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.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Plexiglass sheets seal in a porch

My plastics company sells a lot of plexiglass sheets for closing in or sealing in front porch areas. About this time of year, it is popular. If done well, the front porch can be used all winter long, and then the panels can be removed for the summertime.

This owner did a fantastic job of framing and mounting the plexiglas sheet.

Monday, November 21, 2011

ePlasticsTV is now available through YouTube

Our video information is now available at www.ePlastics.TV with the central dashboard on YouTube.

We have "How to" videos, as well as educational, and informational videos to check out.

Take a look - it's like a shop tour.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Original Home Page for ePlastics from 1998

Found this relic while cleaning out some old boxes... this is the original art for the Home Page when we first launched in 1998.

I think the site has stayed true to the original vision of showing what the company does, and what the company sells, in an organized format.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Saw in Town

Sneak Peek at my new FK6 Schelling saw. This baby would make Tim Allen shake in his boots with envy. 10ft wide mouth. 10ft deep throat. 16ft front to back workspace. 5" thick capacity.

Accuracy to within .005" or better.

Bring it on!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Video Interview - ePlastics with the Plastic Genius

A little overview of the plastics business -  produced by the Yellow Pages - talking about Plexiglas, Fiberglass, and Plastic Fabrication and Machining.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carousel Gets New Acrylic Panels in Brooklyn Bridge Park

How cool is this?

Thanks to PlasticsNews for this...

An 89 year old carousel is rescued and a beautiful see-thru shelter with acrylic panels is built around it!  Some of these panels are up to 27ft tall and average about 3ft wide. The entire top is clear - you can see the bridge in the backdrop.

Full UV Blocking Plexiglas Acrylic Sheet

Factoid for the day.... this plexiglass color is 100% effective of blocking ALL Ultraviolet wavelengths - it cuts off light at the 540 wavelength.  This is great for UV curing operations - it will shield the items from the light.

Plexiglas 2422 - available at

Monday, August 8, 2011

Plexiglass vs Lexan Matchup

I don't know how many times we have been asked the question - What's better: Plexiglass or Lexan?

Depends. What's the application? Let's match up some KEY properties to see:

Plexiglass (acrylic sheet) aka Lucite, Plexiglas, Perspex, Acrylite

  • 92% light transmission - clearest plastic sheet available - about 15% cheaper than polycarbonate
  • large variety of colors available 
  • light pipes through the sheet edges
  • does not yellow or discolor in the sun - 10 year warranty regarding 2% loss max.
  • optically water clear in all thicknesses
  • inert - no outgassing
  • thermoplastic - working temp of 180F continuous
  • burns very nicely after you remove a flame source - fire rating UL94HB
  • scratches - can be restored by sanding and buffing
  • resistant to breaking - when breaks pieces are large and dull edged
  • recyclable
  • easily bonds with solvent adhesives to itself and other plastics
  • hydroscopic (will absorb a small amount of moisture on side facing moisture (warps)
  • available up to 4" thick as a monolithic cast sheet, and thicker via custom casting
Lexan (polycarbonate sheet) aka Tuffak, Makrolon

  • 88% light transmission - very clear - about 15% more expensive than Plexiglas acrylic sheet
  • limited colors available (white, black, bronze, gray, sign colors)
  • light does not pipe through sheet edges
  • untreated sheet discolors in 5-7 years of sun exposure - UV coatings available to extend 15 years
  • inert
  • optically clear - loss of some light transmission in higher thicknesses (5% in 1/2")
  • thermoplastic - working temp of 275F continuous
  • self-extinguishing fire rated 94V0 - UL rating depending on thickness
  • scratches - cannot be restored by sanding and buffing
  • resistant to breaking (virtually impossible to break)
  • recyclable
  • easily bonds with solvent adhesives to itself and other plastics
  • bullet resistant grades are available - all grades of BR levels
  • hydroscopic (will absorb a small amount of moisture on side facing moisture (warps) and therefore difficult to thermoform without pre-drying
  • available up to 1/2" thick as monolithic extruded sheet, up to 2" as a molded sheet

Plexiglas Acrylic Sheet:
Safety glazing (up to 17 times stronger than glass)
Boat windows and hatches
Machine Guards and Electrical covers
Display cases
Brochure holders
Picture Frames
Anywhere you need a clear, impact resistant, easy to cut and maintain sheet

Polycarbonate Sheet:
Safety glazing (unbreakable)
Bus Windows
Machine Guards and Viewing ports
Anywhere you need a clear, unbreakable, high working temperature, easy to cut sheet

Now you're armed and dangerous - so when you talk to your plastics professional, you can ask great questions about your needs

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plexiglass Wine Rack project

Now THIS is cool.

Our portion of this rack is the central core of clear and frost Plexiglas acrylic sheet along with the cast acrylic tubes used to hold the wine bottles.

This rack was fabricated from 1/2" thick clear acrylic sheet on the outside layer, and then the same thickness of Plexiglas Frost acrylic sheet.

Holes were routed (by hand) into the inner and outer layers to support the clear cast acrylic tubes that will hold the wine bottles. This tubing has a 3/8" thick wall.

Let's look closer at the tubing used:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cool Plexiglas Project - Ronald McDonald House Charities of KC Heart Wall


Cool Plexiglas Project - Ronald McDonald House Charities of KC Heart Wall

Hallmark decided to order some colors of Plexiglas sheet and then laser cut these shapes as part of a beautiful program in Kansas City.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Plexiglass Seats in Swimming Pool

So we got a call from somewhere in Alabama where a pool is being built... and in this pool will be "sunken" seating around a clear Plexiglas table. The seats will be plexi and lights will be placed underneath. We understand that the machined areas of these seats will have mosaic tiles place in them.

Very cool.

Here's the machining in process - these disks are about 12" in diameter and 2" thick!

Stay tuned for pictures of the actual pool later this summer....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another Price Increase for PVC, HDPE, Polypropylene, Starboard

Due to resin and chemical shortages, PVC, HDPE, Polypropylene, Cutting Boards, and PVC Foam board were hit with increase of 6-10% this week.

On July 15, all Plexiglas and acrylic sheet products will be hit with a 8% increase nationwide.

At least these materials are all made in the USA - keeping jobs here in the states.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cutting Plexiglass Makes Art

This is a quick post - sometimes you catch the shop after they have cut different colors. The layers fall to the floor under the table saw - it's random and cool. Enjoy. Looks like a dessert!

Or the simplicity of cutting 1 color of plexiglass - in this case 2793 red. When you are cutting plexiglas, it leaves a pile of chips - not dust.

They drop to the floor from the table saw, and scatter like a snowdrift from the table router.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clear Plexiglass Car up for Auction

Courtesy of

This beautiful, skeletal Pontiac was built for the GM pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. It's up for auction in Plymouth, Michigan, with an estimated sale price of $275,000 - $475,000.
As of yet, RM doesn't have any detailed information about the Pontiac, but from an article in Special Interest Autos #34, we see that GM built two - possibly three - transparent cars for the New York World's Fair of 1939-1940, one of which was a Deluxe seven-window touring sedan (B-body), the other of which was a Torpedo five-window touring sedan (C-body)...
Visitors to General Motors' "Highways and Horizons" pavilion at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair came away awed by a vision of the future. The work of renowned designer Norman Bel Geddes, GM's "Futurama" exhibit foretold the communities and transportation systems of 1960, many of which came to pass. Other peeks at the future included "Previews of Progress," inventions that seemed like magic: "Yarns made of Milk! Glass that bends! The Frig-O-Therm that cooks and freezes at the same time! The Talking Flashlight transmitting speech over a light beam!" exclaimed the exhibit's guidebook. Sharing top billing with the Futurama and Previews of Progress, however, was the "'Glass' Car - The first full-sized transparent car ever made in America."

Courtesy of

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Career in Plastics. Sure thing!

Gotta love historical pieces on the Plastics Industry.

Read and enjoy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Installing Multiwall Polycabonate on my trellis

This is a post in process. Pictures forthcoming.

This week I have a project in my OWN backyard as I will attempt to install some 6mm clear multiwall polycarbonate on a trellis structure. My wife has been asking for this for at least 2 years. I have run out of excuses.

OK - we're in San Diego. I don't have wind, hail, tornados, lightning, hurricanes, or fireflies to worry about.
Basically, sun, 8 inches of rain, bees and what ever is growing up the trellis posts.

So I picked the clear multiwall sheet as the trellis already throws enough shade. I hope I can walk on it to clean the 2nd story windows? Maybe I will make special "snowshoes" to walk on it.

I had to locate and cut square holes to allow the decorative elements to pop through. I am sure the rain will probably pour through there too. Whatever.

I just gave the drawing to the cutting room at Ridout Plastics. It was crude, but I needed to test them.

Update 6/13/11:
Well, I learned that it's a 2 person job to try to install these panels. I installed most of the panels, but need another set of hands to help engage the sheets into to U-Channels

New Plexiglass Adhesive Glue - WeldOn 5

It's baaaaaack. A medium to slow setting solvent adhesive for Plexiglas. Better strength bonds, better looking bonds, better results.

This water thin adhesive is a medium setting solvent adhesive for acrylics (Plexiglass). Will bond other plastics - ABS, styrene, butyrate to themselves. Contains Acetic Acid. For production shops only. NOT recommended for DIY.

Not for use in LA, Orange and Riverside counties in California.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Infrared and Ultraviolet Transmission in Plexiglass Acrylic and Makrolon Polycarbonate Sheet

Well, this explains everything. I finally got my hands on the charts to show UV, Visible, and IR light transmissions in Plexiglass sheet. And, I learned something new today: IR or InfraRed light varies in transmission logarithmically depending on the thickness of the Plexiglas sheet. And, it's not a smooth curve. There are areas of filtered transmission. This explains why the IR remote on my entertainment center works like a champ on the TV and DVR but sucks on the audio amplifier (which has a different IR band). (I am using frost acrylic) (update 8/11 - replaced the panels with the IRT acrylic - it's opaque black but the IR bands are all working for all the equipment!!)

Before sharing the charts, let's think about UV and IR and visible "light".
1. You cannot SEE this type of "light".
2. You can feel the IR - it warms you up.
3. You can't see or feel UV, but your skin will fry if exposed too long, and paper, artwork, fabrics, and other materials will degenerate from exposure.
4. IR is heat, and we can capture heat images in a CCD or IR film - way cool to see.
5. IR can penetrate opaque material. UV cannot.
6. Visible light transmission through clear Plexiglas is 92%. You cannot detect the 8% loss - it looks clearer than water. You lose 4% reflected off the front surface and 4% off the INSIDE of the back surface. If I put a business card at the end of a 4" thick piece of Plexi 8 ft long, you could read it perfectly.

OK - the charts - check this out!

Your UV and Visible Light chart - you can see the natural drop of UV filtering from standard Plexiglas, and then the extra filtering of the UVF and UVT grades. Plexiglas MC is your standard general purpose extruded  sheet, and Plexiglas G is cell-cast acrylic sheet. Plexiglas UF5 is the standard extruded "MC" with a UV filtering additive. UF3 is the version from "G" cell-cast acrylic.

Now the IR light transmission for CLEAR Plexiglas:

According to the makers of Plexiglas®:

Colorless Plexiglas® sheet sheet transmits most of the invisible near-infrared energy in the 700 to 2,800 nanometer region, but it also absorbs certain bands as shown. The curves for 0.118 inch and 0.944 inch thick colorless Plexiglas® sheet show that near-infrared transmittance depends on thickness, decreasing logarithmically as thickness increases.

At infrared wavelengths longer than 2,800 nanometers and as long as 25,000 nanometers, and in thicknesses greater than 0.118 inch, colorless Plexiglas® sheet is entirely opaque. At thicknesses less than 0.118 inch, Plexiglas® sheet transmits small amounts of infrared energy at certain wavelengths within this region. All standard formulations of colorless Plexiglas® sheet have the same general infrared transmittance characteristics.

Sensitive instruments confirm that weathering produces no change in the infrared transmittance characteristics of Plexiglas® sheet.

But wait, there's more! Here's the special grade of Infra-Red Transmitting sheet. It is BLACK in color, but allows the IR to transmit through. Very cool for spy related video equipment. Available in 1/8" and limited amounts of 1/16" thick.

1146 is the IRT and 199-0 is opaque black. They look identical but obviously are not....

But wait.... there's more!
Here's the chart for POLYCARBONATE sheet - known as Lexan, Tuffak, Makrolon etc.  Note that polycarbonate goes opaque in the UV spectrum and has good IR transmission.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Price Increases for Plastics - Plexiglass, Lexan, HDPE, UHMW and more

You have seen it at the pump. We see it at the plant! The price increases for plastics just keep on coming with no relief in sight. After implementing 6% price increases for acrylics (Plexiglas, Optix, Acrylite, Perspex, Lucite etc.) this month, I received a note today to prepare for a salvo of 8% increases by end of March. And more on the near horizon.

This relates to PLEXIGLASS acrylic sheets - material with a chemical name of polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA.

What the heck is going on? Worldwide supply of the base chemicals needed in the plastics industry are in SHORT SUPPLY.

The economies of China and India are fueling this DEMAND for PLASTICS and associated chemicals. The largest auto markets in the world are there. And of course, manufacturing plants that use the chemicals that produce the sheet, rod, tube and film... that are consumed in those countries!

The world economies continue to change.

Our suppliers tell us to brace for more increases throughout 2011. "Substantial increases".

Probably a good time to purchase that plastic you were budgeting since next month it's more expensive.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Candy Colored Copenhagen Pavilion Made of Reclaimed Plexiglass

This is too cool. I generate enough recycled material to make 1 of these every week.

The design for the sculpture was created by architect J.D. Messick.

Tom Fruin, a New York-based installation artist, recently traveled to Copenhagen where he built this stunning outdoor pavilion in plaza outside of the Royal Danish Library. Constructed out of hand welded angle iron and about a thousand scraps of reclaimed plexiglass, Kolonihavehus is a portable structure commissioned by CoreAct, a Copenhagen-based performance company headed by Anika Barkan and Helene Kvint.

Thank you to Bridgette Meinhold, author of this information on

Monday, January 17, 2011

How do I remove adhesive and labels from Plexiglass?


These two products do a fine job of dissolving the adhesive from labels, price tags and even paper masking paper that has dried out. Masking paper is the toughest and you have to soak the masking paper with the kerosene - it may take 15-30 minutes to get through the paper to the adhesive and loosen it. If you're lucky, the paper will peel off. If it appears you have to scrape a little, you must use a tool that is softer than the acrylic/plexiglass. That would be a plastic kitchen tool/spatula that is usually HDPE material. Don't use metal. Please.

WD-40 is great for small stickers/price tags that you need to remove. Spray a little on the tag, and in minutes you can peel off.

CLEANUP - use dish soap and water to remove the WD40 and Kerosene. Wipe with soft cloth.

Note: WD-40 was invented right here in San Diego (Water Dispersing formula #40) - a must for every tool kit.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Plastic Sheet Price Increases for 2011

The only thing about PLASTICS being made from OIL and Natural Gas is that the price of making the plastic rises and falls along with the costs of these resources.

But wait - that's not all.

Demand from India, China and other markets have put pressure on the supply chain. That means whoever wants the resins will pay dearly for the privilege of that purchase.

As of Feb 2011, we're seeing price increase os 6-7% on acrylics, polycarbonates and PETG plastic materials. We're also seeing 10% increases on polyolefins such as HDPE, LDPE, Polypropylene. This is on top of price increases in Q3 of 2010 that hit these materials as well as ABS & Styrene.

What's made from all this?
Acrylic: Plexiglas, Lucite, Optix, Acrylite (sheet, tube, medical devices, drinkware)
Polycarbonate: Lexan, Makrolon (sheet, tube, glazing, cycle windshields, drinkware)
PETG: clear plastic beverage bottles (water, 2L soda)
ABS: Auto industry, toys
Styrene: toys
HDPE: milk jugs
Polypropylene: orthotics, braces

Saving grace? The fact that these products play a part in making our lives better. Theses materials are not a "want" - they are a "need".

Mylar, strong flexible, clear polyester used in place of window glass

I get some great questions from time to time - here's a cool one to share:

Greetings and or Howdy,

I've been researching Dick Proenneke's Alaskan cabin and in his writings he says this about his window..

"Mylar, strong flexible, clear polyester used in place of window glass in the Proenneke cabin..."

My question I'm thinking would be..

a. Does that sound to you that Dick's "window" was Mylar film stretched as a window because of it's ability to withstand the extreme temperatures?

b. Have you any knowledge of a product with better performance when dealing with a temperature ranging from approximately 80 degrees F to -80 degrees F?

If you folks have something suitable, my needs only require a small amount to cover a few small window openings so in the winter I don't become a popsicle in my sleep....might scare the locals.


My answer:

Clear polyester is amazingly stable – you can buy sheets 24x48 or 48” wide roll – cut with a razor blade and staple to the frame.

I would put a panel over both sides of the window to insulate.
It does not stretch or tear.

Best question of the day award!

There you go - easy as that! search for “007 clear polyester” on the site – I would go with that thickness .

Head back to our website to order online

Friday, January 7, 2011

Homemade solar panel - use Plexiglass or Lexan?

Homemade solar panel - use Plexiglass or Lexan?

Question from reader:
I plan to use Lexan on my homemade solar panel. I intent to encapsulate the solar cells directly to the Lexan.

Will Lexan warp over time when exposed to the sun? How about other Plexiglass? Does it depend on the thickness of each?

If so, what thickness do you recommend?
The Lexan will haze unless you use a special outdoors version – like Makrolon 15 – something new on the market. Plexiglass will not change.

The question is do you need strength (Lexan) or clarity (Plex) – you can also go thinner with Lexan but it will be hard to locate anything thinner than 1/8” in Mak15. I would stay with 1/8” for Plexiglass.