I absolutely adore the meshing of different materials. Recently I've had it in mind to try laminating wood and acrylic together and then taking it to a CNC table router. This instructable is my first round test experiment. Enjoy!
Stuff you need-
- Two part epoxy for mixed media. You can do this project with different kinds of wood too, in that case wood glue works just as well with less hassle.
- Something weighty. Cinder blocks, old text books you don't mind gluing together, etc. I used a hydraulic press because I didn't have the above mentioned.
- A CNC table router or a drill and scroll saw, whichever you have access to.
- Hand files and sandpaper for making your bracelet purdy.
- Clear coat or polyurethane, also to make your bracelet purdy.
- Things to glue to other things! I used some 1/8" walnut for the top and bottom, and 1/8" acrylic scrap for my middle.
- I'd suggest some scrap wood to use to sandwich your curing epoxy mess.
Step 1: Gluing Stuff to Other Stuff!
I knew my bangle was going to be just under four inches finished so I cut my blanks to be 5 inches square- I wanted room for work holding on the CNC table router. I did an opaque red acrylic and a translucent, florescent green so I could test how they'd both look sandwiched between my walnut top and bottom.
I didn't end up having any delamination problems, but I could foresee it happening. I would suggest taking some course grit sandpaper (200-500 should be fine) to both sides of your acrylic. This'll give it some tooth for the epoxy to grip to. I plan on doing this next time.
Get your area ready. You want to work on your scrap wood with your weighty object close at hand. Once the epoxy is in-between your layers and everything is stacked you want to be able to add the weight as quick as possible to push out any bubbles before it starts to get too thick.
WEAR GLOVES when using epoxy. I did not, so I had tacky hands for a good 15 minutes after I was done with this step.
Evenly mix your epoxy 1 to 1, and spread a healthy amount on your first layer. Position your second layer and spread epoxy on top of that too. Top it with another piece of scrap wood. Apply your weighty object. Be forewarned! You will have a lot of epoxy that leaks out the sides! This is why you want to work on a scrap board. Your layers will probably move around a bit (Since my middle layer was in two parts the excess epoxy tried to push the pieces of acrylic away from each other! Rude!) Re-position your layers accordingly. Using your (gloved!) fingers to wipe away excess epoxy that's dripping down the sides. I also used a piece of cardboard, that helped a bunch. If you leave a bunch of drips, your material will probably adhere it's self to the scrap board. We want to try and avoid that if possible.
Let cure for a few hours under your weighty object. I left mine in the hydraulic press for about four hours. I then let it set for another 24 hours just to make sure it was fully dry.
Step 2: Make the Thing!
When using a CNC table router make sure your work holding is super secure! Originally I just had my blank wedged between those light colored boards. My bit tried to suck it up into the machine. Lucky for me there was no damage to my piece. The added brass screws in the corners did the trick. Honestly, just using the brass screws probably would have been better. I over-engineered to under-workhold.
If you do not have access to a table router- Trace your shape on the wood, drill a hold in middle of your bangle near your inside line, and then use a scroll saw to cut it out. It should work just as well.
Step 3: Purdy-up the Thing!
I used some basic hand files to round the corners of my bangle. You can use a dremel if you'd prefer, but I was afraid that I'd slip and gouge my piece.
500 grit sandpaper made my wood and acrylic silky smooth, and then I added a coat of polyurethane to shine it up. If you want a glassier finish you can sand it down again after it dries and then apply another coat.
Step 4: Hit the Town!
Fun Fact! Fluorescent acrylic is UV sensitive! So now you can wear it out to a rave and be the life of the party!