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Plastic sheets- where to get them, price comparisons etc.
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Argoms
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Post Plastic sheets- where to get them, price comparisons etc.  Reply with quote
Just a little compilation of online plastic (sheet) shops from an old text file along with observations/notes. Cheapest will be in bold (note- the 4mm sheets list is more or less copypasted from a personal list, there may be some errors, and I might've forgotten about VAT half the time). We might as well get a compilation of this anyway.

Recommended online sources:
Anything here has been used and confirmed good by a (reasonably) trusted member of the community.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Clear-P...&var=&hash=item4abbbdc80f †- Clear polycarbonate. Comes in small quantities so you don't have to buy loads just to make a little catch. Confirmed to be good quality by blackboarderv, and free shipping too.


ema-models.co.uk -ABS/Styrene <3mm thickness. Also the only source butyrate tubes in the UK (using imperial sizes, I'm pretty sure it's a plastruct product), also stocking ABS tube in imperial sizes. Delivery is generally quick, but prices are quite high (still, the only place to get quite a lot of materials) and american express seems to screw with their order system (use another card). Along with that stuff, they stock K&S brass, piano wire, various plastruct styrene/ABS profiles, and milliput epoxy putty.

A few other online stores:
theplasticshop.co.uk -Almost any plastic. Overpriced, apparently bad customer service
http://www.directplasticsonline.co.uk -Various uncommon (in Nerf modding/homemades) materials. No review yet
http://www.plastock.co.uk -Polycarbonate,PETG,acrylic, various others. No review yet.
www.hlnsupplies.co.uk -appears to be the cheapest source of PETG (copolyester) sheet online. No review yet.

4mm plastic sheets (prices in £/m^2): Good for getting an idea of the shop's relative prices.

HDPE: Acknowledged as the best material ever by kanethemedicore/ryan numbers. HDPE is a cheap, easy to machine material with excellent impact/tensile strength at a fraction of the cost of polycarbonate (less than half!). However, it's very soft (don't use in snap catch ramps!) and is more flexible than polycarbonate etc., so it is not suitable for all structural parts (unless you want really thick HDPE).
http://www.directplasticsonline.co.uk/HDPESheet/Natural/4mm/ £19.72/m
http://www.plastock.co.uk/Sheet/P...TURAL-SHEET-PE300-HWST-p1139.html £26.85/m


Nylon 6: Commonly used for plunger rods, but it's durable enough to use for other parts (but where we are, definitely not worth the price).
http://www.directplasticsonline.co.uk/Nylon6Sheet/Natural/4mm/ £57/m

Polycarbonate: A famous staple of absolutely freakin' everything due to high strength, good machinability, and affordability.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Clear-P...&var=&hash=item4abbbdc80f £47/m (FREE SHIPPING) (SMALL QUANTITY)
http://www.cutplasticsheeting.co....clear-polycarbonate-sheeting.html £53.1/m
http://www.plastock.co.uk/Sheet/Polycarbonate/4mm/Clear-c458/ ~£35/m (SALE)
http://www.theplasticshop.co.uk/p...4mm-5mm-6mm-8mm-thick-3096-0.html ~£67/m (incl VAT)
http://www.cabp.co.uk/acatalog/4m...-Clear-Polycarbonate-FC41075.html ~£36/m (incl VAT)
http://www.hlnsupplies.co.uk/prod...mm-thick-clear-polycarbonate-from

PETG (copolyester): In the words of captainslug, cheap polycarbonate substitute. Except here in the UK, it's not actually cheaper half the time. Here are the cheaper sources:
http://www.cutplasticsheeting.co....-sheeting/Clear-petg-plastic.html ~£30/m
http://www.plastock.co.uk/Sheet/PETG/4mm/Clear-c176/ ~£32/m (SALE)
http://www.hlnsupplies.co.uk/product/4mm-clear-petg-from ~£25.3/m

ABS: Not. Freakin'. Worth it. (NOTE: this is talking about 4mm thick. There are no stores that supply 4+mm ABS at reasonable prices as far as I know. It's a bit inconsistent with me giving a source for nylon, but as you can see, nobody's going to buy that overpriced stuff)

Notes/findings:

-Only clear sheets come with protective film layers most of the time. Opaque sheets + label templates could be irritating.

-ABS and nylon sheets are extremely fucking expensive here in the UK for some reason, far exceeding the price of polycarbonate half the time.

-PETG is meant to be a cheaper substitute for polycarbonate, yet many sites will sell it more expensive than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate should always be preferable given the same price.

-6mm is the equivalent of 1/4". In fact, some people have even found that stores sell 6mm sheet when it's actually closer to 1/4".

-Clear PVC is multiple times as expensive as polycarbonate. Go figure.

-Acrylic sheet is probably useless. Brittle, weak, annoying to work with.

-It's much cheaper to make homemade PVC sheet than buy it. But it might give you cancer. Also deadly fumes. Decisions, decisions.

-In terms of sizes, here are guidelines for common usage of sheet thicknesses:
1/8" (~3mm)- decorative purposes, non-structural parts.
1/4" (~6mm)- Structural parts, catches etc. I'd say this is the minimum size that you can drill a hole into reliably without precision tools.
1/2" (~12mm)- Overkill strength parts, †cosmetic work


Last edited by Argoms on Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:21 pm; edited 2 times in total
Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:25 pm View user's profile Send private message
UKNerfWar
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Thanks for this Argoms. Very informative and you have really done your homework. Hats off to you.

I'd prefer to see a list of the companies that you have actually used along with a review rather than a list of suppliers off the net but well done never-the-less. I think most of these materials are too large and too expensive for the majority of us. I realise that you picked a 1m sheet for the purpose of comparison but I wonder if you have come across any smaller sheets on your travels?

I use these guys for most of my material needs. They sell their materials in small sheets and they do a selection of tubes aswell. Postage is really reasonable and quick. They also have a shop in London whic I have spent hours in before now.

Also, Hobbycraft do a small selection of plastic sheets (mainly Styrene and Acrylic). Overpriced but with stores all over the place, they are really convienient.

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Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:17 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Argoms
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A lot of the shops actually stocked sizes smaller than 1x1m. Assuming you're just making a few parts (rainbow catch) instead of a whole body (apb5k, +bow, 2-11...), polycarbonate can be somewhat affordable.

I have a large sheet of 4mm polycarbonate, and a smaller one of 8mm. From my experience, 4mm is a little too thin for structural parts, and 8mm is thicker than you need. Therefore, this example's going to be for 6mm sheet, which seems to be the compromise. Also, it's using a common price of polycarbonate instead of a rare/sale one (around £55 per square meter at 4mm, £85 per square meter at 6mm... Or something.).

Cutplastichseeting.co.uk will sell almost any size of sheet. I can get an A4 sheet of 6mm †polycarbonate for £5 (+VAT/shipping).
(tell me if I got any of the next part wrong)
A4 sheets have an area of 623.7 cm^2.

A rainbow catch consists of 3 pieces (one of which doesn't need to be an impact resistant material at all, but will be made from polycarbonate anyway because that's common practice)- The 2-plate housing, and the catch plate. Using common hand tools (dremel, hand saws), you will likely need to cut 3 circles out of a plastic sheet to create the catch (a scrollsaw may lead to less used material, but not many of us have access to that sort of precision). Two for the housing, and one to be further cut up to create the catch plate.

Assuming your plunger tube has an ID of 32mm (approx 1.25 inches, +bow diameter IIRC), you will need to cut out 3 circles with a diameter of 32mm. Since most cutting methods will shave off another 2cm in my experience, the real area you tend to use (if measuring your plastic usage perfectly) needs to be ~54mm.
A 5.4x5.4cm box will have an area of 29.16 cm^2 (around 30). You need three of these, so the average +bow-sized rainbow catch will require a minimum 90 cm^2 of material. Therefore, in perfect conditions, an A4 sheet of polycarbonate will make you almost 7 rainbow catches (6 with just less than enough to make a seventh complete one, you'll end up with two extra circles). Realistically, this could end up more in the 4-5 range because of human error.

This makes a rainbow catch polycarbonate cost slightly less than £1.50 each including screws and VAT, but not including shipping or spring prices. Whether or not that's too much for you is your choice, but it seems quite reasonably priced to me. Finding a spring may be a challenge though.

___
With christmas coming up (and hopefully my game getting a sponsorship once it's done), I should be able to actually buy from at least another site or two †and can review service from there.
Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:44 pm View user's profile Send private message
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Post Reply with quote
You've certainly done some excellent research Argom. Thanks for this very helpful addition to our forum. Smile

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Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:16 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
BlackBoarderV
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For the Record , It might be cheaper to make PVC Sheet , but its not perfect , takes a while and DOESNT GIVE YOU CANCER..

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Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:12 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Argoms
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I'm going to make this a general reference thread for things I find about homemades/construction methods:

-Polycarbonate is cheaper than butyrate tube, but it doesn't have the nesting effect and is hard to find in the right sizes. plastock.com 's prices may seem high compared to butyrate, but you have to remember that you're buying around 3x as much tube per item.

-I highly recommend making your plunger diameter 25mm or 40mm, as these are the sizes that metal washers are commonly available at.

-Attaching a piece of polyethylene (chopping board) to a dremel with a screw can create a sort of "lathe" for plunger heads and the like. Just use pointy objects to chip away at the stuff. Polycarbonate's a bit too tough to do this (you could, but it'd take forever) and PVC machines this way very nicely, but there's that whole cancer issue so I'd advise against it (dust goes flying everywhere).

-If you had to get one special tool for homemades (not common items like drills or dremels), I would suggest a lathe over a scroll saw. The lathe can make you perfect plunger heads, extremely durable snap plungers, bushings, and more. Meanwhile, I haven't found many non-aesthetic uses for my scrollsaw. Pricing may be an issue though.
Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:29 am View user's profile Send private message
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Argoms wrote:
I'm going to make this a general reference thread for things I find about homemades/construction methods.


It would e better if you created a new topic for this. You're starting to move away from plastic sheets now.

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BlackBoarderV
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Sorry for the Blatant Necro, but I thought this was very worth while to post.

The cheapest place to get polycarb in smaller amounts

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Clear-P...&var=&hash=item4abbbdc80f

Free Shipping! P.S the ebay store is cheaper than their website.

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Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:32 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Argoms
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BlackBoarderV wrote:
Sorry for the Blatant Necro, but I thought this was very worth while to post.

The cheapest place to get polycarb in smaller amounts

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Clear-P...&var=&hash=item4abbbdc80f

Free Shipping! P.S the ebay store is cheaper than their website.

It's not a blatant necro- we don't even have 2 pages of homemade posts Razz

Added.
Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:02 pm View user's profile Send private message
denise123cooper
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Post Homemade blasters info Reply with quote
Thanks for sharing the information.
Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:36 am View user's profile Send private message
UKNerfWar
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EDIT

Holy Moley, the mother of all necros!

First off, welcome to the forum.

Around here we have a rule about old threads. Generally if the last post was more than two weeks old then you shouldn't reply, unless of course your post is incredibly pertinent to the discussion. That is why a warning pops up when you try to necro a topic.

If you would like to ask a similar question, start a new topic. It helps keep relevant information more accessible and invited more discussion.

Please don't do it again. Have a look at our rules in the new members forum. There aren't many but we like members to stick to them in order to make this an orderly community.

UKNW





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[quote="OldNoob:38837"]Remember if a mod guide has no performance test figures to back it up, look for a better one![/quote]
Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:57 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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