Thick colored acrylic?
June 26, 2012 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Where can I buy colored acrylic thicker than 1/4".

I have looked at probably 30 places online and in the los angeles area for blue colored acrylic that I can use as a 96" long desktop for my dream desk. Two filing cabinets would be the legs. Nobody seems to make colored acrylic thicker than a quarter inch which of course would buckle the moment I put a computer on it.

Looks are a concern and I'm not just going to put a board under the transparent material. Does anybody know where I can find this? 2 " thick would be ideal.
posted by JJkiss to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Perhaps change your search term from acrylic to "lucite?" A cursory search for custom lucite la brings up a bunch of places that may be able to sell you a huge clear plastic desktop.

Lucite is a lot harder than acrylic, which I suspect will scuff up really quickly - like really low-rent Chinese restaurant table clear-tops. Then again, the patina from use could be interesting.
posted by porpoise at 9:22 PM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

This place lists plexiglas acrylic sheets up to 1" thick.
posted by buggzzee23 at 9:41 PM on June 26, 2012

One other possibility would be gluing a separate piece of acrylic or having the acrylic bent so that there is a 90 degree angle at the front and/or back of the desk. Just a little overhang would create a much, much stiffer surface, creating a beam. Lots of the same principles as building a shelf out of wood.

Maybe someone like this could help you build it, or give you advice on how thick it would need to be:
posted by BleachBypass at 10:22 PM on June 26, 2012

Not sure if the material principles are the same, but found this:

Five Tips for Managing Shelf Sag

1. If shelf span is reduced by one-fifth, shelf stiffness is approximately doubled (deflection is halved)
2. If shelf span is increased by one-fourth, deflection doubles
3. If shelf span is doubled, deflection is eight times greater
4. If shelf thickness is doubled, deflection is reduced to one-eighth
5. If shelf depth is doubled, deflection is cut in half
posted by BleachBypass at 10:23 PM on June 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

The site buggzee23 listed doesn't seem to do blue acrylic in 1 or 2 inch thicknesses. I found a place with super thick acrylic (Tap Plastics) but nothing that thick in blue. A 2 x 24 x 96 sheet in clear would run about $2560 there.

You may need to get a thick clear base and use thin blue acrylic as a veneer to get the look you want. There's a place called California Acrylic that seems to do custom work--maybe they can help you or at least point you in the right direction?
posted by xyzzy at 10:34 PM on June 26, 2012

try santa monica plastics, who can probably tell you where to get it (or that it can't be got) if they can't source it.
posted by jimw at 10:36 PM on June 26, 2012

This would be hard to do perfectly, but according to Mrs. Plinth, a plastics engineer, acrylics are hygroscopic and will take on moisture. If that moisture carries a dye, it will take on the dye as well. We have dyed acrylic with RIT dye and apparently other people have too. I would suggest that you get a smaller piece of 2" clear and try dyeing it before scaling up.
posted by plinth at 5:51 AM on June 27, 2012

-Do you really want a desk 96" / eight feed wide? That's huge.
-How about laminating a few thinner sheets together? It seems counter-intuitive, but I've found that with some goods that are expensive to produce, several smaller pieces can be cheaper than one larger, equivalent piece. You could make a sandwich of blue/clear/blue to save a little money and create an interesting effect.
-Are you designing this from scratch? If not a board, would you be willing to add anything under the surface that would add rigidity to the top? Like honeycomb steel or plastic, or perforated steel?
-Tempered glass is pretty rigid for its thickness and is used in display shelving and fixtures. You might check a surplus/used retail fixtures or office furniture reseller and see if you can get a glass sheet that is the right size. If it's a finished piece, it'll almost certainly already have the edges smoothed and beveled, as a plus. Tempered glass is also rather heavy, so that could be no good.
posted by xedrik at 7:20 AM on June 27, 2012

Does it have to be acrylic? There are also a lot of resin products out there. Check out somebody like 3-form. In particular, probably, their "ready to go" items.
posted by misterbrandt at 7:56 AM on June 27, 2012

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