How To: Cut Plexiglass

In a range of applications, from picture frames to tabletops, plexiglas ( besides known as acrylic ) serves as a cost-efficient, shatterproof substitute for glass. In fact, due to its light slant and lastingness, many do-it-yourselfers prefer plexiglas, not least because it can be cut and shaped with common workshop tools. Versatile and ruffianly though it may be, plexiglass international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate perfect. For one thing, it scratches easily. That ’ s why sheets of the material come covered in a reduce layer of protective film. The other downside ? Homeowners who don ’ triiodothyronine know how to cut plexiglas can be intimidated by the material at first—but we ’ ra here to help ! When cutting plexiglas, leave the film in set american samoa long as possible to avoid marring the open. Second, have a bun in the oven in mind that even if you ’ ra careful, it can be difficult to cut plexiglas without leaving a rough, irregular edge. If your plan requires a clean edge, expect to devote energy to smoothing the polish. Simply cutting plexiglas to size is comfortable by comparison. Continue reading for details on how to cut plexiglass—the right way.

How to Cut a Thin Sheet of Plexiglass (with a Utility Knife, Box Cutter, or Glass Cutter)

For a thin tabloid of plexiglass—that is, material up to about 3/16-inch thick—use a scoring method acting not unlike from a technique used to cut actual looking glass .

  1. Lay the sheet on a flat surface and, using a yardstick and a permanent marker (or a grease marker), measure and draw the line you wish to cut.
    Next, hold the yardstick to the marked line, and run the dull side of a utility knife or specialty plexiglass cutting tool along the yardstick to score the sheet.
  2. Score again and again, as many as 10 or 12 times, until you have made a deep groove in the plexiglass.
  3. Flip over the plexiglass, and score the opposite side in the same manner.
  4. To finish, hold the scribed line to the edge of your work surface, and secure the plexiglass in place with a clamp. Then, with sharp downward pressure, snap off the portion of the plexiglass that extends beyond the work surface.

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How to Cut a Thick Sheet of Plexiglass (with a Circular Saw, Saber Saw, Table Saw, or Jigsaw)

For thicker sheets of plexiglas, cut with a world power saw—be it a round saw, saber witness, or table see. ( To cut anything but a straight line, choose for a jigsaw. ) No matter which type of proverb you choose for the tax, it ’ sulfur critically authoritative to use the right sword. There are particular blades designed expressly for acrylic fiber, but any metal-cutting sword with carbide tips can do the whoremaster. Before committing to one blade or another, double-check that its teeth are evenly spaced, with no rake, and of uniform stature and shape. After readying your tool, measuring stick and bell ringer the plexiglas, then cut as you would any other material, clamping if allow. One note of caution : If the blade overheats, the material may chip or shot. Proceed accordingly, water-cooling the blade or pausing your work for a few minutes as needed.

How to Polish and Buff Cut Edges

Whichever cutting method you choose, you may find that the cut plexiglas edge doesn ’ thymine search terribly attractive. If the edit border would be visible in your application, take the extra time to sand and buff out the imperfections. note : You can use a hand-held might drum sander, but manual wet-sanding typically achieves the best results .

  1. Start the process with 120- or 180-grit waterproof sandpaper, in combination with a wood or rubber sanding block.
  2. As the plexiglass becomes smoother, transition to successively finer grits. Finish by sanding with 600-grit sandpaper.
  3. Once you are satisfied with the appearance of the edge, move on to buffing. Outfit your electric drill with a buffing pad and, after applying a polishing compound formulated for plastic, bring the plexiglass edge to a perfect polish.

Tips to Avoid Cracking or Breaking Plexiglass as You Cut

Though plexiglas is a durable material, it ’ s not unbreakable. Keep the follow tips in take care when learning how to cut plexiglas to prevent irreversible damages. ad

  • Keep the plastic film on. As mentioned above, plexiglass usually comes with a thin layer of plastic film intended to prevent scratches as the material travels from manufacturer to retailer to your workshop. Leaving that film on as you measure, mark, and cut will prevent scratches from your tools and work surfaces.
  • Score deep. When using a knife such as a box cutter to cut plexiglass, be sure to score a straight, deep line before attempting to break the material at the mark.
  • Use the right blade. Whether using a hand tool or a power saw to cut plexiglass, it’s important to use a sharp blade. A dull blade will fight against the material, potentially causing cracks and breaks—not to mention an overly rough cut edge.
  • Keep the blade cool. As mentioned earlier, an overheated blade on a power saw can also cause plexiglass to crack and break during the cutting process. Leaving the thin plastic film on the surface acts as a lubricant to an extent, but if your blade starts to overheat, pause and turn off the saw to let it cool. You can also add a small amount of soapy water to the plexiglass surface for additional lubrication while cutting.

RELATED: How to Cut Plastic

Final Thoughts on How to Cut Plexiglass

Every build material comes with a set of quirks and nuances that you can master with exercise. fortunately, it doesn ’ t take long for do-it-yourselfers with woodworking experience to learn how to cut plexiglas.

Although for the time being, you may only need to cut a piece of acrylic down to size, learning to work with this versatile, diaphanous substantial opens up a raw universe of DIY possibilities that you can explore in countless projects for years to come. ad

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