With what and how to cut plexiglass and what are the requirements to the tool?

Plexiglas is one of the first composite materials, it combines well the properties of plastic material and glass. Thanks to the special physical and mechanical features of this polymeric material, among which we can highlight the strength and flexibility, it turned out to create a product that lends itself to a variety of processing methods.

Plexiglass, also called acrylic or plexiglass, can be cut, sawn, cut, sharpened, and other types of impact. The different names in most cases are related to manufacturers and brands. Not only is it a good substitute for glass, but it surpasses it in a number of ways:

  • Has high mechanical strength compared to glass;
  • Withstands heavy loads, which allows you to create large containers out of it;
  • Due to its ease of processing, it is used to create graceful interior elements or other small things with complex shapes.

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How to cut Plexiglas

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Acrylic glass (polymethyl methacrylate) is a hard transparent plastic, better known as plexiglass. Plexiglass, or organic glass, is mostly used instead of glass because of its strength, it is not as brittle as regular glass. You can buy Plexiglas in sheets and cut it with ordinary wood tools. Part 2 describes how to cut small and large pieces of organic glass.

Use this method to cut small pieces of Plexiglas. (A sheet you can easily handle without help.).

  • Leave as much paper on the glass as possible until you finish your project. When you are ready to remove the packaging, simply pick up one corner of the protective packaging and remove it.

Place the sheet (still covered by the protective wrapping) on a flat, even surface. If you don’t have a workspace, you can set up the wood sawing stakes. Use as many work surfaces as possible to support the weight of the Plexiglas.

Have a yardstick to measure the piece you want to cut. Do not use a cloth or metal tape measure. A yardstick is best for this material.

  • Place the yardstick on the line you have marked.
  • Run the glass cutter or knife five to ten times along the line. The deeper the cut, the easier the pieces of Plexiglas will detach. There are several ways to cut Plexiglas:
  • Use a glass cutter.
  • Use the sharp end of a paper knife or the blunt side of a knife to cut it.
  • Cut the Plexiglas on both sides to make it easier to break off. Technically you don’t “cut” the Plexiglas, you just make deep notches to make it easier to break it off.

Place the cut piece on the edge of your work space. If you cut just one piece, position it so you can clearly see the trimmer line of the cut you marked.

Press down on the part you cut off. Press down hard enough to break off the cut part. It is easier to do this if you place wood blocks along a piece of Plexiglas and push it down. This pressure will be more than enough.

  • Clamp a piece of organic glass on a table or loom.
  • Use a power saw to smooth out the corners of the plexiglass. This method is suitable if your Plexiglas sheet is at least 5 cm thick. Place the plexiglass so you have enough protrusion to provide enough clearance for the saw blade.
  • Take a drill with a buffer for thicker pieces of Plexiglas. Coat the sanding pad with the polishing compound before you start polishing the surface of the glass.

Use high speed metal blades. Buy blades designed for cutting Plexiglas. Use a carbide blade if you cut more than one Plexiglas sheet at a time or a thicker piece.

  • In a bottle, mix together a couple of drops of emulsion and water to make a spray.
  • Spray the blade with this solution. There is no need to liberally apply this mortar, and in most cases it is not useful at all.

Work with the saw at the right speed. The ideal speed when cutting Plexiglas is 3,450 rpm. The feed rate of the material should be about 10 cm per second. Maintain a correct and constant speed so that you do not break the Plexiglas or the blade will not jam.

Polish sharp corners. Use an electric saw or polishing drill to smooth out the edges.

How to Easily Cut Plexiglass and Acrylic Sheets

Hacksaw for working on metal

One of the most affordable options is to use a hacksaw. A good alternative to sawing plexiglass at home.

Plexiglas can be compared to beech in its hardness. So you can imagine how difficult and time-consuming it would be to re-saw the material. In addition, you will need to make sure that the glass is not heated. So you have to work very slowly.

Marking is convenient to do with a marker, it leaves a bright and visible mark. A fishing line for trimmer cuts well with a knife, a nail.

In this case, a hacksaw is an option, how to cut plexiglass at home, only if you have to cut in a straight line. Good shape cuts are not possible.

Good to know. When the blade gets stuck during operation, pour some water. This will help cool down the cutting line for the trimmer.

Table saw

A table saw is also suitable for straight cuts. The blade guard and end gauge allow for easier inspection and more accurate work. Power of even inexpensive saw is more than enough for plastic.

If you can not find a special saw, any cutting blade with thin teeth (that is, with a lot of teeth) should also work. Typical woodworking blades simply break and damage the plastic, making them unsuitable.

Apply painter’s tape along the cutting line to soften the chips. Keep in mind that moving too fast will melt and weld the freshly cut acrylic or other plastics, making it a solid piece.

How and what to glue plexiglass with?

Generally speaking, the technology of gluing plexiglass is not simple and differs greatly from the gluing of ordinary glass. If you glue ordinary glass with silicone adhesive or a hot melt gun, then the gluing of plexiglass is not the best results.

Plexiglas should not glue such as cyanoacrylate glue, the glass in the bonding areas can because of this turn white, clean it is impossible. This glue is liquid, and it goes in there. Where is not necessary, and it sticks in a second, which is also not very good. The only good thing about cyanoacrylate glue. It’s a very strong grip.

For gluing Plexiglas recommend using dichloroethane, it is a transparent liquid, strongly poisonous, so you should not smell it! Dichloroethane dissolves almost any plastic and glues them together. Buy dichloroethane in the radio components departments, or wherever they sell adhesives.

Before gluing the joints of Plexiglas must first be smoothed and cleaned, then evenly apply dichloroethane on the bonded surfaces and without letting them dry, connect them. Then you need to prepare a mixture of shavings of plexiglass and dichloroethane, take the shavings or pieces of plexiglass and dissolve them in this liquid. The consistency of the mixture should be similar to kissel, the seam should be filled with this mixture. For the first time it is worth practicing with some unnecessary pieces of Plexiglas.

Again, dichloroethane is very poisonous, you shouldn’t breathe it! Work in a well-ventilated room or outside. After the work it is necessary to wash your hands in warm water with soap and water.

Cutting with an electric jigsaw

The use of an electric jigsaw is quite justified, but it must have a speed control. Special files for organic glass are used for cutting.

If you can not buy them or need to cut already, use wood saws. Here there is a main rule: the teeth should be fine, and the cutting speed is low. At high speeds the cut starts to melt and turns white. Such white stitches are not good for some products.

Advice: in order to deburr and make the cut clean it is necessary to heat it with a gas flame. As a last resort you can use a lighter.

The jigsaw can also make curved cuts. For this use narrow band saw blades should be chosen.

Tip: When you buy fume files for organic glass, pay attention to the marking. It should have the Latin letters MP.S.Cutting with MP files.S curved pieces Pay attention to the feed rate while cutting. The higher the speed, the higher the feed rate can be. Feed rate and RPM are chosen experimentally so that the acrylic does not melt.

A full face shield must be worn while cutting to protect your face from high velocity splinters.

If the parts have a complex curved shape, it is acceptable to use a nichrome spiral to cut organic glass.

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There is another “tricky” feature in this kind of cutting. with the torch at.

If the plexiglass is thick, say four millimeters or thicker, you can cut through half, then insert a nichrome wire, heat until the smoke goes, quickly remove and bend the workpiece in the side of the cut.

The edges of Plexiglas are fused together and you get a perfect bend without gluing.

We used to have a lot of nichrome, so we didn’t take the wire out, we just bent it until it was hot and then cut it.

Vinyl plastic and other fusible plastics are handled the same way.

I cut Plexiglas with the back of a writing knife, there is a notch on the blade, scratched a deep groove and then lamal at the flat edge of the table sharp movement, most importantly that this groove was of equal depth along the entire length, especially on the edges

Plexiglas sawing methods

If you decide to engage in the manufacture of some acrylic products, or maybe you need to make a repair of an existing product, then you may well need to saw it to remove the deformed element. The following methods are available at home:

  • Use a hacksaw for metal. Plexiglas with a thickness of 8 mm can be easily cut with this tool, but be prepared for the fact that the place of the cut will be messy, you will need additional grinding file or file.
  • You can use a cutter. The method is as follows: the element of plexiglass, which should be cut, press the ruler of metal, then spend a couple of times a cutter. The thickness is cut through by half and it is carefully finished.
  • The circular saw will also work, it can easily cope with organic glass 8 mm or thicker. Some craftsmen use metal cutters with a thickness of 0.5-1 mm. In the process of working with cutters, they are relatively quickly triggered, this leads to the emission of smoke, with the surface becomes rough, and because of the high temperature can foam. To avoid such a result it is necessary to cool the saw while working. To do this, you can install a container of water on one side of the cutter and from there feed it through a plastic hose. With this cooling it is possible to achieve a neat and clear cut.
  • If you need to cut a 8 mm or other plexiglass sheet not in a straight line, you can use a nichrome thread.To do this, you will need to build a small cutting tool. The nichrome filament needs a good warming up, so it is connected to a 24V transformer or less. When the thread will be heated, it can be cut through the acrylic according to a predetermined trajectory.
  • Another method of cutting plexiglass 8 mm thick or with other parameters is to use a slotted screwdriver. Having put its end to the place of the cut, the blade is heated with a 25W soldering iron. When the temperature reaches the melting point of the material, a sharp movement of the straight line for the trimmer should be drawn along the guide ruler. After that, you just have to break off the piece, it will be very easy to do.

As can be seen from the above information, cutting plexiglass at home is not a difficult task. Homemade craftsmen use the methods listed above, and also adapt and come up with more convenient and affordable methods. You can use a jigsaw, and if the thickness of the material is less than 2 mm, even an ordinary office knife will cope with cutting.

Regardless of the chosen method of cutting or sawing plexiglass, in order to obtain a neat cut, it is recommended to grind, and then polish it.

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