Are you looking for easy ways on how to cut Plexiglass?
When it comes to home improvements or other projects, it might not always be easier to go the DIY route, but it certainly is more satisfying and often cheaper with Tool FAQ. When dealing with Plexiglass -also know as acrylic-, there are various ways to cut it down to fit the size you need for your project- whether you're creating a mirror or new picture frames.
The trick is to know how to adjust it with a variety of tools. Plexiglass best blades are carbide-tipped and might hold an edge 10 - 20 times longer than a tool steel tip. If you're wondering how to cut Plexiglass at home or anywhere else, this is your guide!
Before you start, have a scoring tool, a plexiglass cutting tool, and a measuring tape or ruler ready. If the Plexiglass is less than an inch thick but the scoring tool is not cutting it, you can use a hand saw for cutting a resistant acrylic sheet.
Important! Plexiglas is sold wrapped in a protective paper. Keep the protective paper on for as long as possible, so the Plexiglas won't get scratched.
How To Cut A Sheet Of Plexiglass At Home
Plexiglass is a cheaper, shatterproof alternative to using real glass. It's lighter and often easier to cut with different power tools or a glass cutter than real glass. You can even cut Plexiglass by hand.
Before you even start cutting Plexiglass, make sure you leave the protective film that the Plexiglass came with when you bought it. Otherwise, the surface of the Plexiglass can scratch easily.
If you're just using a thin sheet of Plexiglass, a box cutter is all you'll need to cut it. Here's how to use the tools you already have to cut Plexiglass at home:
- Prepare the work surface; don't remove the protective paper layer on the Plexiglass's surface until your cuts and finishing are complete.
- Lay the plexiglass sheet on the flat surface and use a marker to measure the line you wish to cut.
- Using a straight edge, use a box-cutter or utility knife to score the Plexiglass along the length of the line you drew. Do this as many times as needed until you have scored a deep enough cut.
- Flip the Plexiglass onto its other side and repeat the process of scoring a straight cut along the line with the utility knife blade.
- Once the Plexiglass is thin enough along with the score marks, secure the Plexiglass off the edge of a work table and, with a quick, downward pressure, snap the scored portion of the rest of the Plexiglass.
- Sand down the edges with sanding paper when complete.
However, there are a variety of ways to cut Plexiglass yourself using different workshop tools. Here are some of the most common ways that you can cut Plexiglass from your home workshop.
Method 1: What is the score and snap method?
Score and snap' is a hand-cutting technique that is simple to use when you want to cut light gauge sheet metal, acrylic sheets, thin aluminum, and steel profiles.
This technique needs very little equipment and is very quick.
You'll need a utility knife, a marker pen, a clamp, and a metal square or ruler.
Plexiglass and the score and snap method:
- Lay the plexiglass sheets on the surface
- If necessary, measure and line out where the cut needs to be made.
- Don't forget to wear protective gloves and eye protection. If wearing prescription glasses helps your vision, ensure you wear safety glasses over the top to provide protection from tiny shards of metal that may fly off at speed.
- Hold the straight metal edge of the ruler or square along the mark-up line.
- Score with a sharp tool like a utility knife or scribing tool.
- Line up the scoreline with the edge of the workspace and clamp it down.
- Bend the metal back and forth along the scored line as long as possible until it snaps.
- To cut through rivets or studs fixed through metal sheeting, score lines on either side of the riveted material.
- Rework the part you want to remove back and forth until it snaps off.
Method 2: How To Cut An Acrylic Sheet With A Dremel
A Dremel tool is a high-speed power saw with fine teeth designed for cutting at speeds of up to 35,000 RPMs, which leaves the material with a smooth finish. They also cut straight lines of shapes easier than if you were to do it by hand.
step-by-step guide To Cut Plexiglass With dremel
Step 1: Wear safety goggles and gloves for protection.
Step 2: Place the plexiglass sheet on a flat surface.
Step 3: Use a straight edge to mark the Plexiglass with a marker where you wish to cut it.
Step 4: Clamp the plexiglass sheet to the work surface for stability.
Step 5: When cutting Plexiglass, the Dremel setting speed should be at 6 - 8, and use a 561 multipurpose cutting bit with Plexiglass.
Step 6: Start cutting the Plexiglass by holding the Dremel to the material at a 45-degree angle.
Step 7: When finished, remove the cutting head from the tool and unplug.
Step 8: Sand down the edges when complete.
Dremel tools are suitable for sheets of Plexiglass that are small and not particularly thick. For thick or large pieces of Plexiglass, you'll want to use a more robust tool.
Method 3: Cutting Plexiglass With A Jigsaw
A jigsaw is a power saw tool that has both a motor and a serrated blade. This power tool can be used to cut both straight and curved lines. They know how to cut a various materials and are strong enough to cut anything from wood to metal cutting.
A jigsaw is an excellent tool for when you want to cut a thick sheet of Plexiglass, but due to the Plexiglass's tendency to splinter, some precautions must be taken.
The best way to cut Plexiglass with a jigsaw:
- Use a straight edge to measure where you want the Plexiglass to be cut. Mark your cutting line with a marker and ensure it is evenly spaced where needed.
- Place a piece of wide painter's tape over the cut line, then measure again and place another marked line over the top of the painter's tape.
- As with any power tool, make sure to wear safety goggles, safety gloves, and earplugs when working with a jigsaw.
- Before cutting Plexiglass, turn on the jigsaw and make the first few sharp downward cuts a few centimeters slowly. After a few minutes, the blade will heat up, making it easier to dissect the Plexiglass.
- Hold onto the overhanging section of the acrylic sheet away from the jigsaw blade as you finish cutting on the work surface, so the material doesn't fall and scratch.
Now you have a better idea of how to slice through glass with a jigsaw. Let's look at a larger power tool that's good for cutting Plexiglass.
Method 4: Cutting Plexiglass On A Table Saw
This saw is probably the easiest and most stable way to cut Plexiglas. This particular saw is a large tool that allows you to push material against a large saw blade and get a clean, straight-line cut. They are designed for cutting large pieces of wood and are best used for straightforward cuts- in this case, a sheet of Plexiglass will be easy to cut.
If you're unfamiliar with using this type of tool to cut Plexiglass, here is the best way to use these saws to cut Plexiglass:
- Make sure the Plexiglass you're using is safe to cut with this type of saw. Plexiglass that is at least ¼ inch thick or thicker is safe to use with a table saw.
- Make sure you know what blade you need to be using. Softer Plexiglass will cut better with a saw blade with fewer teeth, while stronger Plexiglass will need a table saw blade with more teeth.
- Measure and mark the size you want to slice your Plexiglass. Use the fence on the saw to lock the Plexiglass into place.
- With your safety goggles and safety gloves on, slowly feed the Plexiglass into the saw from the work surface.
- If the plexiglass chips, you'll need to change the saw to one with more teeth.
- If the plexiglass sheets begin to melt, slow down your feeding of the Plexiglass through the material so that there is less heat.
- Easily sand down the edges when complete. Finish by sanding with 600-grit paper
This saw is a great tool to use to get you a nice straight edge for your Plexiglass. Let's look at one more large power tool that will help you make the perfect cut on your Plexiglass.
Method 5: Cutting sheet Plexiglass With A Circular Saw
Circular saws are very popular among both professionals and those who like to do projects at home. These tools quickly move through the most rigid surfaces. They create an excellent clean cut on most materials, Plexiglass included. This power saw will be pushed into the Plexiglass to complete a fine, clean-cut along the edges. For thicker sheets of Plexiglass, cutting with a circular saw might be a better option.
Here's how you can use a circular saw to cut Plexiglass:
- Place the plexiglass sheet on a flat surface
- Measure and mark the area you want to cut.
- To avoid splinters, use painter's tape over the top of the measure lines and re-draw in marker over the tape.
- Leave a portion of the Plexiglass hanging over the workbench to give you room to work the circular saw.
- Clamp your Plexiglass in place on the surface.
- Wait for the circular saw to reach its full speed before lowering it onto the Plexiglass.
- 3400 RPMs is the recommended circular saw rate for cutting Plexiglass.
- Move your circular saw through the Plexiglass in a slow and smooth motion, both for a fine, clean-slice and to avoid splintering.
- Sand the edges with the appropriate piece of grit paper when complete.
Can you drill a hole in Plexiglass?
Metal drill bits can be used when drilling a hole through the plastic. The drill bits have ground flukes with a 0-degree and 90-degree rake. They can be used on either a thick or thin plexiglass sheet.
Cutting Plexiglass at home is easy to do if you have the right tools to do it. There's no need to take your Plexiglass to an expensive professional. Hopefully, these DIY tips have helped you learn how to cut Plexiglass at home and given you better knowledge on how to complete your next project.