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Old 30-03-2017, 06:51   #1
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US Acrylic Fabricators

I'm looking to replace all of the topside hatches in the not-to-distant future and was wondering if there are currently any fabricators in the US who can cut 3/4" thick acrylic to size, bevel the edges and round the corners. Size need not be exact, as the current hatches seal on the inside surface of the plexi about 1/2" from the edge; lots of latitude there.

I can handle drilling the mounting holes for the hinges and handles, but would prefer not to build a shop and equip it to make something that approaches a decent beveled rounded rectangle. Not to mention the US$900.00 to ship a single 4x8 sheet of raw material. Note that the vendor will need to be willing to ship to our location using a common carrier (USPS preferred) or freight forwarder and be willing to answer the phone and/or email.
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Old 30-03-2017, 07:44   #2
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Re: US Acrylic Fabricators

Replacement lens are available for most brands of hatches, especially lewmar, here's one source:
Catalina Direct: Catalina Direct
Select Plastics is also Hatchmasters, they rebuild the lids if you remove and send to them, they also have lens and parts for many brands and some instruction on how to rebuild them yourself.
https://hatchmasters.com/
You might check at Defender for lens also.
And while best known for building portlights used on classic boats, Mark at Mark Plastics is well known for being extremely helpful and being able to do custom marine applications.
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I don't know about 3/4" tho, that sounds pretty bulletproof.
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Old 30-03-2017, 09:18   #3
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Re: US Acrylic Fabricators

There are several plastic shops in the US that can do the job, but you might find a considerably cheaper one in Australia. I don't think Hunter hatches were 3/4 inch thick to start with--the biggest are probably 1/2 inch or less.
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Old 30-03-2017, 10:34   #4
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Re: US Acrylic Fabricators

I used to own an acrylic business before I went cruising.

Look for a business with a laser cutter. Any laser machine can cut 3/4" acrylic. A good shop will ask for one of the old lenses and then make EXACT copies (including all holes). It will look like it came from the factory!

Be aware that if you are only getting one made, then the price will be very high (setup fees, tooling fees, ect). However if its spread out over a bunch of lenses it can be pretty affordable.

A CNC routing machine will also work, but they usually have higher setup costs.
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Old 30-03-2017, 14:12   #5
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Re: US Acrylic Fabricators

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calif.Ted View Post
Thanks for the links, Cali; I'll contact those three and see what they can offer;

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
There are several plastic shops in the US that can do the job, but you might find a considerably cheaper one in Australia. I don't think Hunter hatches were 3/4 inch thick to start with--the biggest are probably 1/2 inch or less.
Shipping costs from AU usually kills any deal, but if you or any of the AU members here know of or have experience with a capable shop please do share contact info. It's possible that less expensive material and labor may more than offset higher shipping costs.

In terms of thickness, they're actually closer to 5/8; I simply rounded up from a cursory measurement. When it comes time to ask for estimates, I'll measure several locations with a digital caliper.
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Old 30-03-2017, 14:46   #6
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Re: US Acrylic Fabricators

I would give Tony at Hatchmasters a call if only to talk through what you need. While the expense if his parts, along with shipping, might be more than your budget, they do hundreds of hatches a year and are familiar with virtually every maker and model.

They did a hatch for me last year and called me back after receiving the hatch to suggest I put new style handles on it as parts for the old were no longer available. They pointed out that the hole pattern for the new handles was different than the old and if I broke an old one I'd be up the creek. So there was some value-added expertise there that went beyond just reglazing.
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