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.
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
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 Resistance||More scratch resistant||Less scratch resistant|
|Flame Polishing||More difficult to flame polish, but the cutting edge is usually cleaner which can help reduce time polishing.||Easier to flame polish|
|Colors||Can be produced in many different colors and thicknesses||More limited color selection than cast.|
|Thickness Tolerance||+/- 15%||+/- 10%|
|Heat Bending||More difficult to bend or shape||Easier to bend or shape, but it will behave differently depending on the bending direction and the direction of the extrusion.|
|Cutting||Cleaner edge||Edge is not as clean, and edges can look different depending on the direction of the extrusion.|
|Melting point||Higher melting point||Lower melting point|
|Cost||More expensive than extruded||More 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:
- 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
- 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
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?
Generally, extruded acrylic is considered to be cheaper than cast acrylic. The extrusion process allows for large-scale production at a lower cost compared to the labor-intensive process of casting acrylic. However, the final price can vary depending on factors such as thickness, quality, and market demand.
How to tell the difference between cast acrylic and extruded acrylic?
There are several ways to differentiate between cast acrylic and extruded acrylic. Firstly, cast acrylic typically has a higher clarity and transparency compared to extruded acrylic, which may exhibit slight variations in color and opacity. Secondly, cast acrylic has better dimensional stability, meaning it is less likely to warp or shrink when exposed to heat. Lastly, cast acrylic is often more expensive than extruded acrylic due to its manufacturing process and superior optical properties.
Which is better cast or extruded acrylic?
The choice between cast and extruded acrylic depends on the specific application and desired qualities. Cast acrylic is known for its optical clarity and superior surface finish, making it ideal for applications requiring high transparency or intricate designs. On the other hand, extruded acrylic offers better impact resistance and is more suitable for applications that require durability and strength. Consider the specific requirements of your project to determine which type of acrylic will best meet your needs.
How strong is cast acrylic?
Cast acrylic is renowned for its impressive strength and durability. It has a tensile strength of approximately 10,000 psi (pounds per square inch), making it significantly stronger than glass. Additionally, its impact resistance is about 17 times higher than that of glass, allowing it to withstand more forceful impacts without cracking or breaking. However, it is essential to consider the thickness and specific formulation of the cast acrylic, as these factors can influence its strength properties.
What are the benefits of cast acrylic?
Cast acrylic offers several notable benefits. Firstly, it has excellent optical clarity, providing a high level of transparency and light transmission. This makes it an ideal material for applications where visual aesthetics are important. Secondly, cast acrylic is highly durable and has superior impact resistance compared to glass, reducing the risk of breakage. Lastly, cast acrylic is versatile and can be easily molded, cut, and shaped into various forms, allowing for greater design flexibility in a wide range of applications.
What are the benefits of extruded acrylic?
Extruded acrylic also offers several advantages. Firstly, it tends to have a lower cost compared to cast acrylic, making it a more economical choice for certain applications. Secondly, extruded acrylic has good dimensional stability, meaning it is less likely to warp or change shape when exposed to temperature variations. Additionally, extruded acrylic is readily available in a wide range of colors and finishes, providing greater versatility in terms of design options. Lastly, extruded acrylic is known for its excellent weatherability, making it suitable for outdoor applications as it can withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight and other environmental factors without significant degradation.
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.Request a Quote Now