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andyselzn 06-24-2014 12:52 AM

polycarbonate window color, thickness, vendor?

tomorrow I will change the acrylic windows on a Bristol 24 to polycarbonate. I was wondering what the appropriate thickness is? I can simply remove the acrylic and go to the store and have them mimic it. However, an opinion or two might come in real handy.

Also, what are the pros and cons of having the windows: clear vs transparent gray?

Finally, what is a good store online that will sell the sheets cut to spec? Tap Plastics is a local store that does it and I would go there unless there is a big price differential.


CaptainForce 06-24-2014 02:25 AM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
I've gone to local vendors and used the Lexan "Copper-Bronze" at 1/4" thick. They do develop a haze after time and I find that the products sold to clear and brighten automotive headlight covers work well.

H and E 06-24-2014 07:35 AM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
I replaced mine with 1/4 inch Lexan (Dark copper color). If I had it to do over I would use 1/2 inch Plexiglas with edges beveled to 1/4 to be flush with frame. The 1/2 inch could be stepped on by guest and Plexiglas holds up better in the sun than Lexan (So I was told after using Lexan).

JimsCAL 06-24-2014 07:58 AM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
FWIW, acrylic is used to replace the lenses in hatches. While less prone to breaking, Lexan is too flexible. I would stay with acrylic if you are replacing large pieces for that reason.

CaptainForce 06-24-2014 08:23 AM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
Which product is strong enough to stand on? This is a vague statement,- 'depends upon thickness and the area the material spans.

I regularly stand on this 3/8" Lexan (polycarbonate) at 205lbs; however, I do not stand on my other 1/4" hatches. Maybe they could take it,- I just don't! The 3/8" cover on this companionway slide covers an opening that is half the size (in area) of the Lexan cover.

SHNOOL 06-24-2014 08:52 AM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
Can I sort of hijack this thread a bit, and ask if you buy acryllic or lexan, or plexi, what methods one can use to cut it? I've heard of using water, and installing a blade backward in a circular saw... Years ago I used a dremel and a reinforced cutting wheel (with dubious success, but it kind of worked, just required polishing the edges)...

3/8" lexan is some pretty stout stuff. Did you find it hard to drill through?

killarney_sailor 06-24-2014 08:55 AM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
I have used a router to cut it using the old piece of plastic as a template with the two sheets held together with double-sided tape. It is not too hard to work with normal woodworking tools.

CaptainForce 06-24-2014 03:14 PM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?

Originally Posted by SHNOOL (Post 1954762)
......................... 3/8" lexan is some pretty stout stuff. Did you find it hard to drill through?

I cut or drill polycarbonate with the protective adhesive paper coverings still on them and without difficulty. I's my understanding that Acrylic is known by several manufacturer's names like Lucite or Plexiglass and polycarbonate is known by manufacterur's names such as Lexan.

DonScribner 06-24-2014 08:53 PM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
Acrylic is harder therefore less capable of taking an impact than polycarbonate. Poly is softer, so it flexes under load and impact. Since they are both petroleum based, they are stupid expensive. 3/8 or 1/2 would probably be cost prohibitive. Working with it can be done with anything that will cut. But use a table saw with a fresh fine toothed carbide blade for best results. A router works fine but tends to heat up and fuse the scraps. If you drill, clamp a scrap of wood to the back and use a drill press if possible. The drill will probably pull and want to blow out the back. Sand the holes smooth. The scratches in the hole are what we engineering geeks call stress risers. Cracks will propagate out from them, given the chance. Some folks hit the holes with a torch to melt and fuse the scratches. I did that on the edges of mine. What size peice are you looking for?

andyselzn 06-27-2014 12:39 PM

Re: polycarbonate window thickness?
Got the polycarbonate from the local store. Had to go back a couple of times as they were making cutting errors. Question: the height and width of the windows are fine but the length is not flush to the edges. Seems a bit short but fits in the frame. Am trying to figure out if I need to go back and make a fuss and get them "exactly" to spec.

Also, is 5200 ok to use as an adhesive?


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