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best way to radius plastic for ramp

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by chicago_mike, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    As the title says. Is the method the same as making a wood ramp?

    I bought plastic and have various tools and even have access to a map gas torch to make the plastic edges smooth.:cool:

    But..to make the radius without major chips...whats the best tool?

    Emery paper? Finger plane? Rasp or surform?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    The best way to hand shape plastics is with files. Start with a large, sharp, coarse file to rough out the shape. Then work up to smoother files to get the coarse file marks out. Finish the surface with a hand scraper.

    A plane will work, but you have to have it set and sharpened for a very fine cut. Files are faster.

    Sanding plastic usually just makes your arms sore and the plastic gummy.
  3. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    This might be good advice for some plastics, but all plastics are not created equal and all plastics aren't worked the same way. Question for OP: What type of plastic did you get?
  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Yeah ,acrylic can be readily worked and sanded, then using a bench grinder with a buffing wheel can be polished to a diamond clear finish.
  5. Zephrant


    Dec 10, 2013
    Spokane, WA
    A good router is perfect for acrylic, followed by wet sanding (if you want it glass smooth) and buffing if you want it to be perfectly clear.

    Don't use a torch- That stresses the acrylic by having the surface heat/expand really fast. Looks good, is very quick, and turns in to micro-cracks in a few years.
  6. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Don't use blunt tools and don't work the material too fast. The surface of most plastics becomes soft if too much heat is generated by friction. Some plastics can be made shiny by finishing them with copper polish or car wax.