The quality of acrylic glazing


Grumbler in Training
Sep 30, 2003
St. Louis, MO
Does anybody out there share my impression that in the last year or so the quality of acrylic glazings (both regular clear and ultraviolet filtering) has taken a turn for the worse? There seem to be many more black specks and clear craters. Any thoughts?
Not here either. I use Cyro in FF3, OP3, P99 and OP3-P99 in .118 thickness and have no complaints at all.
Yes and No : )

Before I used plexi much, I'd go down to the hardware store and purchase a sheet. It has always been fine, but last spring, it had tiny craters on the surface. I went to three different stores and it was all this way. Next, I found a plastic supplier and bought a piece out of their “drops” bin. During “dust inspection” I counted 5 dark specs inside the material. Had to discard it. Turns out this piece was imported. Ugh!

Now I'm using the “Optix” brand from the supplier, .118 and .093. After 20+ frames I had only one piece with a speck in it.

My other experience is Cyro's Acrylite FF. Also very good. Cyro's framing grades are said to be rigorously inspected for defects.

Acrylic is like glass, you get what you pay for, in my opinion. IF you use glass out of a lumber yard or home store you will get the construction grade of glass, seeds and imperfections in it because people aren't as fussy about the glass they use in their windows as they are about other uses of glass.

Acrylic that is sold in retail outlets is much the same. It isn't used for professional purposes as much as it is used for DIY and home uses. The professional grades of acrylic are manufactured to have a minimum of flaws in it and the price reflects the quality as it does in glass.

We all have been preaching time and time again about the need to use top quality products if we are to be considered "professionals". You can't cut corners and maintain that level of finished quality no matter how much money you think you are saving nor what kind of "bargain" you think you are getting.

The same criteria applies to our supplies that applies to our equipment.

I use Cyro in all the same numbers that Larry uses, from an acrylic supplier, and I've been having some bad stuff lately, too. Perhaps a bad batch?

I agree Framerguy, the stuff in the store may be a cheap construction grade. Interestingly, it was the “Optix” brand. It used to be fine quality for framing. Now it has the craters and sometimes areas of wavy distortions. It is junk. It could have been a bad batch. 3 tries was enough for me. I have not touched it since. The good quality Optix acrylic I buy from the plastic supplier has a darker blue film mask than the retail version. Perhaps it is produced in another factory.

Betty, Sorry to here about the Cyro problems. I've always looked up to their products. Hopefully it was just a bad batch. If it was their framing grade, that is disappointing as it is supposed to be throughly inspected.

In 2004 the MMA monomer used to manufacture acrylic sheet has had numerous price increases. There is another scheduled price increase this month. The price increase is rippling down through the chain and is starting to be felt at the consumer level. I purchased 8 4x8 foot sheets last Thursday. The .118 price was the same, but the .093 material had increased as had the other thicknesses. It could be this inflation and imported material (the crap that comes from Texas ports) that is straining the US producers to cut corners. If you're experiencing a high number of defects, be sure to let the supplier and producer know!
Originally posted by B. Newman:
I use Cyro in all the same numbers that Larry uses, from an acrylic supplier, and I've been having some bad stuff lately, too. Perhaps a bad batch?
If you have defective Cyro acrylic, contact them for replacement. Cyro is serious about taking care of framers, and has what is probably the best warranty in the acrylic business.

But are you sure your supplier is sending you genuine Cyro? Check the masking for the Cyro logo on every sheet.

Cyro part numbers have become somewhat generic, and plastic suppliers have been known to substitute what they think are similar products without asking permission. There are some junk acrylic products out there, manufactured to standards much lower than Cyro's.

Now that Tru-Vue & Cyro are partnering, I'm buying all my acrylic from my regular framing suppliers. The price may be a bit higher, but delivery is free, packaging is more convenient, and they are very cooperative.
One of my suppliers switched to the acrylic that is covered with the blue opaque plastic. It is crap, to put it mildly. I do believe it isn't framing grade. They told me they had to get through the blue stuff before they go back to the Cyro. Luckily I have an LJ here that delivers the good stuff. I'll use them until the other runs out of the blue stuff......
Did it have a bunch of black and grey specks in it?

Many manufacturers use the blue poly film masking if paper was not specified.
From my experence, Cyro's Acrylite FF comes in a blue polymask. It is a lighter blue than the others, but is slightly transparent.
Plaskolite's Optix is blue with a satin like finish.
The imported stuff had a glossy blue masking.

I'd bet the supplier tried the imported stuff. Yet another industry that may fall to China. :(
I was thinking about switching to the Cyro poly film. I have not tried it yet, but supposedly, the film is 10 times easier to remove than the paper. The drawback I hear is that if it is handled a lot the film can come off before you want it to. Anyone else work with the film much?

John, not only does it have more specks in it than the other it also seems to come in scratched before I even have a chance to scratch it myself. I don't think the blue plastic film holds up to scratchng like the brown paper does. And yes, the blue peels off very nicely and from what I have seen it does peel off while it is waiting to be used.

I asked them to please protect the plexi when I ordered it last and they didn't. I have 2/3 of a sheet I need replaced. I don't recall having much more than minor problems with the brown paper covered acrylic.

Plus, apparently my supplier started using this I'm assuming because it is cheaper but I am in fact not paying less and am in fact paying more. I realize the price of petroleum has gone up considerably but I am paying more for an inferior product not less.
I've used the blue plastic covered acrylic without noticing any defects. Maybe a different supplier or maybe a different batch. In fact I thought the last was a cyro product.

It is much easier to peel the plastic than the paper and I haven't noticed any peeling before use.
I do order full sheets and cut it myself. YEs it's less expensive.
Don't know if that might be making a difference or not.
It is true the polymask doesn't protect the sheet as well, but it is far easier to remove, especially on large pieces. I spent more time getting the paper off than I did completing the frame in one case (was 43x27). My distributer wants an additional $7 per sheet (4x8') with paper masking. The polymask did seem to readily peel itself from the imported stuff, but not from the Cyro and Optix. I purchase the material from the supplier and haul it back myself. I have no issues with scratching.
Cyro's FF3 is the inspected framing-grade acrylic. I think it only comes paper-masked. It costs a little more, but I don't have to waste time (and materials) cutting and cleaning another sheet.

FF and FF3 are the same. FF3 just gets the extra inspection step. I have heard that many of the big boxes use FF. I am currently getting the FF3 for less than FF because it moves slower than FF so I am buying stuff that was manufactured before the last couple of price hikes.


Dallas, TX
Frame Destination, Inc.