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Fri May 15, 2020, 11:23 AM

There's a nationwide shortage of acrylic sheet, Lexan and glass

My publisher wants to reopen the reception desks of the five newspapers in our media group. To do so we need to install shields for the protection of staff and guest alike. Up he comes to the wide format shop.

“Jim, do we have any clear acrylic in stock? I need you to pull five sheets, cut them in half, print the logos of our papers on them, build wooden frames and put the acrylic in the frames.”

“No sir...all we have is Opaque white and translucent.”

(We have an HP Scitex FB750 printer. It will print on 4x8 sheet stock up to 2 inches thick, it can be loaded with white ink for printing on clear media, and before you ask yes it does come with the settings to print on plywood, doors, sheet aluminum and anything else you want to put in it.)

So off I go to call Grimco, who sells me all my sign supplies.

“Hi. I need five sheets of quarter-inch acrylic, size 48x96, delivered tomorrow morning.”

“We need that too. No one in the country has any, and we don’t know when it’s coming back. There’s no more large sheets of anything anywhere in the US. We’re even sold out of quarter-inch Lexan, which normally sells very slowly because of price.”

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Arrow 14 replies Author Time Post
Reply There's a nationwide shortage of acrylic sheet, Lexan and glass (Original post)
jmowreader May 15 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot May 15 #1
MineralMan May 15 #2
jmowreader May 15 #5
MineralMan May 15 #7
dchill May 15 #3
jmowreader May 15 #4
The Velveteen Ocelot May 15 #6
Hermit-The-Prog May 16 #12
The Velveteen Ocelot May 16 #13
OAITW r.2.0 May 15 #8
The Velveteen Ocelot May 15 #9
jmowreader May 15 #10
Hermit-The-Prog May 16 #11
Ilsa May 16 #14

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri May 15, 2020, 11:25 AM

1. Can you use glass instead?

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Fri May 15, 2020, 11:29 AM

2. Glass is very heavy, so it would have to be framed

to install as shields. It's also difficult to drill, making mounting very difficult. It would work, of course, but the clear plastics are light in weight, can be drilled, and can be mounted with lightweight materials.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Fri May 15, 2020, 11:36 AM

5. We're going to frame the plastic, if we can ever get any

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #5)

Fri May 15, 2020, 11:46 AM

7. Sure, but it can be framed with lightweight materials.

Large pieces of glass require substantial frames, especially if you use plate or tempered glass. Years ago, I built some display cases with sliding glass doors, 24"x 48" in size. I ordered them from a glass dealer in 3/16 plate glass. I had no idea how heavy they would be. I had to redesign my cases to handle their weight and buy track materials suitable for their use. I had made smaller sliding glass cabinets that used window glass, which didn't require special tracks.

Lexan or Plexiglas is a better choice for such shields - if you can get it.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Fri May 15, 2020, 11:30 AM

3. Well, they're using Saran wrap...

...at the local Ace hardware.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Fri May 15, 2020, 11:36 AM

4. It's not available either but we wouldn't

People are so pissed off now we can imagine someone punching the glass and bleeding completely out all over the front office.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #4)

Fri May 15, 2020, 11:37 AM

6. Well, there's that.

Old car windshields, maybe? They are shatter-proof.

This is all crazy.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #6)

Sat May 16, 2020, 01:32 AM

12. Windshields are safety glass -- a laminate -- not shatterproof.

Side and rear windows are tempered -- they resist breakage, but shatter into tiny pieces instead of shards when they do break.

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #12)

Sat May 16, 2020, 11:15 AM

13. Whatever works. Side and rear windows might be too small

for the OP's purposes. A windshield might be closer to the right size, and because they are laminated, if not shatterproof, they'd still be much harder for crazy people to break than ordinary window glass. Some creativity will probably be necessary. Airplane windshields would be even better.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Fri May 15, 2020, 12:11 PM

8. I am checking sources in China. Will let you know if the material is available in distribution

there.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #9)

Fri May 15, 2020, 10:35 PM

10. Among other places

Every retailer I've seen to date - grocery stores, hardware stores, etc. - has erected acrylic shields between the cashiers and patrons.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat May 16, 2020, 01:30 AM

11. Visit your local auto salvage yard. Pick out the size you need amongst the side windows.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Sat May 16, 2020, 11:24 AM

14. Wow. I bought large sheets of lexan and other clear plastic two years ago to

Protect my TVs from flying objects in my home. (My son likes to throw and break things.) I had no idea it would become so expensive and rare.

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