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View Full Version : Isn't there anywhere to buy acrylic with UV protection for less?



Corran
1-Mar-2012, 13:36
Well I got good news last week, I will be the featured artist for a local gallery this month. I'm finishing up some framing and getting all my stuff ready.

I've been searching for low-price frames and glass/acrylic. I am looking at americanframe and similar websites. At the 11x14 size, acrylic plexiglass is like $12 a sheet! What's with this, that seems kind of ridiculous to me. Isn't there somewhere where I can get a bulk rate for like 20 sheets at $5 each or so? I know it's treated and whatnot but it's still just acrylic, I can get UV glass at a local glass shop for less than that.

Leigh
1-Mar-2012, 17:03
Since you don't give a thickness it's impossible to answer the question.

Try McMaster-Carr at www.mcmaster.com

Enter acrylic in the search box at upper left then click on UV-resistant. They probably don't have the sizes you want.

Also try Precision Plastics in Beltsville Maryland. They have quite a large stock of stuff.
I've done business with them for years. They'll cut any size you want from large stock sheets.

- Leigh

vinny
1-Mar-2012, 17:10
glass breaks, that's why it's cheap.
"it's impossible"
I don't have an answer (I use americanframe for most stuff) but I'm pretty sure someone anyone who sells acrylic can get it in any thickness you'd need for a picture frame.

Corran
1-Mar-2012, 21:24
Thickness doesn't matter to me...anything around 3/16 is fine. I'll check out your suggestions Leigh.

Regarding sizes, what kind of tool would easily cut this stuff? If I need to get large sheets and cut them down that's fine, if it's doable in a small apartment.

I was under the impression acrylic was cheaper than glass??

Corran
1-Mar-2012, 21:41
Well to be fair looking at McMaster-Carr I see some UV "non-glare" plexi that, cut down to 11x14 sheets, would cost less than $6 a piece. That's less than half the price from americanframe AND if I can cut it to specific sizes will save me money as well by not having to order larger sizes when I need them. If I can get them cut for me before shipping likely I'll pay a bit more but still much less than $12 a sheet. And if I skimped and got the regular UV stuff it's only $3 a sheet.

Is "TruVue" a retail moniker or a real superior piece of plexi? I'm guessing it's just a moniker for "UV resistant, non-glare plexi."

Jon Shiu
1-Mar-2012, 22:05
Don't ever use non-glare glass or plexi. The outer side is sort of frosted and makes the pictures look dull.

Jon

Roger Thoms
1-Mar-2012, 22:16
Don't ever use non-glare glass or plexi. The outer side is sort of frosted and makes the pictures look dull.

Jon

I agree whole heartedly.

Also this is a little cheaper on the acrylic and a great company to deal with. http://www.framedestination.com/acrylic/uv_filter_acrylic_1_10_inch/item/gla1p300000000/

Roger

Corran
1-Mar-2012, 22:48
Interesting. I have never really seen a discussion about non-glare; I just assumed the best route was UV + non-glare. I'm happy to NOT spend the money if it's not a good idea. I do have some non-glare glass on one piece I've framed and it does not look "dull" at all. It just looks like there is no glass whatsoever...

Thanks Roger for the link. I did actually see that site earlier while searching, and while cheaper than americanframe it is still 3x what it would cost to "cut my own" from UV plexi from McMaster-Carr. I emailed the other guys Leigh suggested to see what their price is. If pre-cut 11x14 sheets from them aren't too much more than the raw sheet price I'll get them pre-cut, otherwise I'll look into how to cut the stuff myself, unless that's unfeasible*.

*It looks like a plexi "scoring" tool would be cheap and easy to score and then snap the plexiglass. Only trouble would be finding a suitably large area to do it. If I can solve that I might be ready to roll.

Corran
2-Mar-2012, 02:23
Ah, thanks for the clarification. I will look into Tru-Vue and their various options. As much as I would like to spend $$$ on the nicest framing products on the market I simply can't. I still firmly believe there are alternatives out there with possibly a better cost to performance ratio.

vinny
2-Mar-2012, 04:34
You don't want to cut this stuff yourself. Static, cracked edges, and wasted material. When was the last time you framed with acrylic?

Corran
2-Mar-2012, 09:46
Never.

evan clarke
2-Mar-2012, 15:41
How long will these prints hang and will they be in direct sunlight? I wouldn't worry..EC

vinny
2-Mar-2012, 16:50
Just framing a print with plexi right from american frame is hard enough w/o shit clinging all over. They machine cut it and it arrives w/o dust. I roll off one side of the protective paper onto a cardboard tube or pvc pipe that way it doesn't tear and goes fast. Then I immediately stick that surface onto the mounted/matted print and hope the static hasn't pulled every air particle onto it. Then roll off the protective paper on the remaining side. I can usually do this with only one or two specs of something that got in there or were already on the matt board. with gloves on, lift a corner of the plexi and wipe away the fuzz. The more time you lift the plexi, the worse it gets. If you don't have canned air or a filtered compressor, get some. That said, I'm a perfectionist when it comes to framing my work. If there's just one fuzzy in there, I'll get it out. Oh, and don't expect to get your work back w/o some scratches in the plexi. That shit scratches just by looking at it.

How long will these prints hang and will they be in direct sunlight? I wouldn't worry..EC

jon.oman
2-Mar-2012, 17:39
Thanks for the information guys. I too was looking for this type of acrylic......

D. Bryant
3-Mar-2012, 14:13
How long will these prints hang and will they be in direct sunlight? I wouldn't worry..EC

I agree. I don't know why people fuss about all this UV protection.

Properly processed B&W prints are very unlikely to be affected. Alt process prints are also extremely durable.

Conventional type C prints will fade much more readily. I have Type R and Cibas made decades ago that haven't faded with no special protection.

But nothing lasts for ever. I have much more faith in the longevity of current color pigmented inkjet prints than I do with RA-4 or old Ektacolor prints.

My color slide film (E4) made decades ago and dark stored are all fading away slowly. Color and chromogenic negatives, color Polaroids are also fading.

For group or small individual shows I try to spend as little money as possible for framing. To that end I have tried to standardize on specific print sizes making matts and frames easily reusable.

Corran
3-Mar-2012, 15:45
Thanks for the further thoughts guys. I'm still waiting on responses from some companies about large sheets of plexi. It looks like at the most I'll spend about $4 per 11x14 sheet. Considering the americanframe stuff is $12 that's quite a savings.

cdholden
4-Mar-2012, 15:17
Just framing a print with plexi right from american frame is hard enough w/o shit clinging all over. They machine cut it and it arrives w/o dust. I roll off one side of the protective paper onto a cardboard tube or pvc pipe that way it doesn't tear and goes fast. Then I immediately stick that surface onto the mounted/matted print and hope the static hasn't pulled every air particle onto it. Then roll off the protective paper on the remaining side. I can usually do this with only one or two specs of something that got in there or were already on the matt board. with gloves on, lift a corner of the plexi and wipe away the fuzz. The more time you lift the plexi, the worse it gets. If you don't have canned air or a filtered compressor, get some. That said, I'm a perfectionist when it comes to framing my work. If there's just one fuzzy in there, I'll get it out. Oh, and don't expect to get your work back w/o some scratches in the plexi. That shit scratches just by looking at it.

I've never had my work hung for anything more than a wall in someone's home. I've only used glass. Is there some benefit to acrylic over glass? This sounds like a huge nuisance. Other than maybe less chance of breakage, why do you bother with acrylic?

ROL
5-Mar-2012, 08:32
Are you, or will you consider being, a "reseller". If so that may be your least expensive option in the long run. When I was, I got acrylic from Valley Moulding (http://www.valleymoulding.com/Contact.htm) (So Cal). Look to your own region, if so.

I concur wholeheartedly, with the comments on "non–glare" acrylic glazing. They will ruin any perceived sharpness and contrast on your finished photographs, mollifying any advantage with glossy papers. I still have an unused 40"x52" sheet of the crap.

I too, am unconcerned with UV protection where archival techniques are employed with B/W papers. Although I don't recommend it, I have prints which are exposed to direct sun for some hours every day, with no perceived fading over 20 years (mats are another issue though).

Drew Wiley
5-Mar-2012, 12:01
True plastics dealers can be found in most metropolitan areas. Otherwise you'd need to buy wholesale from a true framing dealer and not some ready-made framing distributor.
Difficult to save money unless you cut the sheets yourself, but plastics shops can give you
a volume rate to do it for you. Plexi type acrylic has several distinct advantage: it doesn't
break easily, it is clearer than glass, and its a better insulator with respect to preventing
condensation behind the glazing. Disadvantages include higher price, easy scratching, and
the need to apply anti-static liquid if you don't want it attracting dust. True anti-reflective
(optically coated) acrylic is very very expensive, but there's nothing quite like it. The amt
of UV protection afforded by any of these products, glass or acrylic, is marginal. Might help
a tiny bit, but nothing will protect color prints well under direct sunlight or hot halogens.