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I have a few DIY projects in mind that need some rigid non-metal sheets that I can easily cut, drill holes in them.

  • Lexan would have been a perfect choice, but it is a bit expensive.
  • Plywood is not as strong as Lexan.
  • The sheets I need do not have to be transparent or good looking.
  • Metal is not an option so it is safe for electrical DIY projects
  • All I need a sheet with tough and strong material.

What are more cost effective alternatives to Lexan?

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  • flooring and HDF might fit your bill, depending on the size needed. it's a LOT cheaper than $6/sqft. – dandavis Nov 20 '17 at 2:26
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You could try ABS plastic sheets. In 1/4 inch thick panels is it very rugged and quite rigid. ABS drills very nice as well.

For a comparison look at these choices from Amazon:

ABS 12"x24"x0.236" Black - $12.20

LEXAN 12"x24"x0.250" Clear - $27.28

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  • Interesting you said that. Currently, I buy ABS pipes cut/heat them so I can get a sheet from them. Quite tedious :( The problem with ABS sheet is that search in HomeDepot does not return anything like Abs Sheet. Is there any alternate name for the material? Thank you so much for help. – Allan Xu Nov 19 '17 at 19:38
  • @AllanXu - Did you try the first link above? It takes you directly to an Amazon page where you can select ABS sheet material from 12"x12" up to 24"x48". – Michael Karas Nov 19 '17 at 19:53
  • Yes, I did. Amazon would be my Plan B. It would be great if I can pick up ABS sheets from the HomeDepot cross the street where I go often. It is strange that HomeDepot does not sell ABS sheet. That is why wonder if there is another name for it? – Allan Xu Nov 19 '17 at 21:08
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As you have rejected plywood as not being as strong, there are ambiguities with your question. Do you need flexibility of plastic for which plywood would splinter and break? Do you need compression strength, which would crack Lexan and possibly splinter plywood? Lexan polycarbonate or lexan acrylic? One is quite stronger than the other.

For inexpensive, consider salvaging discarded large-screen projection televisions. The housings are either particle board wood (unsuitable for so many things) or quite strong ABS plastic of 3 mm thickness.

These televisions are also constructed with a series of large panels over the rear-projection panel. Some are transparent acrylic. The rear projection panel is a frosted plastic and there may be a diffuser of 2-3 mm thickness as one of the panels.

Equally unsuited as a replacement will be a front-surface mirror of quite large dimensions. I add this because it's certainly a maker item to be salvaged for telescope or optical use, including kaleidoscopes.

The television housing will have some large expanses of flat segments, and also contain some angled portions which could be used for brackets and mounting components.

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