Plexiglass or “acrylic glass” is a kind of transparent material made of plastic. It is often used as an alternative to glass because it is cheaper to produce. However, unlike glass, plexiglass is more flexible.
Since plexiglass is considered as a soft type of plastic, it is highly sensitive to heat. One must take this into consideration when cutting plexiglass. Too much friction from the blade may melt the plastic. Plexiglass is also quite brittle. Too much force applied may cause it to shatter into pieces. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of saw blades to help you deal with these cutting problems.
Materials and Tools
Here’s a list of things you need when cutting Plexiglass:
- circular saw
- extra saw blades
- safety equipment (goggles, gloves etc.)
- ruler or measuring tape
- grease marker or pencil
- sandpaper (medium to fine grain 80-180 grit)
- cold water (optional)
Always Remember: SAFETY FIRST
Do not proceed until you have your safety equipment on (goggles, gloves, etc.)
Step 1. Use your measuring and marking tools to determine how you want to cut your plexiglass.
Step 2. You may need to experiment first and try out the different types of saw blades. This is to determine which one works best for each level of hardness and thickness. You need to be patient as this is usually a hit or miss thing.
You need to use a saw blade with finer teeth because Plexiglass is prone to chipping and breakage. If the plastic is soft, the edges may melt due to friction. If this happens, you may switch to another saw blade with fewer teeth.
Step 3. Once the right blade for the job is determined, place the plexiglass on your work area and turn on the saw.
Move the piece towards the saw slowly. Going faster may cause chipping. You may also spray a little water on the cutting edge of the blade to keep it cool and avoid friction.
Step 4. Use the sandpaper to rub down any imperfections on the edges.
- Always make sure that your blades are clean and sharpened.
- If none of your saw blades are working, try mounting them on backwards.
- If all else fails, you can try cutting your plexiglass with a chisel-pointed soldering iron. It is slower but it will cut through plexiglass like butter.
- Remember that plexiglass can be just as sharp as glass. Avoid handling or stepping on broken shards with your bare hands/feet.