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Kae
10-23-2013, 12:49 AM
I just returned home from Home Depot with my first load of tail making supplies.

One of the things I got was a sheet of Lexan Polycarbonate

Lexan is 250 times stronger than glass, and is often used in situations where bullet proofing is needed. It is shatter proof, flexible and durable. When picking out my sheet of Lexan I asked the employee if I could indeed cut it with the "plastic sheet cutting knife" located close by. He said that he had never successfully been able to cut Lexan as because it is so strong, that even when scored with a knife it will not snap. He suggested I stick with my jigsaw.

I'm excited to begin testing for lots of reasons, but here are the top ones.

Lexan plastic is strong and flexible, allowing for flukes that are strong in propulsion but have a realistic flow.

Lexan Is also clear, which will make for some AMAZING photoshoots. (The light will pass through the fluke like a real fish fin)


I just wish it was a liiitttttlleee warmer...pool testing this monofin is going to be very cold business.

SeaSister
10-23-2013, 01:10 AM
I can't wait to see your progress! This sounds interesting. :)

Blondie
10-23-2013, 04:02 AM
I have a lexan monofin and I love it. I wish it was bigger so it could propel me better (I'm tall :doh:). But it looks and feels amazing in the water. I tried making another one for myself and I tried to cut it with a knife too. It didn't do anything but scratch it. If I spent my whole life scratching at it, maybe it would snap. Definitely use the jigsaw.

PearlieMae
10-23-2013, 10:33 AM
I bought the same sheet and am testing it for my translucent/transparent fluke! I'm using Poly-Zap to glue pieces of polycarbonate in key spots to reinforce the fluke to make it stiffer around the foot pocket.

http://www.micromark.com/poly-zap-1and2-oz,7575.html

MerEmma
10-23-2013, 10:54 AM
Good luck with it! Despite the strength I believe quite a few members have had issues with it cracking down the middle, so be careful when cutting it and follow the little notch method that's logged somewhere in monofins I think. I know cracking has been an issue with lexan but if you're careful I'm sure it'll be a great monofin! :D

PearlieMae
10-23-2013, 12:53 PM
Personally, all my monofin curves are rounded with a Dremel and the center indent is reinforced.

Echidna
10-23-2013, 01:19 PM
Despite the strength I believe quite a few members have had issues with it cracking down the middle, so be careful when cutting it and follow the little notch method that's logged somewhere in monofins I think. I know cracking has been an issue with lexan but if you're careful I'm sure it'll be a great monofin! :D

The only lexan monofin I know of that has issues with cracking is the Magictail one, probably due to the fact they made their first batches very thin to save production costs.
Because they broke as soon as you looked closely, they've now reinforced them a few millimetres.

I love lexan monofins, I wish there were more manufacturers.
Not only are they perfect to give a fin that translucent fish-fin look, you can also use them for unusual flukeshapes.

I'd love to have one bigger and speedier lexan fin to put in my snake tails, if I can aquire a jigsaw maybe I'll try making one.

MerEmma
10-23-2013, 01:42 PM
I know there was at least one or two threads on here I read where the lexan cracked and they had to be replaced. I can't seem to find them now but I know they're out there. >_<

Mermaid Momo
10-23-2013, 09:18 PM
I think one of the main reasons why the fins from magic tail cracked was because of their shape. All of the weight was being out on the ends of their fins and since there wasn't a 'dip' in the center to absorb that it cracked in the center. (Which is usually where most people put in their 'dip' sorry about my odd wording I just brain farted and forgot what they're called haha)

Also one tutorial/ making of a competitor monofin video I watched, the man used boat windshield wipers and loctite as supporters on the sides of the fins. He also covered it with some sort of sheet to keep it from molding


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Kae
10-23-2013, 11:46 PM
I'm glad other people like Lexan Monofins too!

Unique shapes are definitely a huge plus!

I will work slowly and carefully and make sure no stress cracks happen!

P.S. there will be video of the entire process....even mistakes. I'll link as soon as I have them!

PearlieMae
10-23-2013, 11:57 PM
I'm glad other people like Lexan Monofins too!

Unique shapes are definitely a huge plus!

I will work slowly and carefully and make sure no stress cracks happen!

P.S. there will be video of the entire process....even mistakes. I'll link as soon as I have them!

Excellent! I look forward to seeing your results! I just glued a couple of pieces of thin polycarbonate together with PolyZap. So far, I can't pull it apart, it's still flexible and strong!

Kae
10-24-2013, 05:24 PM
I'll have to try that PolyZap for myself!

PearlieMae
10-25-2013, 10:05 AM
Here's a link to it...the MSDS should provide more info regarding the glue's specifics

http://www.zapglue.com/special/

Kae
11-07-2013, 05:56 PM
15652
Monofin making supplies. Finis gold zoomers for foot pockets, poster board, marker

15653
monofin pattern, finis zoomers alighned where they will attach on the actual monofin for reference.

15655
using PolyZap (thanks Pearliemae!!) to glue foot pockets to lexan.

15654
PolyZap crated an amazingly strong bond in under an hour.

Kae
11-07-2013, 06:00 PM
The edges still need to be sanded and evened up a bit. and then I will be taking it for a test swim next wednesday!

I tried to purposely break a scrap piece of lexan and was shocked at how it wouldn't snap no matter how much I tried!

Mermaid Momo
11-07-2013, 07:47 PM
Looking good! Don't forget to round out the indentation


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Kae
11-07-2013, 08:32 PM
Will do! I'll do that with the sander! Thanks for the tip!

Echidna
11-08-2013, 12:06 AM
Do tell us how the swim goes!

JamesGunnels
11-08-2013, 12:10 AM
oooh I am gonna have to make my own monofins from now on with this info :D

PearlieMae
11-08-2013, 12:56 AM
Good luck! Looks great!

Blondie
11-08-2013, 01:42 AM
Fantastic!

Kae
11-08-2013, 07:06 PM
Thanks everyone! I'm hoping to take video of the swim and post it here.

The big thing I'm looking for is to see if the foot pockets need to be secured by a secondary source (like bolting them down) I'll decide after the test swim on Wednesday.

Coradion
11-10-2013, 03:01 AM
I bolted mine, just be careful it's not sharp I have a clear custom fiberglass one and it can cut people. I'm thinking about edging the sides in silicone.

drucilla
11-10-2013, 03:51 AM
Thanks everyone! I'm hoping to take video of the swim and post it here.

The big thing I'm looking for is to see if the foot pockets need to be secured by a secondary source (like bolting them down) I'll decide after the test swim on Wednesday.

That'd be great I'd love to see it in action!

Kae
11-13-2013, 10:56 PM
So I did end up taking a video, but there was a problem I didn't anticipate. The polycarbonate turns invisible under water! I mean totally invisible, WE couldnt even see it at the end of our legs. which was actually kind of cool.

So since a video will be no help at all....here's how it went.

First of all, when they say a competitor is only for professional swimmers, they mean it. As this fin is modeled after a competitor (28" x 28"), it was very large and very hard to get a hang of for amateur swimmers. So for the first 15 mins we floundered and flopped and almost drown. Then suddenly, we got it! We could swim across the entire pool with no problems.

We're definitely going to have to cut it down to a smaller size however, because we just don't have the leg strength for the competitor yet.

PearlieMae
11-13-2013, 11:19 PM
Oh no! I'd still love to see video of you swimming with your ghost fin ;) I bet that looked strange, being propelled by nothing!

Echidna
11-14-2013, 05:18 AM
I concur, would really like to see that video.

Kae
11-21-2013, 10:58 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PS98dZB8AwY

Okay, here it is.

This is when I was adjusting the camera and trying to make sure it would work for underwater filming. I was assisted by my sister who will also be my fist customer (her husband too) after my proto-tail. Sorry about the brief shot up the nose :$. After I realized you couldn't see the fin (which is the size of a competitor 28" by 28") I didn't bother filming anymore. You can see the yellow foot pockets just fine however! Which you will notice are completely rubber with no straps that can break and less chance of rubbing.

Firemaid
11-22-2013, 12:24 AM
Soooo cool!

PearlieMae
11-22-2013, 03:00 AM
You could really freak some people out racing by with what looks like just some gold zoomers!

Kae
11-23-2013, 05:58 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tbyEp8YTKU

Sorry about the distracting animals walking in and out of the shot. *sigh*

Mermaid Oshun
11-23-2013, 06:38 PM
I LOVE this project!!

PearlieMae
11-23-2013, 09:54 PM
So cool! I can't wait to see the next steps!

Yulia
11-25-2013, 12:47 PM
Did you get good propulsion from the fin?

Mermaid Oshun
11-25-2013, 02:11 PM
Hope you dont mind, Yulia and I are copying your monofin to go inside her tail :D Much more affordable than the Competitor she would have desired.

Kae
11-26-2013, 01:27 AM
Please copy! That's why I posted videos! That's exactly why I wanted to make it too, competitor size, without the price.


It seemed to have excellent propulsion. But I'm a pretty horrible swimmer (my sister too) and we were both not strong enough to use it with ease. I will say it got easier the more we did it, but I would need alot more time with it.

Mermaid Oshun
11-26-2013, 09:30 PM
Thank you Kae. What was the thickness of the Lexan please?

Kae
11-29-2013, 05:40 PM
it looks to be about 1/8th of an inch. the number on the plastic is .093 that seems to be the number referring to thickness.

Mermaid Oshun
11-29-2013, 06:02 PM
thank you Kae

Mermaid Julz
11-30-2013, 11:52 PM
Omg, this is awesome. A solution for a problem I just ran into. Thanks for posting this!

Kae
12-01-2013, 12:39 AM
You're welcome Julz! Glad I could help!

Mermaid Oshun
12-09-2013, 07:34 PM
Well Kae I made one of these for Yulia and I have to tell you I LOVE it. I have a $300 Finis Competitor here I'm working on for another customer and I have to say it is so similar to the competitor in feel, weight, etc. In fact, I like this a lot better than the Competitor personally because it is flatter and much easier to conceal when you place it inside the flukes. I cut it with my saw to the shape of the tail that it is sealed in and left the tips without monofin for a softer effect. I am going to make one for myself now and I actually think I will use this in most of my tails to avoid struggling to hide thick bulky bracers.

Kae
12-21-2013, 04:05 PM
I'm so glad you like it! I was hoping this would be an alternative to the pricy competitor. But I also wanted it to be just as good or better quality too. I'm glad others are having success with it!

Araxie
01-16-2014, 10:26 PM
Good luck with the monofin! :) now I'm curious, how much does lexan cost?

Kae
01-22-2014, 09:04 PM
The sheet of Lexan I got from Home Depot was $67 and i could have gotten 2 out of it if I had been more careful. (not competitor size though)

Mizuko
01-22-2014, 09:59 PM
I'm going to attempt a lexan monofin in a few weeks for another silicone tail, so thank you so much for posting this!! :D

BayouMermaid
02-14-2014, 05:10 PM
I'm also working on a lexan monofin. I found a video that may help people choose short fins to use as foot pockets (if you decide to go that route). In the video, several swimmers review a number of training fins, including the finis zoomers. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3JRV4JJD28


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3JRV4JJD28

BayouMermaid
02-20-2014, 12:18 AM
I'm using the TYR burner fins for my tail. I plan on attaching them with polyzap and rivets. I'll update here when I get to test it
18692

Here it is compared to my fluke mold:
18693

Gem Stone
02-20-2014, 09:26 PM
I did something wrong, cause my lexan snapped on me. maybe my design was wrong or something, but it didn't end well for me. however, a tail with a clear fluke sounds awesome! I'm going to try again soon.

BayouMermaid
02-20-2014, 11:08 PM
Do you have a picture of it, Gem Stone?

PearlieMae
02-20-2014, 11:18 PM
Wow! It snapped? I'm really surprised! Where did it snap? What were you doing at the time? Was there polyzap where it snapped? I swam with mine the other day and I did everything I could to break it, and couldn't even crease it!

I don't want to sound mean, but are you sure you got Lexan?

Kishiko
02-26-2014, 09:40 PM
I'm ordering a sheet of lexan from Lowes for my new monofin. I know you said that poly zap stuff works really well, but lowes has this adhesive specifically for lexan. It's a silicone waterproof adhesive and sealant, and I was wondering if anyone has tried this or knows if it works? If not I can order the poly zap, just thought it would be easier to get it all at the same place! Thoughts?

here's the link btw: http://www.lowes.com/pd_239983-1638-GE57_0__?productId=3505282&Ntt=lexan&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dlexan&facetInfo=

BayouMermaid
02-26-2014, 09:56 PM
I haven't used it, so I can't say for sure. I will say that the polyzap dries hard, whereas the silicone sealant is probably going to remain flexible. I suspect that it is similar to aquarium sealant, which is great for stopping leaks, but can still be peeled away from flat surfaces. Personally, I would go with the polyzap since it has been used by a few people on here so far. Plus, polyzap says that it is for both lexan and rubber. I don't know if that sealant would stick to your foot pockets.

Kishiko
02-26-2014, 09:58 PM
Thank you!

PearlieMae
02-27-2014, 10:22 AM
I think that's more a sealant to seal a Lexan window into it's frame and not a glue. I've also found that the PolyZap can make two pieces of Lexan glued together kind of brittle... It might be different if you are gluing something like Finis Zoomers to the Lexan, though...the PolyZap is like superglue for polycarbonate and rubber and I've seen it work for other mers. (I think Firemaid used it to glue Zoomers to Lexan.)

Kishiko
02-27-2014, 11:25 AM
How many bottles of poly zap do I need if I'm just adhering the foot pockets to the lexan?

PearlieMae
02-27-2014, 11:45 AM
Probably just one...it goes a LONG way! But since I haven't used it in that capacity, maybe someone else can advise...

BayouMermaid
02-27-2014, 12:54 PM
I didn't even use a whole bottle. Keep in mind, I haven't swim tested it yet. I did have my boyfriend hold the edge of the fin while I moved it up and down, and it seems to be holding so far. I bought my bottle off of amazon for around $6.30 USD.

Kishiko
02-28-2014, 11:45 PM
I has questions!!!

1.) Do I have to have a plexiglass jigsaw blade? (Stupid me forget to order one :P) we have quite a flew types of blades, what else works?

2.) Are there certain dimensions that it needs to be? Right now my pattern is 18" x 30" but I'm not sure if that will be too big or not.

3.) What is the best way to cut the top area around the feet? Should it just be round or should there be a part where it cuts up and in? If that makes sense?

4.) Also what's the best way to cut the tips? Pointed or rounded?

sorry for so many questions! I don't want to mess it up lol!

MerAnthony
03-01-2014, 12:25 PM
Rounded would be best. Due to that round will not cut the fabric an less chance of a crack if it happens.

Mermaid Ellowyn
03-01-2014, 01:36 PM
Wow, this is all so interesting. I would love to see these in tails eventually!

BayouMermaid
03-01-2014, 02:10 PM
I has questions!!!

1.) Do I have to have a plexiglass jigsaw blade? (Stupid me forget to order one :P) we have quite a flew types of blades, what else works?

2.) Are there certain dimensions that it needs to be? Right now my pattern is 18" x 30" but I'm not sure if that will be too big or not.

3.) What is the best way to cut the top area around the feet? Should it just be round or should there be a part where it cuts up and in? If that makes sense?

4.) Also what's the best way to cut the tips? Pointed or rounded?

sorry for so many questions! I don't want to mess it up lol!

1. I actually can't answer this because I got my lexan cut at a local glass store. I paid $20 and it took them about 10 minutes to cut and sand it. In my opinion, this was money well spent!
2. Mine is 18x24, and I find that it feels a bit large. I'm only 5 feet tall though. If you make it bigger, you can always cut it down like Kae did.
3. Mine is cut straight with rounded corners. The feet stick slightly off of the blade.
4. Round seems to be better. I'm not worried about it cutting through my fin or hurting people.

Kishiko
03-01-2014, 02:27 PM
Well I'm just under 5'3".... I feel like mine might be too big

but thanks for all the answers! I appreciate it so much!

PearlieMae
03-01-2014, 02:40 PM
I'm 5'4" and mine is 22" x 36" and I went swimming in it, and while it is big, it's wonderful! At first, it had some wobbly side to side movement because there isn't any surface detail to push the water straight back, but once it's in a fluke, the sculpt will help compensate. You get the hang of it quickly even without the fluke. Yours isn't too big.

Kishiko
03-01-2014, 02:43 PM
Okay I think I'll start with my size I have now and cut down if necessary. The only thing I'm worried about is that I probably not as strong a swimmer, while I still am a strong enough swimmer I just don't know for this, and I'm worried I'll have wasted a hunk of lexan if I need to trim it

PearlieMae
03-01-2014, 03:37 PM
If you find it unwieldy, you can always cut it down, but if not, practice with it until you are strong enough!

Kishiko
03-01-2014, 03:50 PM
What about the blade type.?

Bobbin
03-01-2014, 04:20 PM
Thanks so much for sharing your monofin! I've been re-inspired to make mine now. :) I just had a pair of TYR Burner fins show up today, so it's game on now!

Azurin Luna
03-06-2014, 04:29 AM
You need to use a blade for plexiglass. All the saw blades have different teeth on them, which makes them easier to use with the material they are designed for. Also some of the sawblades are hardened, other are not, which also makes a different. So to be safe and not getting a 'jumping' jigsaw use the correct blade and speed and pendulum of your machine.

Capt Nemo
03-07-2014, 01:09 AM
If you have a router, use that instead! Make a pattern out of 1/2-3/4" plywood and use a bearing straight bit to cut the lexan. The router will give a nice edge finish instead of saw marks.

(for the noobs here, I built the first polycarbonate mono)

malinghi
03-10-2014, 03:24 PM
(for the noobs here, I built the first polycarbonate mono)

Yeah, I remember! You make a how to about it on mer.yuku.com, the precursor to this forum. I converted your thread into a pdf cause it was so useful:
http://mernetwork.com/imgs/Titania_Monofin.pdf

Winged Mermaid
03-10-2014, 06:04 PM
It's also linked in the official monofin thread (http://mernetwork.com/index/showthread.php?t=2909) :)

Echidna
03-12-2014, 05:06 AM
there is cheap Lexan on amazon!
I might buy some and finally make a clear fin that's sturdier than my current ones.

The sheets are sold in different thicknesses; 0,75mm, 1mm, 2mm, and 5mm.
Not sure what to use :$

PearlieMae
03-12-2014, 08:51 AM
The lexan I'm using is .093", or 2.36 mm. I think it's a good thickness, but I've also doubled it under my feet and the center of the monofin for more push. I like how the single thickness flexes in the water, and the propulsion is excellent. I think 5mm might be a bit stiff for a wide monofin. If you were to make a longer and narrower fin for your snake/naga tail, the thicker lexan would probably have a nice flow and flex while giving good propulsion. If it's that inexpensive, you can try both!

Kishiko
03-12-2014, 09:09 AM
I would be careful buying "cheap" "lexan" off amazon, I've heard dome horror stories about people selling why they think is lexan but really is acrylic. Just warning you, if it won't bend on itself it's probably not lexan.

Mizuko
04-24-2014, 03:01 AM
Hi everyone, just a quick question to those who've had their lexan monofins for a while: if you used polyzap on the foot pockets, how is it holding up? :) Would you recommend a secondary method of attaching the fins to the lexan sheet, or does the polyzap suffice on its own? I was just going to use the polyzap, but its always good to get some second opinions! XD

Mizuko
04-27-2014, 08:22 PM
Lol, ok everyone I kind of answered my own question above:
I finally finished my lexan monofin, attaching the Zoomers with just polyzap. and WOW! I'm genuinely surprised at how strong it is!
Here's a video if you're interested (I posted it on my tail-making thread a few days ago too):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbk-iBw-mN8

The propulsion is good, although my boyfriend says I swim 'differently' when in it: and that I can attest to, as I can see I am using my legs more than my stomach in this video. Not sure the reason! lol!

Fifi Tigg
04-27-2014, 10:43 PM
Is polyzap available from Bunnings and which Isle is it kept in? :)

Mizuko
04-27-2014, 11:00 PM
Is polyzap available from Bunnings and which Isle is it kept in? :)
I'm not sure Fifi! XD I got mine online from an Aussie seller here: http://www.hobbytools.com.au/poly-zap-blue-label-medium-viscosity-1-2oz-14g/
:)

Mermaid Jaffa
04-28-2014, 12:06 AM
Nice! You're going so fast too!

Mermaid Galene
05-07-2014, 03:33 PM
Very nice, Mizuko! I've been thinking of making a Lexan/Zoomer monofin myself. Two questions: 1) what thickness did you use? I have made shadow puppets from lexan, but it was thin enough (0.2 mm) to cut with scissors. I assume something stronger would be needed for a monofin. 2) Do the Zoomers stay on comfortably with no slippage in the heels? I have long, narrow feet, and the lack of heel straps on Zoomers has me a little worried.

Mermaid Galene
05-07-2014, 03:36 PM
Ah. I see Pearlie talked about thickness. I actually have some sheets of 0.2 mm lexan here already. I should give it a go!

Oh, wait. My sheets are .02 mm. Guess I'd better get some thicker stuff!

Mizuko
05-07-2014, 08:11 PM
Galene, my thickness was 4mm! So super thick! :) But it holds up well and flexes really nicely :)
As for the Zoomers, my feet did slip out of them once or twice, so I'll be wearing neoprene booties with them from now on! Other than that they were very comfortable :)

Mermaid Galene
05-08-2014, 11:13 AM
I wear neoprene half booties, too, so hopefully that will keep the fit comfy for me. I suppose once the zoomers and fluke are enclosed in the tail, your feet will probably be held in place.

Kae
06-09-2014, 12:16 AM
Beautiful Mizuko! I'm so happy other people have used this idea!

WaterFury
06-17-2014, 12:39 AM
You are so graceful in this video! I hope that when I can make/get my monofin I can be as good as you lol.

Mermaid Claudia
06-03-2016, 09:18 PM
Has anyone had problems with the lexan cutting through a fabric tailcover? If so, what do y'all think could be put around the edges to keep that from happening?

Mermaid Jaffa
06-04-2016, 02:38 AM
Has anyone had problems with the lexan cutting through a fabric tailcover? If so, what do y'all think could be put around the edges to keep that from happening?

Fin Fun had it in the neoprene cover. And Magictail had a fleecy cover.

Merman Sean
06-04-2016, 07:31 AM
It looks cool, can't wait to hear how it went with the testing of it. If you end up in South Africa, Durban I know it went very well lol

Morrigan
07-14-2016, 04:37 PM
would a Lexan monofin be good for a beginner mermaid? I'm a strong swimmer (10 years on competative youth swim teams). I'm looking for a cheaper DIY monofin to make so I don't have to invest in a professional monofin. all of the other "non professional" fins look like crap. I was also wanting a clear fin so i could make a transluscent/iridescent fluke. My design is for a fabric tail, but i'm trying to to my best to make a more realistic tail using the budget that i have. I'm just doing all of my research now to save my money.

Merman Storm
07-14-2016, 05:39 PM
would a Lexan monofin be good for a beginner mermaid? I'm a strong swimmer (10 years on competative youth swim teams). I'm looking for a cheaper DIY monofin to make so I don't have to invest in a professional monofin. all of the other "non professional" fins look like crap. I was also wanting a clear fin so i could make a transluscent/iridescent fluke. My design is for a fabric tail, but i'm trying to to my best to make a more realistic tail using the budget that i have. I'm just doing all of my research now to save my money.

Ive made three monofins with Lexan, and they all worked fine. So, Yes.