Here’s the long awaited post that I guess most of you have been waiting for. Hope you guys would be able to follow the guide and pull this off at home.
Phase 1 – The Frame
It is important and essential to have the right tools for the right job. Since it is a DIY panel, the tools needed are relatively easy and affordable to acquire. The first phase is to get the acrylic frame done.
(You can get the custom-sized acrylic panels from Acrylic suppliers such as DAMA or Highland Import & Export. These suppliers would be able to laser-cut the frames according to your specs as well but the prices would be quite exorbitant to begin with. And that’s probably one good reason why you are still going to read the rest of the contents on this post.)
Let’s take a look at the materials and tools needed to get this job done smoothly and as perfect as we can.
Materials & Tools required to get the frame done up.
1. 2mm or 3mm thick Acrylic Panel cut to size minus 1mm to 1.5mm on the width. (2pcs to form 1 Divider)
4. Battery or Powered Hand Drill with drill bit meant for plastics/metal
5. Mini Hacksaw with a good sized blade
Before we proceed further, just be sure you have a sturdy “work bench” for the drilling and slicing job and that it allows you to clean up easily. This is of utmost importance before you get thrown out of the house by your better half or parents for turning the house into a mill with the carpet/rug full of scraps. Also, do not remove the protective layer that comes with the acrylic throughout this phase.
Otherwise, let’s begin!
Step 1 – Setting out the Frame
Once you have gotten your sized acrylic panel from your supplier, set out the thickness of the frame that you desire. This can be in the range of 30-80mm thickness. Do not try to be too adventurous and set out a frame of 20mm all round because you would either have a very flimsy divider or being unable to put the pieces together in Phase 2.
Set out your frame thickness accordingly
Seriously, I do not think I need to elaborate too much how to mark out the lines here.
Step 2 – Perforation on the frame.
This is just the beginning of the dirty work that will follow through. Using the Hand Drill with a drill bit of good size (between 9-15mm) or a hole-saw attachment (25-50mm), perforate the inner area that we do not need. You may perforate the holes closely together or at about 50-100mm apart. These perforations will help to ease the tedious arm workout that follows on next.
Drill some holes along the marked line
For aesthetics, do note that the holes should not cross the line although touching would be ideal, you just need to be careful not to overdo it.
The 4 corners of the inner area should have perforations done as well.
**NOTE: Be careful not to crack the acrylic panel. Remove the drill bit gently with a light squeeze on the trigger so that the drill bit do not get caught in the hole.
Step 3 – Saw it off like a MAN!!
And I do not mean the ‘Schlong’ (sorry for the language used). Pump up your muscles and work those arms!! It’s time to cut along the perforated line, except that this time round, you are not doing it with a pair of scissors but a handy blade from the mini hacksaw. Remove the blade from the mini hacksaw. Wrap one end of the blade with an unwanted cloth or a page from your favourite magazine to perform as a make-shift handle. If the blade is too long and flimsy, wrap around the area where it works for you.
Insert the cutting end into any of the perforations created earlier on, start slow and steady to get a good feel on creating a perfect cut-line on the lines set out in Step 1.
Make sure the holes are big enough for the blade.
Remember, you need to create 2 identical frames so precision is critical over here. If this sounds like a game to you, the next perforation is your “rest station”. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT stop mid-way as you may face some problems starting on that same edge again. Also, try not to reverse your cutting direction in the hope that the blade will meet the same point in the previous cut. Likely, it will not be a perfect job done.
This blade is preferred but the holes need to be bigger
Step 4 – Finishing it Off.
Actually, if you had done it perfectly and nicely enough, there isn’t much to talk about here.
The frames should look like this when completed.
The KEYWORD here is PERFECTLY. It will definitely be worth the effort to be slow and steady in Step 3 so that Step 4 is just admiring the frames created by your OWN HANDS!!
But well… If that is not you, do not be disheartened. You are part of the majority. Furthermore, there will always be a solution to every problems created.
Use a flat metal file and file off those unwanted kinks. Once you have gotten rid of the kinks, you may file the entire length in long strokes from end to end to smooth it out perfectly as if they were done by a laser-cutting machine.
**Note: Just in case you need to know. To be sure you have 2 identical frames, place the 2 frames together with all edges/corners meeting at the same point, do a visual check.
1. Do the inner sides of the frames meet at the same level when the 4 external corners meet?
If the lines/sides do not meet at the same level, you may want to refine them before proceeding to Phase 2.
Then there you have it, a perfect looking frame! A job well done!!