Plexiglass Help/Question

I’ve recently taken on a project for the summer:

I’ll be converting an old PowerMac G4 Cube (shell, no working parts) into an aquarium for college (I currently have the names Steve, John, Gil, and Lisa picked out for obvious reasons, but I digress.)

I’m looking to purchase a 1/4" thick 9 x 9 inch (or so) piece of plexiglass, clear. I was wondering where I should buy it, either online or at a store. As I’m going to be making an investment here, I was wondering if there should be a way I should handle it or cut it. I’m going to use a Dremel to cut the edges and it down to size.

Thanks guys.

It looks like you’re using it for the bottom of the tank, right?

If so, you might want to just use a belt sander to make the rounded corners—you’ll get a cleaner finish than with a Dremel, because you’ll be removing material as it heats up, as opposed to just melting it due to all the friction from using the slitting wheel on the Dremel. If you can’t get it cut precisely to the size you need, get something oversized, and then score and break it, rather than trying to cut material off with the Dremel, in a long pass. Or put it on a table saw. In general, trying to cut a straight line with a Dremel is an exercise in frustration, and won’t likely be pretty.

By the way, acrylic can be laser-cut…if you know of any place that can do it, you might be able to convince them to do it cheaply.

Thanks Tristan.

I’m looking into other options besides the Dremel, the reason why I brought it up was because the guy who created the page used one. I don’t know if I can get a hold of a table saw (I’ll ask my dad) or a laser cutter (again, Dad!) but I’ll see what I can do. Yes, it’s for the bottom of the tank.

Now that I think of it, the table saw might create some problems, if you don’t have just the right blade, and a solid method to hold down the workpiece. Acrylic can shatter easily, and using a common saw blade probably won’t work too well. Polycarbonate, on the other hand, cuts nicely.

You could also use a band saw or a jigsaw (orbital saw). The jigsaw will work, but the trick is to use the finest tooth blade and sandwich the plastic between scrap pieces of plywood to keep the Plexiglas from chattering and cracking. Then take your time to cut slowly and at a steady pace until completed. This is how I cut Plexiglas acrylic sheets in the shop. :wink:
As always, try this method or any method on a scrap piece of plastic to see if it works.

Just an update, I got the cube and pexliglass (thanks to Don Rotolo!) and I’m going to start the project soon. Here’s a pic of the cube…

More updates later.


It’s inplace!

I used a jiggsaw and my dad to help with the cutting. After that I used the file Dan provided to even it out, then sanded it down till it fit.

The top and inside the sides are somewhat scratched, but I’m going to remove them with some Wet/Dry paper at different gradients, then use some Brasso and silver polish to put it back good as new.

It’s also sealed, and I went a different way of mounting it. This time instead of nails, I used a small shelf type system, which adds a slightly more futureistic look to the cube because of it’s metal grounds that hold it to the cube.

Pictures here.

Cool! I like it!

Very cool, good work!

It’s all done.

I double sealed it and did an overnight water test. No leaks! I bought some fish stuff (plants, rock, food, net) and let that sit with the water and added the special stuff to the water, then got the fish today and added him. As promised, pics!
wide shot
focus on apple logo

I’m also going to add instructions on how to recreate this on my website under the projects tab.

This looks great Joe. It’s going to be a hit at college.
Way to go!

I’ve gotta say, that’s freakin awesome. You should add some (insert favorite color here) LED’s into the bottom of the sides so you can also make it a glowing lamp at night time.