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Re: [PPLetterpress] Material to make large printing blocks

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  • Erik Desmyter
    I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size blocks or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses. I can say that this
    Message 1 of 24 , May 3, 2008
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      I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size blocks
      or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses. I can say
      that this computer to plate technology has some potential & limitations and
      there are many variables & tolerances in tools, software, material & machine
      which make everything rather complex. The X, Y, Z axis feed speeds, the
      router speed, the flatness of the material (no bowing allowed), the angle &
      sharpness of the routing bits and the 3-dimensional software working from 3D
      vectors isn't easy in combination with the specifics of letterpress type &
      inking.

      I experimented with different materials and had the best results with
      expensive materials like Corian (acrylic stone) but working in wood is fun
      but challenging as every kind of wood has different characteristics. Routing
      speeds should be lower to avoid heating up or burning the wood but avoiding
      a burr or damaged edges isn't always easy because high routing speeds just
      give the best sharp edges. Similar story on the X, Y & Z speeds, when you go
      too fast quality goes down and when you go to slow the wood gets dark and
      starts to heat up. And making a large plate with slow speeds takes hours...
      I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in beech,
      see links below.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/

      For very large plates I guess a good quality MDF would be good but I haven't
      tested this yet. I am always interested in experiences from other folks
      working in this direction with CNC technology.

      Best regards,
      Erik Desmyter
      Gent, Belgium
      erik.desmyter@...

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "briannqueen" <BQueen@...>
      To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 3:35 PM
      Subject: [PPLetterpress] Material to make large printing blocks


      I own a CNC router (computer numerical control) which simply put is a
      router controlled by a computer. I plan on using my machine to make
      large wood blocks, as large as four feet by eight feet and smaller ones
      for my Vandercook SP15 press. We plan on printing the 4' x 8' prints
      using a steam roller at a public event. I'm looking for help in
      determining the best wood or printing surface for this purpose. I could
      use ordinary plywood of course, but it has a grain and leaves a burr.
      Can anyone recommend a plastic that may be suitable? Detail on the very
      largest blocks is less of a concern but I want fine detail on the
      smaller blocks. I'm aware of Resingrave which would be perfect except
      that it would be much too expensive for the size of quantity I will be
      using. I considered acrylic but it's kind of brittle and a pain to
      machine. I figure there must be some kind of polymer out there that
      will do the trick and not dissolve during cleanup. Any help would be
      appreciated!


      ------------------------------------

      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Barbara Hauser
      Wow, Erik, I m impressed! I need to ask what I m sure will turn out to be a dumb question, though: if the block is to be used for printing, why is it
      Message 2 of 24 , May 3, 2008
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        Wow, Erik, I'm impressed! I need to ask what I'm sure will turn out to
        be a dumb question, though: if the block is to be used for printing,
        why is it right-reading?

        Thanks,
        Barbara


        --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Desmyter"
        <erik.desmyter@...> wrote:

        I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size
        blocks or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses.
        . . I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in
        beech, see links below.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/
      • victoria kniering
        Narbara -- I d say that may be problematic....unless he s using offset??? Oopsy, very neat machine though....would love to have one of those to play with.
        Message 3 of 24 , May 3, 2008
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          Narbara --
          I'd say that may be problematic....unless he's using offset???
          Oopsy,
          very neat machine though....would love to have one of those to play
          with.
          Victoria
          On May 3, 2008, at 8:50 PM, Barbara Hauser wrote:

          > Wow, Erik, I'm impressed! I need to ask what I'm sure will turn out to
          > be a dumb question, though: if the block is to be used for printing,
          > why is it right-reading?
          >
          > Thanks,
          > Barbara
          >
          > --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Desmyter"
          > <erik.desmyter@...> wrote:
          >
          > I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size
          > blocks or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses.
          > . . I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in
          > beech, see links below.
          >
          > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg
          >
          > http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/
          >
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Erik Desmyter
          Barbara, The answer is that this block in beech-wood was only a test on speeds, etc... to learn what the possibilities and limitations are of the beech-wood
          Message 4 of 24 , May 4, 2008
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            Barbara,

            The answer is that this block in beech-wood was only a test on speeds,
            etc... to learn what the possibilities and limitations are of the beech-wood
            and to check the design and translation of every letter through the
            3-dimensional CNC software and how every letter survives the routing.

            Regards,
            Erik

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Barbara Hauser" <BarbHauser@...>
            To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 2:50 AM
            Subject: [PPLetterpress] Re: Material to make large printing blocks


            Wow, Erik, I'm impressed! I need to ask what I'm sure will turn out to
            be a dumb question, though: if the block is to be used for printing,
            why is it right-reading?

            Thanks,
            Barbara


            --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Desmyter"
            <erik.desmyter@...> wrote:

            I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size
            blocks or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses.
            . . I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in
            beech, see links below.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/



            ------------------------------------

            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • briannqueen
            Erik, Thank you for posting that video. Do you use the v-bit for all your cutting or do you start with end mills? Also what programs are you using? I have a
            Message 5 of 24 , May 4, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Erik,
              Thank you for posting that video. Do you use the v-bit for all
              your cutting or do you start with end mills? Also what programs are
              you using? I have a friend that makes brass dies for foil printing
              and he uses ArtCAM. I've watched him program images and text a number
              of times and it seemed fairly simple. The cost of ArtCAM of course is
              a problem.
              I just acquired a piece of Corian after hearing from another
              artist that it prints well. Other than its cost it seems to be the
              perfect candidate since it's designed to be machinable. Here in North
              America it's only sold to authorized fabricators who don't normally
              sell it in sheet form. A laminate of 6mm Corian and MDF planed to
              type high could be the perfect match combined with CNC technology, no
              variation in qualities or grain to worry about. I see on Wikipedia
              that Corian has several competitors, who I'm guessing may be cheaper.
              I'm also experimenting with 3mm white styrene sheet laminated to MDF
              which is considerably less expensive.
              Keep us posted on your progress and thank you for the pictures and
              video, they have inspired me!

              Brian

              --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Desmyter"
              <erik.desmyter@...> wrote:
              >
              > I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size
              blocks
              > or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses. I
              can say
              > that this computer to plate technology has some potential &
              limitations and
              > there are many variables & tolerances in tools, software, material
              & machine
              > which make everything rather complex. The X, Y, Z axis feed speeds,
              the
              > router speed, the flatness of the material (no bowing allowed), the
              angle &
              > sharpness of the routing bits and the 3-dimensional software
              working from 3D
              > vectors isn't easy in combination with the specifics of letterpress
              type &
              > inking.
              >
              > I experimented with different materials and had the best results
              with
              > expensive materials like Corian (acrylic stone) but working in wood
              is fun
              > but challenging as every kind of wood has different
              characteristics. Routing
              > speeds should be lower to avoid heating up or burning the wood but
              avoiding
              > a burr or damaged edges isn't always easy because high routing
              speeds just
              > give the best sharp edges. Similar story on the X, Y & Z speeds,
              when you go
              > too fast quality goes down and when you go to slow the wood gets
              dark and
              > starts to heat up. And making a large plate with slow speeds takes
              hours...
              > I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in
              beech,
              > see links below.
              >
              > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg
              >
              > http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/
              >
              > For very large plates I guess a good quality MDF would be good but
              I haven't
              > tested this yet. I am always interested in experiences from other
              folks
              > working in this direction with CNC technology.
              >
              > Best regards,
              > Erik Desmyter
              > Gent, Belgium
              > erik.desmyter@...
            • Lisa Davidson
              I can t believe all these printers using steamrollers! When did that start happening? Lisa ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              Message 6 of 24 , May 4, 2008
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                I can't believe all these printers using steamrollers! When did that
                start happening?

                Lisa


                On May 4, 2008, at 9:20 AM, briannqueen wrote:

                > Erik,
                > Thank you for posting that video. Do you use the v-bit for all
                > your cutting or do you start with end mills? Also what programs are
                > you using? I have a friend that makes brass dies for foil printing
                > and he uses ArtCAM. I've watched him program images and text a number
                > of times and it seemed fairly simple. The cost of ArtCAM of course is
                > a problem.
                > I just acquired a piece of Corian after hearing from another
                > artist that it prints well. Other than its cost it seems to be the
                > perfect candidate since it's designed to be machinable. Here in North
                > America it's only sold to authorized fabricators who don't normally
                > sell it in sheet form. A laminate of 6mm Corian and MDF planed to
                > type high could be the perfect match combined with CNC technology, no
                > variation in qualities or grain to worry about. I see on Wikipedia
                > that Corian has several competitors, who I'm guessing may be cheaper.
                > I'm also experimenting with 3mm white styrene sheet laminated to MDF
                > which is considerably less expensive.
                > Keep us posted on your progress and thank you for the pictures and
                > video, they have inspired me!
                >
                > Brian
                >
                > --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Desmyter"
                > <erik.desmyter@...> wrote:
                > >
                > > I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size
                > blocks
                > > or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses. I
                > can say
                > > that this computer to plate technology has some potential &
                > limitations and
                > > there are many variables & tolerances in tools, software, material
                > & machine
                > > which make everything rather complex. The X, Y, Z axis feed speeds,
                > the
                > > router speed, the flatness of the material (no bowing allowed), the
                > angle &
                > > sharpness of the routing bits and the 3-dimensional software
                > working from 3D
                > > vectors isn't easy in combination with the specifics of letterpress
                > type &
                > > inking.
                > >
                > > I experimented with different materials and had the best results
                > with
                > > expensive materials like Corian (acrylic stone) but working in wood
                > is fun
                > > but challenging as every kind of wood has different
                > characteristics. Routing
                > > speeds should be lower to avoid heating up or burning the wood but
                > avoiding
                > > a burr or damaged edges isn't always easy because high routing
                > speeds just
                > > give the best sharp edges. Similar story on the X, Y & Z speeds,
                > when you go
                > > too fast quality goes down and when you go to slow the wood gets
                > dark and
                > > starts to heat up. And making a large plate with slow speeds takes
                > hours...
                > > I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in
                > beech,
                > > see links below.
                > >
                > >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg
                > >
                > >http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/
                > >
                > > For very large plates I guess a good quality MDF would be good but
                > I haven't
                > > tested this yet. I am always interested in experiences from other
                > folks
                > > working in this direction with CNC technology.
                > >
                > > Best regards,
                > > Erik Desmyter
                > > Gent, Belgium
                > > erik.desmyter@...
                >
                >
                >



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Erik Desmyter
                Brian, I normally start with an end mill which works only in X & Y on a depth of for example 5mm and this one takes away most material and does first the rough
                Message 7 of 24 , May 4, 2008
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                  Brian,

                  I normally start with an end mill which works only in X & Y on a depth of
                  for example 5mm and this one takes away most material and does first the
                  rough work. In the last finishing step I use a 60 degree V-bits for all the
                  edges and fine details and this one goes three dimensional X, Y & Z because
                  you need the fragile sharp top of the V-bit to cut out the sharp edges and
                  small details. I use several softwares including signmaking software very
                  similar to ArtCam to finally come to a WinPC-NC file on which this
                  CNC-router runs.

                  Buying large panels of new Corian is indeed a problem but some authorized
                  fabricators are selling their scrap on eBay at reduced prices and some less
                  popular colors can go really cheap. In Europe there are some companies where
                  you can order cut to size panels in all the different colors but this is
                  still expensive. Another possibility could be 1 ¼" thick PVC which is used
                  as a replacement for wood like this AZEK To Mill (ATM) which is made in
                  sheet sizes of 4 ft x 8 ft:
                  http://www.azek.com/viewProduct.php?id=12
                  I don't know this ATM material here in Europe and haven't tested it but it
                  looks interesting at first sight and is probably cheaper than Corian.

                  Regards,
                  Erik

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "briannqueen" <BQueen@...>
                  To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 6:20 PM
                  Subject: [PPLetterpress] Re: Material to make large printing blocks


                  Erik,
                  Thank you for posting that video. Do you use the v-bit for all
                  your cutting or do you start with end mills? Also what programs are
                  you using? I have a friend that makes brass dies for foil printing
                  and he uses ArtCAM. I've watched him program images and text a number
                  of times and it seemed fairly simple. The cost of ArtCAM of course is
                  a problem.
                  I just acquired a piece of Corian after hearing from another
                  artist that it prints well. Other than its cost it seems to be the
                  perfect candidate since it's designed to be machinable. Here in North
                  America it's only sold to authorized fabricators who don't normally
                  sell it in sheet form. A laminate of 6mm Corian and MDF planed to
                  type high could be the perfect match combined with CNC technology, no
                  variation in qualities or grain to worry about. I see on Wikipedia
                  that Corian has several competitors, who I'm guessing may be cheaper.
                  I'm also experimenting with 3mm white styrene sheet laminated to MDF
                  which is considerably less expensive.
                  Keep us posted on your progress and thank you for the pictures and
                  video, they have inspired me!

                  Brian
                • Joe Freedman
                  I ve used a program called V-Carve to cut wood on a CNC. Its a great program: easy to use and pretty inexpensive. I can import eps files made on a mac and
                  Message 8 of 24 , May 4, 2008
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                    I've used a program called V-Carve to cut wood on a CNC. Its a great
                    program: easy to use and pretty inexpensive. I can import eps files
                    made on a mac and easily set the parameters in V-Carve. It drives my
                    little Roland engraver directly with no post processor or dxf
                    conversion.

                    Website is http://www.vectric.com/

                    I still haven't committed it for use on any projects but it seems to
                    do a really nice job.

                    Joe
                  • Lamsland
                    I ve been looking into CO2 laser engraving systems. Looks to be a great solution. You could make wood or metal plates. Very precise, lots of control and
                    Message 9 of 24 , May 5, 2008
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                      I've been looking into CO2 laser engraving systems. Looks to be a
                      great solution. You could make wood or metal plates. Very precise,
                      lots of control and horribly expensive. The company that makes an
                      affordable smaller laser engraver will have a whole market to
                      themselves I think.


                      Matthew "LAMMY" Lamoureux
                      Full Metal Press - Operis servo a specialis nundinae

                      On May 3, 2008, at 6:33 PM, Erik Desmyter wrote:

                      > I have also been experimenting with a CNC-router to make large size
                      > blocks
                      > or plates to print from on on my traditional iron handpresses. I
                      > can say
                      > that this computer to plate technology has some potential &
                      > limitations and
                      > there are many variables & tolerances in tools, software, material
                      > & machine
                      > which make everything rather complex. The X, Y, Z axis feed speeds,
                      > the
                      > router speed, the flatness of the material (no bowing allowed), the
                      > angle &
                      > sharpness of the routing bits and the 3-dimensional software
                      > working from 3D
                      > vectors isn't easy in combination with the specifics of letterpress
                      > type &
                      > inking.
                      >
                      > I experimented with different materials and had the best results with
                      > expensive materials like Corian (acrylic stone) but working in wood
                      > is fun
                      > but challenging as every kind of wood has different
                      > characteristics. Routing
                      > speeds should be lower to avoid heating up or burning the wood but
                      > avoiding
                      > a burr or damaged edges isn't always easy because high routing
                      > speeds just
                      > give the best sharp edges. Similar story on the X, Y & Z speeds,
                      > when you go
                      > too fast quality goes down and when you go to slow the wood gets
                      > dark and
                      > starts to heat up. And making a large plate with slow speeds takes
                      > hours...
                      > I have just made a small movie and some photos on an experiment in
                      > beech,
                      > see links below.
                      >
                      > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk4QmaU4JIg
                      >
                      > http://www.flickr.com/photos/desmyter1856/sets/72157604867473339/
                      >
                      > For very large plates I guess a good quality MDF would be good but
                      > I haven't
                      > tested this yet. I am always interested in experiences from other
                      > folks
                      > working in this direction with CNC technology.
                      >
                      > Best regards,
                      > Erik Desmyter
                      > Gent, Belgium
                      > erik.desmyter@...
                      >
                      > ----- Original Message -----
                      > From: "briannqueen" <BQueen@...>
                      > To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
                      > Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 3:35 PM
                      > Subject: [PPLetterpress] Material to make large printing blocks
                      >
                      > I own a CNC router (computer numerical control) which simply put is a
                      > router controlled by a computer. I plan on using my machine to make
                      > large wood blocks, as large as four feet by eight feet and smaller
                      > ones
                      > for my Vandercook SP15 press. We plan on printing the 4' x 8' prints
                      > using a steam roller at a public event. I'm looking for help in
                      > determining the best wood or printing surface for this purpose. I
                      > could
                      > use ordinary plywood of course, but it has a grain and leaves a burr.
                      > Can anyone recommend a plastic that may be suitable? Detail on the
                      > very
                      > largest blocks is less of a concern but I want fine detail on the
                      > smaller blocks. I'm aware of Resingrave which would be perfect except
                      > that it would be much too expensive for the size of quantity I will be
                      > using. I considered acrylic but it's kind of brittle and a pain to
                      > machine. I figure there must be some kind of polymer out there that
                      > will do the trick and not dissolve during cleanup. Any help would be
                      > appreciated!
                      >
                      > ------------------------------------
                      >
                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                      >
                      >



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • briannqueen
                      Erik, I was excited to see your post about this new material that was thick enough to be planed down to type high. The website showed what appeared to be a
                      Message 10 of 24 , May 8, 2008
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                        Erik,
                        I was excited to see your post about this new material that was
                        thick enough to be planed down to type high. The website showed what
                        appeared to be a solid dense plastic, so I quickly found the
                        distributor and then a store that sold the product, but unfortunately
                        it's not suitable for printing. It's most common use is as a
                        replacement for lumber to make decks, one side is smooth while the
                        other side has a faux wood grain finish, however even the smooth side
                        is covered with very fine pits. It appears as though it's a mixture
                        of plastic and sawdust or some kind of filler to reduce costs, but it
                        was worth a try!

                        Brian


                        --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Desmyter"
                        <erik.desmyter@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Brian,
                        >
                        > I normally start with an end mill which works only in X & Y on a
                        depth of
                        > for example 5mm and this one takes away most material and does
                        first the
                        > rough work. In the last finishing step I use a 60 degree V-bits for
                        all the
                        > edges and fine details and this one goes three dimensional X, Y &
                        Z because
                        > you need the fragile sharp top of the V-bit to cut out the sharp
                        edges and
                        > small details. I use several softwares including signmaking
                        software very
                        > similar to ArtCam to finally come to a WinPC-NC file on which this
                        > CNC-router runs.
                        >
                        > Buying large panels of new Corian is indeed a problem but some
                        authorized
                        > fabricators are selling their scrap on eBay at reduced prices and
                        some less
                        > popular colors can go really cheap. In Europe there are some
                        companies where
                        > you can order cut to size panels in all the different colors but
                        this is
                        > still expensive. Another possibility could be 1 ¼" thick PVC which
                        is used
                        > as a replacement for wood like this AZEK To Mill (ATM) which is
                        made in
                        > sheet sizes of 4 ft x 8 ft:
                        > http://www.azek.com/viewProduct.php?id=12
                        > I don't know this ATM material here in Europe and haven't tested it
                        but it
                        > looks interesting at first sight and is probably cheaper than
                        Corian.
                        >
                        > Regards,
                        > Erik
                      • lamsland1@comcast.net
                        Just had a wild thought, What about Delrin? Plastic metal substitute. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyoxymethylene check out the part about machining. It may
                        Message 11 of 24 , May 9, 2008
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Just had a wild thought, What about Delrin? Plastic metal substitute.

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyoxymethylene

                          check out the part about machining.

                          It may be on the pricey side for large sheets though.



                          -------------- Original message ----------------------
                          From: "briannqueen" <BQueen@...>
                          > Erik,
                          > I was excited to see your post about this new material that was
                          > thick enough to be planed down to type high. The website showed what
                          > appeared to be a solid dense plastic, so I quickly found the
                          > distributor and then a store that sold the product, but unfortunately
                          > it's not suitable for printing. It's most common use is as a
                          > replacement for lumber to make decks, one side is smooth while the
                          > other side has a faux wood grain finish, however even the smooth side
                          > is covered with very fine pits. It appears as though it's a mixture
                          > of plastic and sawdust or some kind of filler to reduce costs, but it
                          > was worth a try!
                          >
                          > Brian
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Erik Desmyter"
                          > <erik.desmyter@...> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Brian,
                          > >
                          > > I normally start with an end mill which works only in X & Y on a
                          > depth of
                          > > for example 5mm and this one takes away most material and does
                          > first the
                          > > rough work. In the last finishing step I use a 60 degree V-bits for
                          > all the
                          > > edges and fine details and this one goes three dimensional X, Y &
                          > Z because
                          > > you need the fragile sharp top of the V-bit to cut out the sharp
                          > edges and
                          > > small details. I use several softwares including signmaking
                          > software very
                          > > similar to ArtCam to finally come to a WinPC-NC file on which this
                          > > CNC-router runs.
                          > >
                          > > Buying large panels of new Corian is indeed a problem but some
                          > authorized
                          > > fabricators are selling their scrap on eBay at reduced prices and
                          > some less
                          > > popular colors can go really cheap. In Europe there are some
                          > companies where
                          > > you can order cut to size panels in all the different colors but
                          > this is
                          > > still expensive. Another possibility could be 1 �" thick PVC which
                          > is used
                          > > as a replacement for wood like this AZEK To Mill (ATM) which is
                          > made in
                          > > sheet sizes of 4 ft x 8 ft:
                          > > http://www.azek.com/viewProduct.php?id=12
                          > > I don't know this ATM material here in Europe and haven't tested it
                          > but it
                          > > looks interesting at first sight and is probably cheaper than
                          > Corian.
                          > >
                          > > Regards,
                          > > Erik
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >




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