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Cleaning and Polishing Plastics

Dynalab Corp custom plastic fabrication department machines products for use in laboratories, industry, education and even the home. The cleaning and care of plastics is serious business in our Fabrication shop since customers expect to receive their projects clean of any finger prints and scratches.

As illustrated below, just spray a foaming plastic cleaner and wipe clean. Then polish plastic with a clean, dry cloth.  Safe on all plastics and cleans without leaving film or residue. Slide FOAMACTION(TM) Plastic Cleaner is ideal for cleaning plastic parts, and helps remove mold releases prior to secondary operations.

Cleaning of Acrylic with Foaming Spray

Polishing Plastics

Bernz-O-Matic torch
Flame, buff, solvent, and diamond polishers, are some types. Extruded Acrylic flame polishes beautifully. A Bernz-O-Matic torch works well, and for a professional finish a hydrogen/oxygen torch is preferred. The hydrox flame is wet and doesn't allow oxidation.

• Cast acrylic needs to be buff polished with a soft cotton wheel and a good compound.
• PVC buffs well with a soft compound.
• Polycarbonate is a good candidate for solvent polishing. Solvent polishing is accomplished by exposing an edge to the solvents' vapors or actually wiping a solvent soaked rag along an edge.

Diamond polishing is a mechanical operation in which a diamond chip attached to a wheel is spun at a very high RPM and run along an edge. Whichever method is employed you should definitely try it on some scrap first.
  Slide Plastic Cleaner with Foamaction No. 41515

A plastic cleaner such as SLIDE Plastic Cleaner foaming spray effectively removes oil and dirt marks from all plastics, even sensitive polycarbonate.

Flame Polish AcrylicAcrylic is being flame polished above by melting the surface to create surface tension. This smooths the acrylic surface.

Operator skill is critical with this method. When executed properly flame plastic polishing produces the clearest finish. This is especially true when polishing acrylic.

Buff Polish AcrylicBuff Polishing Acrylic is also an effective finish for clarity. First you need to prepare the edge by sanding all of the saw marks from the surface of the edge.

NOVUS 2 Plastic Fine Scratch Remover

Scratches in many other plastics can be removed with a liquid scratch remover such as Novus® #2.

Chemical Effects on Plastics: (Always check compatibility first.)
Chemicals can affect the strength, flexibility, appearance, dimensions and weight of plastics depending on the length of exposure, the temperature and the concentration:

  Particular care should be taken to avoid the use of strong alkali cleaners with some plastics. In the case of stains, oils, greases or other agents which cannot be removed by conventional washing you can adopt the following measures with care:
Certain chemicals, i.e. detergents, lubricants, oils, aocohols and organic solvents in the presence of tensile stress can lead to cracking. Prolonged exposure to strong oxidizing agents can also lead to embrittlement and failure.

Never place plastic labware in direct contact with a flame or directly onto a hotplate surface.

Generally, you can clean most plastic labware with laboratory detergent and rinse with distilled water. Avoid using scourers or abrasive cleaners that scratch plastic.
  Some plastics will allow for soaking in chromic acid solution to loosen organic materials.

Bleaches (such as sodium hypochlorite if used at 20°C to 25°C) will also assist in the cleaning of organically stained plastic labware. Not suitable for use with polycarbonate.

Methylene chloride and acetone will help remove oils, however exposure to such organic solvents can cause swelling of certain plastics.