Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cutting Plexiglass - How to Cut Plexiglas acrylic sheet

Cutting Plexiglass sheet. It's something I do every day. And after many years, I have acquired plenty of tools to do it correctly time after time - at the shop. When I get home and want to do some cutting of plexiglass sheet (known generically as acrylic sheet) I find myself in the same shoes as many of you reading this blog.

I found this cool old video from the 70's that gives some background.

video

Generally, not much has changed. Think of plexiglass sheet as a thing sheet of plywood or drywall. It has no grain so it needs support. Clamp a guide to the sheet to allow you to holding saw with 2 hands. Let the blade do the work. If you have to push hard, you're pushing too hard or the blade is dull or incorrect.... Common problems you might have when cutting:

1. Chipping - either too few teeth on blade, dull blade, or pushing too fast into saw blade (maybe RPM issue as well).
If using a sabre saw or skil-saw, prevent the material from chattering - this will cause chipping or breaking.

2. Melting - the exact opposite - too many teeth, too fast RPM, not pushing fast enough into blade to cool it.
Also, unmasked acrylic sheet will melt before masked sheet. Add masking such as blue painter tape.

Thanks to Rohm and Hass (now Arkema Group) for this classic. Haven't see old shop tools like that except at Gramp's house.
But the information is timeless and still 90% accurate today. More videos through out the site.

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