Acrylic or Polycarbonate

Just wanted to canvas some opinions on the types of clear protective cover that people use on their custom sticks.

I am swinging between clear acrylic and clear polycarbonate sheets for the top of my stick but cannot find a good comparison between the two when used in this type of work.

Has anybody got any opinions about either acrylic or polycarbonate?

Lexan (polycarbo) is most popular because you can work with it like it’s a piece of wood. It scratches a little more easily than plexi/acrylic but it’s nothing brutal. It looks just as nice, is more than durable enough for its purpose, and is a hundred times easier to work with.

Super hotness builders use plexi. I don’t know how they can cut it consistently without cracking sheets. They must have space laser machines or something.

I found the most effective way of trimming up plexi is to use a router. If set properly, you get perfectly straight edges and no cracking!

Hmmm… so polycarb may be the way to get if I need to cut my own sheets down to size huh?

I have a batch of acrylic sheets coming from a local company who kindly offered to cut them down to size for me, however I am wondering if cutting holes for the buttons using a hole saw will be easier with polycarb?

I suppose the best way is to try both and see for myself eh?

Cheers guys.

If you use polycarb, make sure it is UV resistant. It tends to go yellow with exposure over time.

Somewhat on the same note, if I were to build an arcade cabinet out of some type of plastic based material which would be the best/ strongest to use?

-Tha Hindu

Lexan will always be the strongest. It is used for bullet proof glass.

I just built a stick using plexi (acrylic). The shop did the main cuts, but as far as the button holes I didn’t have any problems when I used my spade bit on 1/8" plexi. For a control panel cover, it doesn’t need to be any thicker than that and the thinner it is the cheaper it will be.

I left the protective cover on the plexi and then clamped it to a piece of spare wood. This way, the spade bit always has something to guide it. I ran the spade bit on one side to heavily score the hole. Then I flipped the plexi, reclamped and did it from the opposite side to finish the hole. No cracks or chips.

Don’t go too fast, and remove buildup around the drill bit often. Also, I recommend buying an extra spare small sheet so you can do a couple test holes.