How to Cut Plexiglass

How to Cut Plexiglass

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When it comes to home improvements or other projects, it might not always be easier to go the D.I.Y (do-it-yourself) route, but it certainly is more satisfying and often cheaper. When it comes to dealing with plexiglass, there are a variety of ways to cut it down to fit the size you need for your project. If you’re wondering how to cut plexiglass at home or anywhere else, this is your guide!

How To Cut Plexiglass at Home

Plexiglass is a cheaper, shatterproof alternative to using real glass. It’s lighter and often easier to deal with than real glass since it can be easily cut at home with some standard tools found in any home workshop. Before you even start cutting, 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:

  • Place the plexiglass on a flat surface and use a marker to measure the line along which you wish to cut.
  • Using a straight edge, use a box-cutter or utility knife to score 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.
  • Once the plexiglass is thin enough along the score marks, secure the plexiglass off the edge of a work table and with a quick, downward pressure, snap the scored portion off the rest of the plexiglass.
  • Sand down the edges 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.

How to Cut Plexiglass

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Dremel

A Dremel tool is a high-speed cutting tool that allows users to cut with speeds of up to 35,000 RPMs, which leaves the material with a smooth finish. They also make cutting straight lines of shapes much easier than if you were to do it by hand.

Here is a step by step guide on how to use a Dremel to cut plexiglass:

  • Use a straight edge to mark the plexiglass with a marker where you wish to cut it.
  • When cutting plexiglass, the Dremel setting speed should be on 6 to 8. It’s recommended to use a 561 multipurpose cutting bit with plexiglass.
  • Start cutting the plexiglass by holding the Dremel to the material at a 45-degree angle.
  • When finished, remove the cutting head from the tool and unplug.
  • Sand down the edges when complete.

Dremels are good 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 hardy tool.

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a power tool that has both a motor and a serrated blade. These particular tools can be used to cut both straight and curved lines. They’re useful with a wide variety of materials and are strong enough to cut anything from wood to sheet metal. A jigsaw is a great tool for cutting plexiglass, but due to the tendency for the plexiglass to splinter, some precautions must be taken.

Here is the best way to use a jigsaw to cut glass:

  • Use a straight edge to measure where you want the plexiglass to be cut. Mark your cutting line with a marker.
  • Place a piece of wide painters 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 use safety goggles, safety gloves, and earplugs when working with a jigsaw.
  • Turn on the jigsaw and cut the first few centimeters slowly. After a few minutes, the blade will heat up, making it easier to cut the plexiglass.
  • At the end, hold onto the overhanging section of plexiglass away from the blade as you finish cutting, so the material doesn’t fall and scratch.

Now you have a better idea of how to cut glass with a jigsaw. Let’s look at a larger power tool that’s good for cutting plexiglass.

How to Cut Plexiglass on a Table Saw

A table saw is probably the easiest and most stable way to cut plexiglass. A table saw is a large tool that allows you to push material against a large saw blade and get a clean, straight-line cut. Table saws are best used for straight cuts.

If you’re unfamiliar with using this type of tool to cut plexiglass, here is the best way to use a table saw to cut plexiglass:

  • Make sure the plexiglass you’re using is safe to cut with a table saw. Plexiglass that is at least ¼ inch thick or thicker is safe to cut with a table saw.
  • Make sure you know what blade you need to be using. Softer plexiglass will cut better with a table saw blade that has fewer teeth, while stronger plexiglass will need a table saw blade with more teeth.
  • Measure the size you want to cut your plexiglass. Use the fence on the table saw to lock the plexiglass into place with your measurements lined up to the saw.
  • With your safety goggles and safety gloves on, slowly feed the plexiglass into the saw.
  • If the plexiglass chips, you’ll need to change the saw to one with more teeth.
  • If the plexiglass begins to melt, slow down your feeding of the plexiglass so that there is less heat.
  • Sand down the edges when complete.

A table saw is a great tool to use that will 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.

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw

Circular saws are very popular among both professionals and those who like to do projects at home. They create a nice clean cut on most materials, plexiglass included. Unlike the table saw where you feed the plexiglass into the blade, the circular saw will be pushed into the plexiglass to complete a fine, clean-cut along the edges.

Here’s how you can use a circular saw to cut plexiglass:

  • Measure and mark your plexiglass with a marker with a straight edge.
  • To avoid splinters, use painters 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 table.
  • 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-cut, and to avoid splintering.
  • Sand the edges when complete.

Conclusion

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 D.I.Y tips have helped you learn how to cut plexiglass at home and given you better knowledge on how to complete your next project.

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