sure the largest pieces are at the bottom, the smallest on top. This will prevent overhang with can lead to warping and slipping during movement. Preventing chips or dirt from settling between the sheets will reduce the risk of scratching if a slip occurs, or while unpacking. Pallets are packaged with a heavy poly overwrap which protects the sheet from dirt and moisture. The overwrap should be intact during storage.

Maintenance

Masking

Each mirrored product is well protected by a durable paint backing and a removable masking on the front. This masking should remain in place to protect the sheets during all phases of fabrication and installation. Care should be taken not to slide sheets against each other.

Removing Masking

If there is difficulty in removing the masking, use aliphatic naptha, kerosene, or distilled alcohol to moisten the adhesive. Do not use other chemicals or sharp objects to remove the masking.

Cleaning

Washing

Use a mild soap and a damp soft cloth to wipe the surface of the sheet with light pressure, avoiding the edges of the sheet. To remove grease, oil, or tar deposits on the material, use hexane or kerosene to remove them. Do not use any chemicals on a painted print design. Do not use window cleaning sprays, kitchen scouring compounds, or other chemicals to clean mirrorized sheets.

Polishing

A surface glass can be maintained by occasionally using a flannel cloth and good plastic cleanser or polish, such as Johnson’s Pledge.

Removing Scratches

Fine scratches can be removed by hand polishing with a plastic scratch remover or compound cleaner. Remove all residue and polish with a flannel cloth. Deep scratches need to be lightly sanded, using a 400 grit “wet or dry” sandpaper.

Cutting

Scribing and Breaking

This method is used to achieve a quick, straight line cut of single sheets of acrylic mirror less than 3mm thick. Mark the line to be scored on the mirror with a commercial scriber. Firmly place a straight edge along the line and use it as a guideline for the scriber or knife. Scribe the mirror along the line using several firm, evenly pressured strokes. Then, overhand the end of the mirror off the work table. Break the mirror with sharp downward pressure.

Circular Table and Panel Saw Cutting

These saws are used to achieve a precise, straight line cut of one or more sheets of mirror. Because vibration is minimal, this method of cutting is recommended. The best way to avoid vibration and unwanted runout is to install a stiffener 1/2 to 2/3 the saw blade diameter and mount it against the outside of the blade. To prevent back cutting, the saw arbor, the saw table and the table fence must be properly aligned. Also, the throat plate (table kerf) must be kept to a minimum. A 10″, 80 tooth carbide tipped blade is recommended for all-purpose cutting. The blade’s teeth should be triple-chip design, where every other tooth has a beveled cutting edge to help clear away saw chips. For best results, the teeth should have a clearance angle of 10 to 15″. Material should be cut with masked side down. Any paper interleaf should be kept intact between sheets to protect paint back coat during cutting. Use enough power to make the needed cuts, using a smooth and even feed rate. Uneven feed rates may produce gumming or chipping of the mirror.

Saber Saw Cutting

Saber saws are generally used for cuts involving a frequent change in direction. Maintaining adequate support is important to prevent vibration which may cause chipping. To achieve this, clamp a straight board on the sheet near the cutting line. This may also be used as a saw guide. Set the saw to full speed before cutting the mirror. Without feeding too fast, press the saw shoe firmly against the mirror while cutting. Blades for saber saws should have at least 14 teeth per inch.

Jig Saw Cutting

Jig saws should be used primarily for inside cuts and intricate letters. Since the stroke is short, the blade heats up quickly and tends to soften and fuse the mirror. To avoid this, use a fast and steady feed rate. Blades for jig saws should have at least 14 teeth per inch.

Band Saw Cutting

Band saws are used for cutting curved sections or trimming thermoformed parts. Blades for band saws should have at least 10 teeth per inch.

Laser Cutting

Lasers may e used to cut virtually any image on a mirror with minimal material waste. The carbon dioxide laser operates by focusing a large amount of energy on a small defined area and melting and vaporizing the material. It produces a clean, polished edge without any saw chips. An average of 200 inches per minute may be accomplished by using about 200 watts from a 1200 watt laser. Annealing the sheet is recommended after cutting, especially when cementing is anticipated. Caution: lasers can create stresses along cut areas. Be sure to use a test piece before fabrication.

Edge and Surface Finishing

Polishing

A polished edge is the best possible finished edge, but requires the most preparation. Prior sanding is necessary if the edge is shaped from a saw-ct, sanding is not necessary when there is a well milled edge. A jointer, shaper, or hand-scraped edge can be used in place of sanding. A stationary polishing head produces the best polished surface. Bleached muslin wheels with a diameter f 8″ to 14″ with bias strips is recommended. This gives the buffing wheel a pleated appearance, and runs cooler than a stitched buffing wheel design and will also do a fast job.

Chemical Resistance

Known Chemicals that Attack Mirrored Acrylic

  • Benzene
  • Lacquer Thinners
  • Esters
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Toluene
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Ketones
  • Methyl Alcohol
  • Ethers

Weather Resistance

Are they recommended for outside use?

Acrylic mirror products are not recommended for exterior use. If used outside, seal perimeter with silicon sealant to keep moisture out and protect mirror paint backing. Salt spray can also begin to degrade mirror.

Cementing

How to I affix my mirror to another surface?

We recommend Mastic glue. Check out this youtube video to handle the job in as little as a few minutes!

Disclaimers

Some adhesives may contain solvents such as toluene, ketones and hexane that can attack the backcoat. Adhesives with solvents of 5% or more are not recommended. Since numerous adhesives, cements, and mastics are available, they should be tested on expendable pieces prior to application. All test should be applied at least 72 hours in advance to determine compatibility to the backcoat, the reflective coating and the acrylic itself.

Mirror Bending

Steps for Bending an Acrylic Mirror

Line or strip bending is best accomplished by applying an intense narrow band of heat approximately 3mm away from the mirror substrate. 1.15 nichrome resistance wire is a commonly used heating element.

  1. Place the mirror face toward the heating element. Do not attempt to heat the paint side. Doing so will prolong heating times and cause blushing, a dulling of the mirrors reflective finish.
  2. Adjust your power source so that the wire becomes a medium to bright red color.
  3. Peel all masking several inches away from the bend area. Masking left in place, either poly or paper, will increase heating time and yield poor results.
  4. Acrylic will become bendable at 143 degrees Celsius to 163 degrees Celsius. Bending should be done at the coldest possible temperature requiring gentle force to make the bend. 3mm mirror should become pliable enough to bend within 20 to 25 seconds.
  5. Timing is critical. Under heating will cause warp-age along the bend line and undue stress which may lead to cracking. Overheating will cause blushing.
  6. Cooling should be done as quickly as possible by air circulation.

Flammability Information

Precautions

Acrylic mirrored sheet is a combustible thermoplastic. Precautions normally used to protect wood and other combustibles from flame and high heat, should be observed with this material. It is recommended that appropriate building codes be followed to ensure proper and safe use. Notice: Careless handling of the product can result in injury. The same precautions should be exercised when using acrylic mirror that are taken when fabricating glass, plastic, or wood to prevent accident or ingestion.

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