Johnsons Plastics is one of my absolute favorite suppliers for the wide variety of engraveable materials they offer, from houseware like coasters and cutting boards, to swag like keychains and notebooks, to literally over a thousand sheet materials. They’re rarely out of stock on anything, ship SAME business day, and have 4 warehouses around the country so most orders arrive in just 1-2 days.
They just decided to offer an alternative to Proofgrade cast acrylic: their own line of 12x20.4", pre-masked acrylic in 20 different colors. And it’s 50% cheaper than Proofgrade.
For a quick comparison, a quick check on one piece of blue plexi Johnson came in at 9.97 per sheet and estreet came in at 7.79 for a 12x24” sheet. The price per square inch cost is about 30% lower at estreet.
Of course that’s not taking shipping costs or time into account, nor the idea that 12x24 requires some work to use (or feeding end first into a pro). Johnson may well be a better option for some people.
These are brand new SKUs, aimed specifically at supplying Glowforge (or other small hobby laser) owners. I just learned of them via a new product announcement email this morning. They also have a webinar coming up to demo the new products.
The Rowmark/IPI acrylic they’ve always carried are still available in 12x24", 24x24" or 24x48".
it’s weird that they didn’t just add them as a size to the main page.
but i’m 98% i know why (w/o actually looking). i’m betting they’re charging the same $$ for 12x20.5 as they are for 12x24. i’ve seen that at other vendors who create the smaller format as an additional size. it’s not like they can easily sell that 12x3.5" strip.
for me, with acrylic, i’d rather spend the 2 minutes scoring and snapping that strip off and use it for myself than pay them for the smaller size and lose that strip. but others may want everything cut to exact size ahead of time.
There’s no cheaper 1/8" yellow acrylic sheet in their entire catalog than the new Glowforge sized one. The next cheapest is a discontinued line on clearance at $15.82 for 12x24". Rowmark’s “Value Series” is also $17.78.
eStreetPlastics was the first place I bought acrylic besides Glowforge’s shop. But back in 2020, they stopped filling orders and stopped replying to emails. That was when “lockdowns” were happening and supply chains got all screwed up for the first time, but I lost all confidence in them when they could neither send out paid orders NOR have the courtesy to respond to customers, or simply stop taking orders they wouldn’t be filling for months.
I have been buying acrylic for $8/sheet from a local store recently, which is cheaper than JPP. And there are a number of good “Glowforge suppliers” around these days with similar pricing. But they’re generally just one person with a saw, and always seem to be out of stock of the specific color I need right when I need it.
So I’m excited to have another major plastic supplier with huge warehouses stocking stuff for us. I like to have reliable suppliers available even if they’re not the cheapest.
I’m similarly excited that my local Michaels store now has a mid-aisle display of Proofgrade acrylic and wood stocked for a similar reason. I might never buy a sheet from them (so expensive!), but it’s great to know that if I really need a sheet last-minute, I can pop down to the store and grab one.
Yeah I heard that too, that’s why I said that the price analysis isn’t complete without figuring out shipping costs and (particularly) time. I haven’t used any acrylic in so long that I don’t know how estreet is doing these days. Maybe someone here has more recent info about their current stock/shipping situation.
ok, so they just don’t sell the house brand yellow in 12x24 then, i guess?
i would always expect a house brand to be cheaper than a name brand they stock. rowmark is not the least expensive acrylic no matter where you buy it. but as a brand, you know that you’re always getting the same thing when you order “rowmark colorhues yellow,” which sign makers count on.
i’m not trying to $#!^ on your post, i swear. it’s good that this is an option now. some people don’t want to snap down their own sheets. i was just making a cost point. if they charge less for the 20.5" than they do for the exact same thing at 24", then they’re losing money on those strips. it’s probably a 7" x 48" strip of leftovers off the full sheet size (48x48). from their perspective, that extra material is a loss. and all the other vendors i’ve seen who have the GF size sheet charge the same for 12x20 as they do for 12x24. they’re just offering the convenience of selling you a sheet that’s cut to size for you.