I called them to ask if they sold directly to consumers, and they did. However, they were not open today -- but the lady who answered the phone told me that she ran a shop right next door, so if we would present ourselves there she could let us in.
Talk about service -- so we jumped in the car and went to Groesbeek.
We were let into the lobby (which could use a bit of cleaning up, really -- there was a spider's nest up in the corner), and the lady asked up what we wanted. Well, I didn't know for sure -- I want plexi of roughly 10mm thick, that will diffuse the light of the LEDs that I want to stick on the side of the plexi. Perhaps pearly white, or maybe diffused? She rummaged through the store, but after a while we heard her talk to a man.
It turned out that she had contacted the proprietor of the place (her husband?) and he came to see what we wanted. So I explained the situation to him, and he showed us a few of the plexi plates he had. We talked about light diffusion and colors and prices, and he advised me to try out a bit of the diffused plexi -- he had a plate of 8mm thick lying around. I also was curious as to what the pearly white plexi would do, and he cut me off a nice plate of some scrap.
He said to me that I should experiment a bit, and see what worked for my application. Then he would see what he had lying around so that I would not have to order a 'half-plate' -- which is several square meters, and with prices of 80 euros per square meter, you don't want to buy excessively more than you need.
I thanked him, and asked how much I owed him for the two pieces of plexi. He waved me away -- they were free, so that I could experiment!
I am mightily impressed with the service and dedication of these people. It was clear that the man really loved plexiglass as a material. His workshops create standard products, but also custom stuff. Those acrylate speakers from Magnat? He made 'em.
Because he loves the material, he wants to see what other people make of it. And, with the small scraps that I need, he can sell the pieces that are left over from other projects -- pieces that otherwise would be too small to sell or make anything useful of. I guess we have a win-win situation here.
We swung by the DIY-store, to buy a new drill press. We have an old one from my grandfather, but it doesn't have that much power and is quite small. Large objects don't fit under the drill, and the largest drill bit we have been able to fit in it is the 7mm wood drill. I wanted a new drill press, and having the plates of plexi to experiment with put this even more to the foreground.
So we bought this one -- it even has a laser to help you determine where the drill is going to come down! It is a monster of a machine, and I have enjoyed working with it. I drilled various 5mm holes in the plates of plexi, and put LEDs in there to see how the plate would diffuse the light.
My experiments have been successfull, and it is indeed the diffused plate that gives the best results -- especially with rice paper mounted behind it. Tomorrow I will saw a smaller plate and mount two RGB-LEDs in there, to show to the guy what I want to use it for.