For years I've been looking for a low cost, reliable source for 1/2" thick acrylic (plastic/plexiglass/Plexiglas(R)) sheets in various colors and sizes. The only things I can find are clear/non-reflective, black/smoke, and sometimes white. I'm looking for a whole rainbow of colors (at least 6-10 distinct colors) for my Etsy store.
I've looked at TAP Plastics, eStreetPlastics.com, ePlastics.com, InterstatePlastics.com, and lots of other places, but the thickest I can find is 1/4" in the sizes I can use. Some places only sell colored 1/2" acrylic in 48" x 96" sheets, which costs several hundreds of dollars. I need pieces as small as 6" x 12", up to maybe 24" square, shipped to me.
I'm not looking for polycarbonate, vinyl, PVC, etc., since I'll be laser cutting these into checkers and backgammon pieces, with an etch on one side.
I've tried stacking multiple pieces of thinner materials on top of each other with varying success. Unfortunately, the quality I've gotten with stacking hasn't been reliable or good enough for some of my more discerning customers.
I've had better success stacking dis-similar colors than I have with the same colors, specifically because you can still (faintly) see a seam in the like colors. I can make an Othello/reversi chip that looks amazing, just not a solid color.
I have access to a 90 watt CO2 laser cutter, which should do a decent job on the edge without having to do more edge surfacing. I used a 100 watt laser to get excellent edges on this thick of material.
I've also tried dying the acrylic, with no success and no consistency. What little I've been able to do was time consuming, messy, and not at all what my customer or I wanted.
These sheets also need to be paper backed or have some sort of protecting film still attached, to prevent scratches. I will be shipping the end result to my customers. I have found that peeling the protection away before laser cutting works best on this thick of material, but I need it for scratch prevention before my use.
Does anyone know where I can find what I'm looking for? I'm willing to buy/take cut-offs/scraps from another company that uses this thick of acrylic in their manufacturing process, as long as the scraps are in decent condition.
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide! Also, let me know if this is off topic and where I can move this question to, if there's a better SO site.