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Thread: HDPE/Acrylic/Nylon/RG1000

  1. #1
    So i'm currently designing my first featherweight, and a little stuck on the right sort of material.

    Originally I was going to use Acrylic, as i thought a clear bot would be rather neat looking, and I know from experience it's rather strong at a decent thickness, however a little research showed it was quite hard to work with compared to other stuff, you can't angle grind through it without risk of shattering, drilling can chip and weaken the structure considerably, a screw being a little too tight can crack it deeply, etc.
    So I looked a littler further on the plastics website ( is what i'm using), and came across HDPE, Nylon & RG1000. HDPE & Nylon I know already are fairly common choices, although I personally don't know the strength differences between the two.
    RG1000 is entirely new to me, I don't know the ins and outs of it, and googling for it doesn't seem to bring up much.

    Price wise, lots of difference, all include VAT (all taken from the website noted above)
    1000x500(mm) RG1000 = £53 (8mm)
    1000x500(mm) Acrylic = £46 (8mm)
    1000x500(mm) Nylon = £87 (6mm) (they don't do this in 8mm)
    1000x500(mm) HDPE = £32 (8mm)
    The thickness is just a reference, I've not decided end thickness of everything yet

    Does anyone know these plastics, and the ins and outs of them compared to each other? I'd be greatly appreciative if anyone can take the time to help me worm through the plastics to find a suitable one for my need
    I might still use a tad of acrylic for the top, if it proves strong enough at a certain thickness to withstand featherweight hammers and similar
    Last edited by Redirect Left; 18th July 2017 at 19:26.

  2. #2
    Acrylic doesn't have any function in robot wars. It's as brittle as glass.
    If you want something to see trough, and up to the task, go for 6-10mm of Macrolon/Lexan/polycarbonate.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    If your 'acrylic' took a huge wallop, and you only think its acrylic as it was a clear plastic, then your probably thinking about Polycarbonate.

    Polycarbonate, or PC, is used in police riot shields, Beta (Killerhurtz) chasis, bus stops panneling, public stands, displays and more importantly, Robot wars and robot fighting arena walls.

    It takes a huge beating, and due to its properties is expensive.
    Although it can be easily cut and drilled, it is more expensive than the others.
    I bought some 4mm for an antweight arena (Swindon makerspace) and it cost £150 for some large sections, but it was only 4mm. you would need 6-8mm depending on what you are planning. - i bought this from

  5. #5
    Was the "acrylic" flat on a surface, or unsupported?

  6. #6
    RG1000 is a denser version of hdpe (in very basic terms) Machining on lathe is difficult due to its long molecular structures causing the chips to stretch as apposed to chipping off.
    When milling or cutting with a hacksaw it is comparable to hdpe.

    being denser RG1000 weighs more, but need to check.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    I've looked at that sort of stuff Maxamuslead. They don't actually give me anything of real value in the descriptions, such as real world strength compared to X, weight, etc.

    Flat surface, concrete pavement to be specific.

    If your 'acrylic' took a huge wallop, and you only think its acrylic as it was a clear plastic, then your probably thinking about Polycarbonate.
    I assumed acrylic as it was dirt cheap, £5 for a 1000/500(mm) @ 5mm thickness rectangle, which seems an impossible price for polycarbonate. Unless the person I bought it from was just as clueless over it, possible considering it was from a secondhand and overstock fair, the item wasn't labelled as any specific plastic, just a price on the tag.
    Last edited by Redirect Left; 19th July 2017 at 13:48.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Redirect Left View Post
    Flat surface, concrete pavement to be specific.
    That would spread the shock of the impact - Perspex would stand up to a few whacks with a hammer like that.

  10. #10

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