Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lucite Lux acrylic louvers allow for million dollar view in San Diego

Using 1/4" Lucite frosted green acrylic sheet, a set of custom louvers were built to shade the 1st story while allowing an ocean view from the 2nd floor.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mike Trout Saved by Plexiglass

Mike Trout likes the new Plexiglass Acrylic wall installed in Angel Stadium when diving after fly balls.

'It’s a big help to know that if you hit it, you’re not going to kill yourself,” Trout said of the new wall. “It gives. That’s the first time I’ve actually hit it in a game full speed, and it’s definitely softer. The old one had no give at all. If you hit it full speed, you’d probably jam your shoulder or get cut up.'

original article:,0,3836756.story

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rowlux® Illusion Film

Rowlux® Illusion Film is a really cool material that has been around for a long time and has been used in everything from trade show booths to artworks by Salvador Dali and Roy Lichtenstein.

Rowlux® is a multi-lensed effect lenticular plastic manufactured in vinyl, polycarbonate (stock) or cellulose propionate. Available in flexible or semi-rigid, in both sheet and roll form. Rowlux thermoplastic sheet gets its effects of motion and dimension from thousands of minute parabolic lenses molded into the surface. These lenses create shimmering patterns that can be remarkably three dimensional. It comes in a wide variety of patterns and colors, translucent and opaque. Printability is the key word for Rowlux. It can be printed with various methods including silk screening and hot-stamping. It can be applied to many substrates with a variety of adhesives.

Here are some examples:

 Trade Show Exhibit
 Red Hot Chili Peppers' Drum Set

Roy Lichtenstein, "Moonscape" 1965

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Definitely check out all the new plastic fabrication videos on the ePlastics you tube channel:

Videos include thermoforming, machine polishing, plastic welding and more.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Acrylic Use in Art

Artists often prefer the fancier sounding "Perspex" or "Lucite" brand names to describe their acrylic art materials.  Maybe this is also to avoid confusion with acrylic paint. Nevertheless, acrylic remains both a classic and contemporary material for new and established artists. Check out these great examples:

    Gray Acrylic --> Larry Bell, Untitled, 1969

    Anish Kapoor Untitled, 2008.
    Stainless steel,169 x 160,5 x 63 cm.
    Untitled, Acrylic cube, 70 x 70 x 69,5 cm.
    Photo. Fabrice Seixas. 
    Courtesy of the artist and kamel mennour, Paris.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Plexiglass smells like a dead animal?

WTH? Plexiglass smells like a dead animal?

This I have never heard of until last week when I get a call from Ralph on Long Island. He wants to purchase Plexiglas acrylic sheet BUT he heard it smells like my friend here.....

"Google it" he says.

In all the 44 years in plastics I have experienced some crazy calls.This is heresy. Plexiglas smells? Well, when you cut freshly made acrylic it DOES have a fragrance - the PMMA is kinda sweet but not like a dead animal. Or a skunk.

This is the part where I kneel down and say....  "I love the smell of PMMA in the morning.... it smells!"

And then I remembered a noxious smell from my first days on the job in 1968 - counting inventory as a 14 year old. I was told to count the celluose acetate butyrate materials. The closer I got, the more sickening the odor of something nearby. I grabbed the butyrate tubing and took a whiff. "This smells like dog poop" I exclaimed to the others. "The new guy always has to count that stuff" they said.

So it turns out that CAB (the acronym) for cellulose acetate butyrate is the Pepe LePU of the plastics industry.

I hope this officially clear the bad rep Plexiglas got on this subject....

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lucite EcoShade IR reflective acrylic sheet

Now this is WAY COOL. No puns. Lucite has a new product for use in skylights and other window glazing. I quote:


A new product, IR reflective acrylic sheet is a continuous cast acrylic sheet containing an innovative component distributed uniformly throughout the material. This aspect means that the component will not heat or form out of the material.


IR reflective acrylic sheet will effectively reduce heat transmitted through windows and skylights during the summer months. This ground-breaking technology also reduces heat lost during the winter.


IR reflective acrylic sheet also appeals to the design community because of its pleasing aesthetics. The iridescent effect compliments many modern designs from fashion to architecture. The technology in IR reflective acrylic sheet often evokes feelings associate with happiness and comfort. These calming effects are due in part to the color reaction exhibited when IR reflective acrylic sheet transforms from serene blue to glistening gold based on the angle of view and light surroundings.


Lowers energy costs
Protects furniture from fading
Iridescent color effect
Designer and architect preferred
Aesthetically appealing

Monday, January 23, 2012

Plexiglas Acrylic Mirror sheet applications

Plexiglas acrylic mirror in sheets - when to use which thickness?

This little post will save you a lot of grief and money. Plastic mirror is really a "reflective surface". It's not as rigid as glass, so it must be mounted FLAT to give a nice consistent reflective surface.

Most mirror is considered a SECOND SURFACE MIRROR. That means the FIRST surface is the front of the clear substrate, and the aluminum coating that makes the "mirror" is on the SECOND surface. So you get a little "ghosting" from the reflection off the first or front surface.

When you mount acrylic mirrors, the wall must be FLAT or the acrylic will bend to fit into the dips and bumps. From a few feet away, it's not too bad. From 10ft you look like Godzilla. From 30ft you look like - well, you're a blob in the reflection.

Now, if you take the time to prepare the wall, smoothing the bump out, you'll be much happier. You must use the thicker 1/4" thick mirror for a reasonable outcome. The thinner 1/8" acrylic mirror is great for small applications up to say 16x16, and for close use. You cannot expect 1/8" mirror to look good in a dance studio, or full length dressing mirror.

That said, the beauty of acrylic mirror is that it's 1/2 the weight of glass, and is very difficult to break. So whether it's a gym, dance studio, or mental hospital (yes, really) it's a great material for a very specific application.

The are some variations on the mirrors.. there are a range of stock color, and by special order, you can get 2-way (see-thru) mirror for interrogations, and FIRST surface mirror which ends up being a double sided mirror. There's a lot of laser-cutting of mirrors for front license plates, and even jewelry! More on 2-way or "see-through" mirrors in a later post!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Black Egg Crate Diffusers for Aquariums and Lighting

Check out this panel of black Egg Crate plastic sheet.

Made from black styrene, it has cell structures of about 1/2" x 1/2" and is 3/8" thick. People use it for a variety of applications:

  • Lighting panels in the drop-ceiling lights
  • Filters in Aquariums
  • Ice catchers in Soda Dispensers

Black Egg Crate Diffusers
Black EggCrate Diffuser panels

(it's a little bit difficult to cut, so use a sharp fine blade on your table saw)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thin Delrin acetal plastic sheet

This is an example of DELRIN acetal plastic sheet in various colors and thicknesses. You normally do not see acetal sheet or rod in anything but a natural white or colored black.

The Red is .030" thick and comes 24" wide
The Green is .025" thick and comes 12" wide
The Yellow is 0.020" thick and comes 12" wide

Great for Shim Stock, wear strips - even guitar picks!

I guess if you can think up a new application, a new color can be made as well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oldest Plastic Company in the USA? 100 years in 2014

I wonder sometimes if the ancestral beginnings of our plastics company, that being aka Ridout Plastics Company Inc, are more deeply rooted than any others. 

Ridout Plastics is a contender.... founded in 1914 as the Rench Company, and the first plastic we sold was little plastic numbers and letters that were used on grocery store shelves AND Customer Call Numbers - 1 through 50 made from .030 white vinyl. DO you remember those? That would be late teens or early 1920's most likely.

My grandfather, one of San Diego's original grocers, did business with the Rench Company. In fact, my father remembers the store - with the earliest memories from the late 20's. (My grandfather came here in 1910). 

 The little bottle to the right is from my first job in 1968 - filling methylene dichloride into bottles - acrylic solvent glue. Yuck. Note the (714) area code for downtown San Diego.

We started selling Plexiglas acrylic sheet sometime after it was invented - best I can tell. The makers of Plexiglas didn't log who sold their product until about 1970. The earliest "proven" transaction was some clear and colored acrylic sheets used in a Buck Knife handle from the early 40's. See email below...

When my dad bought the company in 1967, we were still selling the Call Numbers and shelving numbers.... and Buck Knives is STILL a customer today OVER 70 YEARS after their first purchase!

Here's where this all started:
Subject: Buck Knives

I am the historian at Buck Knives and was hoping that you would be able to help me with a project I am working on. In the 1990's you supplied us with some plastic "spacers" that we used on a special knife for members of our Buck Collectors Club. I believe you dealt with Billy Bates on this, and a few subsequent projects.

I had heard someone make the comment that Ridout is the same company that our founder Hoyt Buck bought Lucite from back in the mid to late 1940's. I know this might be a stretch but do you have anyone at your company now that might be able to verify that statement? I am trying to piece together Buck's early history with very little information. Chuck Buck helps but his memory is fading.

Is there someone at your company that I might be able to ask some historical questions?
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Joe Houser
Director of consumer Relations
Buck Collectors Club Administrator

To which we answered:

Ridout Plastics was the only plastics company in San Diego until around 1971 – so it’s not a stretch to say we sold you Lucite in the 40’s. That’s actually the oldest transaction anyone can document! Back then, we were located in Hillcrest on 4th avenue near Robinson.
Looking forward to 2014 - 100 years of selling plastics? Holy Smoke!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cool Plexiglas amber color shelf unit

This shelf unit looks like it's floating on the wall. The design hides the mounting hardware and still allows the light to come through and cast shadows on the wall below.

Very nice.