Today, you will learn how to cut plexiglass safely, efficiently and faster – take a look:
What Is Plexiglass?
It is a petroleum-based thermoplastic material with near-limitless applications, benefits and is available in a spectrum of opacities and colors.
This material exhibits excellent flexibility and strength and highly appealing to the eye.
In many instances, it is known as acrylic, usually manufactured in sheets as lightweight and shatter-resistant alternative to glass.
How To Cut Plexiglass With Hand Tools
You can use several hand tools to cut plexiglass into desired size and shape.
The common hand tools often used in this process include a utility knife, glass cutter, or box cutter.
Often, the procedures for cutting plexiglass using such hand tools are more or less similar, with slight variations, if any.
Here is a step-by-step process for cutting plexiglass perfectly using hand tools;
Step 1: Positioning The Plexiglass Sheet
Place the plexiglass sheet on a flat surface to make it easier for you to measure and mark it accordingly.
The essence of putting it on a flat surface is that it prevents it from wobbling during cutting
Ensure the work surface is clean and clear to prevent any marks or potential damage to the material.
Step 2: Measure And Mark
Use a measurement ruler or a yardstick and the marker to measure and draw the line to cut.
Press the utility knife firmly and run it on the sheet as a guide by the yardstick across the cut line you created.
The essence of this process is to score the plexiglass sheet, and you can repeat it severally to make an accurate, consistent, and deep line cut.
Step 3: Flip The Sheet Over And Score
When flipping the sheet, be careful to prevent wrapping or bending before you are ready to snap the material.
Once you overturn the plexiglass, run your utility knife, box cutter, or glass cutter along the same line as you did other side.
Continuously score the plexiglass until you create a deep groove.
Step 4: Snap The Plexiglass
After scoring the material and creating a deep groove, position the plexiglass in a way to make it easier to snap.
Ideally, ensure the cut portion hangs over the edge.
Attach the part of the sheet you are not cutting to the surface you are not working on using a clamp to prevent the sheet from moving.
Break off the cut plexiglass sheet by applying intense downward pressure.
If it doesn’t break fully, use the cutting tool to cut along the channel and break it off.
You’ll ultimately have your desired plexiglass piece.
How To Cut Plexiglass Using Saw
A circular saw is commonly used in cutting plexiglass sheets into different shapes and sizes.
Hence, it is imperative to select the right blade for the task.
An ideal choice should be a metal cutting blade with carbide-tipped teeth uniformly spaced without rakes.
saw used in cutting plexiglass
The blade should also have a uniform height and shape.
Here are the main steps involved in cutting plexiglass using a circular saw;
Step 1: Measure And Mark
Use a marker and yardstick to create a line for the cut.
Ensure the line is straight and consistent, and in case of any error, correct and redo it.
Place the sheet on a flat surface and secure it as you cut it by placing it on a sawhorse.
Put the saw-cutting guide on the mark you created on the sheet.
Step 2: Cutting
Ensure the cutting blade is rotating at full speed before it makes contact with plexiglass sheet.
It enables it to make smooth and even cuts.
Push the blade slowly through the plexiglass using the cutting guide and straight line to guide the saw through the sheet.
Next, push the cutting tool gradually and consistently to ensure the saw does not jam.
While at it, ensure you put the plexiglass sheet on a level surface to prevent the cut piece from falling.
You can also clamp the plexiglass for stability during cutting.
How To Cut Plexiglass With CNC Machine
Industrial CNC router is commonly used for high-volume cutting where speed, precision, and smooth surface finish are of great concern.
CNC machine used in cutting plexiglass
Here are the main aspects surrounding cutting plexiglass with CNC Machine;
To attain the best results, it is recommended that you hold the plexiglass securely to prevent it from vibrating or flex, ruining your cut.
Always use specific bits designed for acrylic cutting since the general ones won’t necessarily provide best results.
You can use bits of all sizes, but it is generally advisable to use largest bit possible for creating your design.
This increases depth possible and wastes material removal and stability during cutting.
The bits should always stay sharp since dull bits will never produce the edges you deserve.
Suitable feed rate for cutting plexiglass is around 75-300 IPM based on the bit size.
For instance, 1/8 “ bit would be suitable on low end of between 75-150 IPM, whereas ½ “ works best at 200-300 IPM.
The ideal spindle speed for cutting plexiglass is at least 18,000 RPM.
However, you can use higher RPMs only if you adjust the feed rate to prevent the material from melting.
It is advisable to aim for about double the bit diameter for a uniform cut.
Essentially, this is also a good practice to prevent the bit from breaking.
Ensure you have the machine Ramp starting point in your post-processor program rather than plunging it straight down.
It is much smoother and prevents any distortion from breaking the plexiglass surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Cleanest Way To Cut Plexiglass?
It depends on the specific method you use to cut the plexiglass sheet.
However, ensure you use a high-quality blade with crosscut teeth to avoid chipping the piece during cutting.
Can A Laser Cutter Cut Plexiglass?
Yes. Laser cutter is efficient in cutting plexiglass, but it rarely produces polished flame edges.
What Is The Best Lubricant To Use While Cutting Plexiglass?
You can always use soapy water or oil or any other lubricant as long as its chemical composition won’t compromise quality of the final product.