Gatorplast Technical Bulletin
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Gatorboard Technical Bulletin

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 [Polystyrene Fact Sheet] 

[Gatorboard Handling & Cutting]

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Gatorplast graphic arts board by International Paper is a specially developed laminate consisting of a lightweight, extruded polystyrene foam core laminated on both sides with a high-impact polystyrene cap sheet. This polystyrene laminate is resistant to WARPAGE caused by exposure to moisture and high humidity conditions. A special process permanently bonds the foam and cap sheets in a rigid and durable configuration.

Gatorplast board is ideal for painted or screen printed displays, photo mounting and sign making. Both cut-to-shape lettering and vinyl lettering may be applied to Gatorplast, then removed or repositioned without incurring damage to this graphic arts board's tough. plastic surface.

The cap sheets are 15-mil high-impact polystyrene with a special matte finish This matte finish is perfect for high-quality screen printing with any finish from flat to gloss. Screen printed inks will produce vivid, true colors. The high-impact properties of the cap sheets resist chipping.

 

APPLICATION AREAS:

Gatorplast board can be used both indoors and outdoors. The polystyrene foam and cap sheets are virtually unaffected by moisture. The adhesive used to bond the foam and cap sheets has been selected for its outdoor durability. Any polystyrene product will yellow and become brittle after prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Because sunlight is a source of ultraviolet light, it is necessary to protect both the cap sheets and foam from direct sunlight. It is recommended that the foam be covered with channels or painted with a UV barrier coating such as Solar Clear by Axo Chemical. The cap sheet also should be protection with a UV barrier for maximum outdoor life.

 

WARPAGE:

The polystyrene cap sheet and foam core are inert to water. Exposure to moisture is the most common cause of WARPAGE in wood or paper-based panels. Gatorplast board can, however, be distorted by exposure to excessive heat or other external forces The thicker Gatorplast boards have much greater resistance to WARPAGE than the thinnest (3/16 inch) board.

WARPAGE can be caused by unbalancing the panel either by uneven coating or heating of one side. Coating more than 50 percent of only one side of the Gatorplast board can create an unbalanced situation Permanent WARPAGE can be caused by heating beyond 170F.

Poorly supported boards also can bow and warp over time. It is a good practice to hang Gatorplast boards rather than support them by the bottom edge. This is particularly important for thin and tall signs. Sturdy, stable edge channels or frames can provide additional support in some applications.

Occasionally. Gatorplast board may be stored in a way that results in the sheets not being flat when removed from the carton. This can occasionally be corrected by laying a single sheet on a flat surface or by inverting every other sheet in the box and allowing the material to settle overnight.

 

FABRICATION INSTRUCTIONS

CLEANING:

It should be noted that the polystyrene cap sheets can develop a static electric charge when rubbed together. The charge will attract dust. For best results, it is necessary to ensure that the Gatorplast boards are free from dust and other contaminants. Dust can be removed with a tack cloth. Other contaminants can be removed with isopropyl alcohol and a dust-free rag. Areas that have been cleaned should be tested for paint, ink or adhesive compatibility before further processing.

 

CUTTING:

Gatorplast board can be cut readily with a standard table saw or panel saw. For best quality edge cuts, boards should be cut one at a time and the saw blade should protrude a minimum distance above the top facer. Blade selection will affect the quality of the cut. A thin kerf blade with specially designed teeth will produce optimal cuts. Blades designed for cutting Gatorplast can now purchased from General Saw of Cape Coral, Florida.. www.generalsaw.com <http://www.generalsaw.com> or from other manufacturers of quality saw blades. General Saw Corporation has also engineered saw blades to cleanly cut other foam-centered materials, such as: Gatorboard®, Foam-cor® and Foam-X®, Dibond ®, and Sintra ®.

Gatorplast board can be cut easily without chipping or rough edges. In order to get the best cut, it is important to avoid dragging the blade on the freshly cut edge. The fence must be parallel to the saw blade and the blade should be free from misalignment or wobble. The sheets should be fed briskly through the saw. Blade misalignment can cause dust from the freshly cut liner to fuse to the cap sheet. Resulting roughness can be remove easy with fine sand paper.

Whenever Gatorplast board is cut, be sure to remove any dust or dirt from the surface before painting, printing or mounting.

 

ROUTERS:

Detailed shapes and contoured edges can be easily created by using routers High-speed routers are recommended. A variety of router bits, including 1/16" or 1/8" single flute bits can be used for cutting, edge shaping or beveling. Routers work best when the board is briskly worked. Slow feeding can result in excessive friction and heating, which can degrade the edge being cut.

 

DIE CUTTING:

The 3/16-inch and 1/2-inch Gatorplast boards can be die cut using side bevel and serrated-edge steel rules. It is also possible to die cut 3/16 inch Gatorplast with a standard rule When cutting 1/2-inch Gatorplast, care should be taken to ensure that the cutting rule is long enough to accommodate the board and the ejection rubber comfortably. Thicker Gatorplast is not commonly die cut.

 

GUILLOTINE CUTTING:

The 3/16-inco and 1/2-inch Gatorplast boards can be easily guillotine cut. Thicker pieces were not tested. Stacks of several pieces can be easily cut. In order to guillotine cut, the blade should be cut to an angle of 15-20 degrees and maintained very sharp.

 

RAZOR CUTTING:

Gatorplast board can be cut readily with a utility knife or mat and glass cutter to yield a very clean edge. A thin, sharp blade, held at a low angle works best when hand cutting. Many of the common mat and glass cutters sold to cut Form-Cor graphic arts board by International Paper can be used to cut Gatorplast. Most cutters can cut 3/16-inch boards; some can handle up to 1/2- inch boards but no thicker. Cutting through Gatorplast heavy-duty cap sheets by hand can be tedious.

 

PAINTING:

Gatorplast boards matte finish can no painted with a variety of paints without special preparation. The board's surface should be clean and free from dust before painting. Sanding of Gatorplast cap sheets is not recommended. Gatorplast board can be painted with several types of paint including water-based and some solvent based paints. Paints should must be compatible with polystyrene and capable of adhering to polystyrene. Contact your paint supplier for specific recommendations.

 

SCREEN PRINTING:

Solvent based inks:

can be either air dries or tunnel dried. Maximum tunnel temperature should not exceed 60 degrees Celsius. Finishes achieved vary from flat to gloss depending on the ink that is used. The recommended solvent based ink is Nazdar's 9700 All purpose screen ink.

 

 Ultraviolet Inks:

UV drying lamps can cause Gatorplast top cap sheet to trap heat, causing the board will bow temporarily. Normally these sheets will flatten out when cooled. UV dryers used to cure ink on Gatorplast should be designed with cooling in the curing section, vacuums to keep the sheets from moving, and guards to keep the board from hitting the lamp. Successfully tested inks include Nazdar's 3200 Series.


Home         Edge Trim               Sintra     Komatex       Polystyrene (HIPS) 

 Gatorboard / Gatorfoam       Gatorplast        

 FoamBoard / Foam-X / Fome-Cor / Revel 111       Fire Retardant / Resistant board       Bio Degradable  

Dibond / Alucobond