VAPOR POLISHING OF ACRYLIC IS NOT RECOMMENDED BY ROEHM DUE TO THE HAZARDS INVOLVED WITH THIS PROCESS. THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS ARE PROVIDED ONLY FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES. ROEHM STRONGLY RECOMMENDS USING OTHER POLISHING PROCESSES.
Before considering this process be sure to read all SDS's for the solvents to be used. Carefully consider all the hazards. Be sure adequate safety controls, ventilation and personal protective devices are provided.
For removing surface scratches, methylene chloride (listed as a potential carcinogen) or ethylene dichloride (listed as a known carcinogen) is boiled and the acrylic is suspended over the vapors for no more than three seconds. The acrylic is then allowed to dry and if desired, an air circulating oven can be used to reduce the drying time. This method of vapor polishing is effective for removing light surface scratching off the face of the sheet. Do not allow the acrylic to contact the boiling solvent and be careful when handling the part as fingerprints can be transferred to the vapor softened surface.
For edge polishing, an "Erlenmeyer" type flask with a rubber hose attached is used to hold the boiling solvent. The length of hose is critical to ensure a proper vapor pressure. If the hose is too long, the vapors will cool and condense. If the hose is too short, the vapor pressure will be too high. Some trial and error will be required to find the optimum hose length for your setup.
A preferred method of solvent polishing is to soak a cotton swab in methylene chloride and rub the edge of the acrylic. This method is less hazardous than boiling solvents and gives an excellent edge. Remember, ALWAYS perform this process in a hood or a well ventilated area and use proper personal protective equipment. Best results are achieved when either a jointed, routed or sanded edge is polished.