Video: Installing Threaded Inserts in Acrylic Turning Blanks
A question that often comes up when turning acrylic handles is how to install the threaded insert that is included in most Rocklerturning kits into an acrylic turning blank.
The hard and brittle nature of acrylic blanks can make it challenging to thread this insert into the blank. We use heat to soften the acrylic temporarily and make it easier to turn the insert.
Rob Johnstone: Something that's really come to the fore of late, is the desire to turn resin-based plastic materials like this acrylic, and for good reason, because these blanks come in a variety of beautiful colors and hues and look great when they're turned into handles and pens. A question that often comes up when turning acrylic handles is how to install the threaded insert that is part of most Rockler turning kits. The hard and brittle nature of acrylic blanks can make it challenging to thread this insert.
First, we recommend drilling the diameter pilot hole that is specified in the instructions for hardwoods. Next, fit the threaded insert onto a hex wrench. Then, heat the threaded insert with a lighter or small torch for 5 to 10 seconds. Heat helps the insert cut through the acrylic. Twist the threaded insert into the pilot hole until it is flushed with the end of the blank. If the insert resists twisting into the blank, twist it back out, re-heat, and then seed it. Now you're ready to install the mandrel that is sized to match your threaded insert. Mount the blank, secure the tailstock and live center against the blank, and you're ready to turn your handle.