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1961 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Russell Miller
I read somewhere about guys making buildings out of plexeglass.

What thickness are you using?

Can window holes be cut with a router?

How are they holding up to wheather
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I'm betting a router would melt it. I think one of the perks of using Plexiglas was that you didn't have to cut windows... you just build around the window opening.

I used .125" when I tried it on my hotel.
Hi JJ,

Bruce Chandler has a small article, in the prersent Garden Railways magazine; & it is also on his website as well - link http://www.jbrr.com/html/office.html.

That is for a small office and the shell is plexiglass at 1/4" thickness.
Don't know about how it is standing up to the weather but I am sure he will let you know if asked.

His windows are the plexiglass as he covers that with Magic Sculpt.

I would think that a router would be a bit fast for the material, so it could shatter or melt/crack or craze, from the hrat that would be generated.
Russ Miller needs to chime in here but I believe that plexiglass is UV stable. I know that after a long time, the windows will tend to yellow but other than that, it will work fine. You might cover it with embossed plastic sheeting, clapboard siding or outdoor house paint. Those all would provide additional protection.
I've been constructing my buildings with plexi (acrylic) for a number of years now. The material is exceptional for its durability. I usually use 1/4" for large walls and sometimes 3/16" for smaller ones to provide rigidity. I have had zero problems with warping or yellowing.

For a primer I did on constructing this type of building a couple years ago see the link below.
NOTE: I no longer use the caulk mentioned in the article to secure siding to the plexi walls. While it has done pretty well here on the north coast it does have a tendency to liquify in hot sun thus reducing its holding power. I now use Welder which is a type of contact cement that seems to secure almost everything to anything.

Also the start of the Bandon depot from last year....

Part 2...

Part 3...

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I trimmed one of my wife's sewing machine accessories with a router. I don't know if it was acrylic (Plexiglass® ) or polycarbonate (Lexan® ), but I'm guessing the former based on cost and application. I used a flush trim bit at full speed on 1/4" material. Didn't have a bit of a problem with melting, only with all the static-cling flakes it produced! Should have hooked up the shop vac to the router.

Jim McKim
I use a technique similar to Richard's.

I used 1/4" acrylic for the shell of the building. It's hard to tell that there's a 42" x 24" building here. ;)

I had the wall pieces cut by TAP Plastics, but I have also cut walls out using my variable speed table saw with a carbide blade.

I did not cut openings for the windows, but used the wall itself for glazing, and just applied windows to the wall itself. In this case, the windows were made using hardware cloth.

The clear sides were covered with Precision Products brick sheets.

The roof was also made from acrylic, but covered with non-skid material.

It's been outside since March 2007 and still looks good.

The building Peter referenced has also held up very well, though I've only had it out for one winter.

These windows were made by gluing styrene strips directly on the acrylic.

The Magic Sculpt should last longer than me... ;)
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JJ, The thickness of Acrylic to use depends on the size of the finished building. Normally I recommend using 1/4" thick, though people have used thicker and thinner. Normally, the bigger the building the thicker you want to go. Bigger buildings also should use some sort of full length internal bracing to minimize any warping caused by heat. Where you are out in the desert, I would use at least 1.5" wide strips that are glued perpendicular to the walls. Depending on how large the building is, you might need two or even three strips running the full length of the walls. You should also incorporate some sort of venting towards the top of the building to release excessive heat build up. When I was in Arizona for the National Convention, I noticed that a lot of the buildings used metal sheet for their roof. My guess is that Garden Railroaders have found that the metal holds up the best in your severe weather. The acrylic itself is highly weather resistant. It takes 17 years for any noticeable yellowing to show up and we make acrylic aquariums so you know that the water does not effect the plastic or the solvent glue used in the joints.

We cut acrylic all day long using table saws and routers. Cast acrylic sheet tends to machine better than the standard extruded acrylic sheets. Use a sharp, carbide router bit and you should have no problems routing out the windows if that is what you want to do. I like what Richard and Bruce have done and use the acrylic itself not only as the walls but also as the window.

Russ Miller
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