Plexi mirror

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Plexi mirror

Postby Xxray » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:02 am

This stuff is pretty slick and has great potential.
It is 12 x 12" plexiglass with a mirrored finish on one side. You machine it just like any other edge lit sign, with a flipped image engraved on the back so it looks correct when you are looking at it from the front.
Not entirely happy with the rough looking finish, on the small letters for example. Used a brand new Onsrud Vbit ,, Not sure why it is leaving all these artifacts. I cleaned it up best as I could, but still looks a bit shabby in places. Wish I could buff, but I don't see that happening with these small letters.
This stuff is expensive, I paid about $130 for a .20 thick 4x4 sheet. Of course, I could make that back in just 2 like this, if I could find a way to make a cleaner finish.
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby zeeway » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:08 pm

I sometimes have my machine go over lettering twice to clean up "artifacts." Would this work for you?

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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby dgoddard » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:18 pm

Try www.estreetplastics.com. Save you some $$.
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Xxray » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:19 pm

I may try that Angie. Would probably have to go a tad deeper in the 2nd pass to achieve any results, as these "artifacts" are not lose at all. I use one of those spinning tooth brushes to clean up acrylic cuts, works like a charm on anything that is lose.
I blow with high pressure are, and repeat as necessary. For little chunks locked in corners that the toothbrush won't budge, I use a little detail sander thats made for wood, but works great removing plexi artifacts in tight quarters.

I think this is actually more like smeared residue. This mirrored plexi has a grayish looking backing. This backing is etched through, leaving the design to show through on the front. You'll notice that the circles came out nice and clear ,, So it would seem that rapid X-Y movements, such as necessarily happens when doing letters, are prone to cause this.
I'm learning, this is literally my 1st cut with this stuff. I see great potential if I can improve the results. I may even try some light flame polishing, but I think that before that has any result on the lettering, it would eat through/warp the backing, which would of course show through the front and ruin the entire project.

Checked out estreetplastics, thanks for the link.
A 1/4" mirrored half sheet costs almost exactly what I paid, including shipping. Not bad, looks like a great option for those who don't have a specialty acrylic store located nearby.
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Ms Wolffie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:36 am

Xxray wrote:This stuff is pretty slick and has great potential.
It is 12 x 12" plexiglass with a mirrored finish on one side. You machine it just like any other edge lit sign, with a flipped image engraved on the back so it looks correct when you are looking at it from the front.
Not entirely happy with the rough looking finish, on the small letters for example. Used a brand new Onsrud Vbit ,, Not sure why it is leaving all these artifacts. I cleaned it up best as I could, but still looks a bit shabby in places. Wish I could buff, but I don't see that happening with these small letters.
This stuff is expensive, I paid about $130 for a .20 thick 4x4 sheet. Of course, I could make that back in just 2 like this, if I could find a way to make a cleaner finish.


I just had some test pieces given to me.
Mine is grey on one side and mirror on the other.
Which side do you carve on?
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Xxray » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:00 pm

I etch through the back [grey] side, which means you have to mirror [horizontally flip] the image in software, else it will look backwards when looking at it from the front.
The grey film is the "faux" mirror, I think you'd basically ruin the piece engraving through the plexi side. On the other hand, what you might end up with doing it that way is an edge lit plexi sign with a mirror backing. If you tried doing it that way, then of course you wouldn't flip the image. I just can't see it in my mind looking like anything but a mess though.

This stuff has got great potential ,,, I did another one, which is not appropriate to be posted here, and it came out great.
The grey backing is very, very delicate, and any unintended scratch will show through like a green thumb. I had a bit of lifting around lettering, which left it looking sloppy. To greatly reduce that, I spray a clear coat on the grey, let it dry, and this really cuts down on the lifting of the grey backing material.
When handling this stuff, be more careful with the grey side - Scratches on the plexi side can always be buffed out, but they are there to stay on the other side.

You just gave me a pretty good idea while babbling about this, I'll post back if it turns out the way I'm thinking.
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Ms Wolffie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:25 pm

Thanks Xxray

I bought some painting mask, maybe that will protect the grey side?
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ps Just checked mine, now I see why it was given to me, it is pretty scratched :cry:
Well, will do as a learning piece.
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby fretsman68 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:36 pm

Just a note on using a mask on this type of material.

It can pull the silver/gray mirror material right of the plastic. :wink:

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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Ms Wolffie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:11 pm

Back to the drawingboard then :D

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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Xxray » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:20 am

Here is my idea, came out pretty sharp.
Don't think I would have thought of this, had you not been talking about engraving the front [plexi] side.

I figured, why not spray paint the plexi side black, then whatever you engrave will stand out as mirrored - And thats exactly how it worked.
Made this for some MC club friends, they went gaga over it and want a larger one [this one is 11x11"]. Worked out great, cause their colors are black & silver anyhow. Looks good too because its got depth, and looks different from various angles. You get a full shot looking head on, then parts of it cut out of sight on an angle.

Still not happy with the excess tooling marks though, maybe I'll try a fine tipped ball nose and see if that improves it or makes it worse.
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby tonydude919 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:31 am

Xxray,

That came out great. I have a piece of mirrored plexi, might have to try one out. Thanks for posting

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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Ms Wolffie » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:31 am

I tried to spray the back with grey then chrome paint but the scratches were still very visible :cry:

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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Xxray » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:03 pm

Wolf, haven't been messing with mirrored plexi for very long, but I have yet to discover a cure for scratches in the back. I also tried painting the scratches silver, even put a strip of foil on it to see if that would blend it in. Once the back surface is disrupted with a scratch, I don't think the average person can ever get its reflectiveness back, and/or effectively hide the flaw.
I learned my lesson early when cutting strips of it on a table saw. I was thinking to be more protective of the plexi side, and cut with the grey on the table. That was a mistake, just the opposite of what should be done - And you can see a couple nasty scratches in the pic in the 1st post. Coating with some form of clear coat helps protect it, and helps prevent lifting/tearout when engraving on the back. I suppose just about any aerosol paint you have handy would serve that purpose, doesn't necessarily have to be clear.

The guy I got this sheet from is an absolute guru with all things plexi, next time I talk to him I'll sound him out and see if there is a cure for this problem.
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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Ms Wolffie » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:54 am

My way of removing scratches.
I sanded the grey backing off with 120 grit on my palm held random orbital sander, then resprayed it.
Scratches gone :D

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Re: Plexi mirror

Postby Xxray » Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:27 am

Sprayed it with what ?
Hard to believe any aerosol would be as reflective as the original coating.
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