What's The Difference Between Cast and Extruded Acrylic Sheets?

Posted in: This & That

Cast vs extruded acrylic sheets. What is better for your upcoming project? Here is a guide to help you decide which is the best one for your project.

Cast Acrylic is created when the acrylic liquid is pumped in between a mold of two pieces of glass and submerged in warm water.

extruded vs cast acrylic

This manufacturing method allows for smaller batches than the extruded material. Therefore, most of the colored or textured acrylic that you see is probably cast acrylic. When comparing cast and extruded acrylic, cast acrylic is usually deemed the higher quality of the two even though they both have benefits over the other. Here are some benefits of cast over extruded acrylic sheets:

  • More scratch resistant
  • Higher chemical resistance
  • Cleaner edge after being cut or CNC machined (less time polishing)
  • Can be produced in many different colors and thicknesses

Extruded Acrylic is created when the acrylic liquid is pushed through a form. The direction in which it is extruded can later affect fabrication.

  • More cost effective
  • Easier to flame polish
  • Lower thickness tolerance
cast acrylic vs extruded acrylic

In general, cast acrylic is recommended for fabrication projects. The uniformity of the sheet creates a better end result with CNC machining, polishing, and gluing. If you are using the material with limited fabrication involved, like windows, extruded acrylic is a great option. It is more cost effective than cast acrylic and still has better clarity than glass. Here is a side by side comparison:

Scratch ResistanceMore scratch resistantLess scratch resistant
Flame PolishingMore difficult to flame polish, but the cutting edge is usually cleaner which can help reduce time polishing.Easier to flame polish
ColorsCan be produced in many different colors and thicknessesMore limited color selection than cast.
Thickness Tolerance+/- 15%+/- 10%
Heat BendingMore difficult to bend or shapeEasier to bend or shape, but it will behave differently depending on the bending direction and the direction of the extrusion.
CuttingCleaner edgeEdge is not as clean, and edges can look different depending on the direction of the extrusion.
 Melting pointHigher melting pointLower melting point
CostMore expensive than extrudedMore cost effective

Which is better cast or extruded acrylic?

Determining whether cast or extruded acrylic is better depends on the specific requirements and preferences of your project. Here are some key points to consider:

Cast Acrylic

Cast Acrylic:

  • Higher optical clarity and transparency
  • Greater dimensional stability and resistance to warping
  • Better impact resistance, less prone to shattering
  • Superior surface finish and polish
  • Offers a wider range of thickness options
  • Typically more expensive than extruded acrylic

Extruded Acrylic:

  • Lower cost compared to cast acrylic
  • Good dimensional stability, less susceptible to expansion and contraction
  • Excellent weatherability, suitable for outdoor applications
  • Available in a variety of colors and finishes
  • Can be easier to fabricate and process
  • Generally has lower optical clarity compared to cast acrylic
Extruded Acrylic

Ultimately, the choice between cast and extruded acrylic depends on your specific needs, budget, and desired properties for your project.

Paper vs Plastic Film

Paper vs plastic film? Every sheet of acrylic comes with a protective film or paper covering it, and depending on your project, one option can be preferable over the other. Our fabrication department and customers prefer paper backing with CNC machining or fabricating acrylic. The paper gives you the option to peel it back a few inches or remove the paper from different sections that you are working on while leaving the rest of the material protected against damage. If you are CNC machining, paper is a necessity as film can become caught on the CNC machine and cause damage.

Here is a prime example of our fabrication department removing or peeling back the paper from areas they are flame polishing. The rest of the material stays covered and protected from damage.

Anyone that has ever had to peel the paper off several sheets of acrylic can attest to how much time it can take. Removing film is much easier and less time-consuming. This makes it a better option for people handling a large number of acrylic sheets that will be installed with minimal fabrication.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is cheaper, cast or extruded acrylic?

How to tell the difference between cast acrylic and extruded acrylic?

Which is better cast or extruded acrylic?

How strong is cast acrylic?

What are the benefits of cast acrylic?

What are the benefits of extruded acrylic?

Trust Regal Plastics With Your Acrylic Needs

Do you have an upcoming acrylic project or have plastics questions? Reach out to one of our sales representatives or technical specialists. We will gladly answer any of your questions so you can be confident you get the right plastic for your project. From bullet resistant acrylic to acrylic mirror sheets and decorative acrylic sheets we have it all.

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