Rather than glass, which tends to break easily, people have shifted to plexiglass for all the right reasons.
It is liked for being affordable and easy to use. However, there are specific tips and tricks you can use in learning how to cut plexiglass.
Note that plexiglass, if not treated right, can bend or wrap. So be careful while working on it.
How To Cut Plexiglass
Cutting plexiglass is not merely a task of hands, but we need proper tools to make a good cut that is smooth with appropriate finishing.
You will be needing
Utility knives, drill, buffer, spay bottles, safety goggles, and gloves.
If you are determining the best way to cut plexiglass, remember it depends on the slabs’ thickness. For instance, thicker slabs will require particular tools and will be comparatively difficult than thinner slabs.
Method 1: Scoring and Snapping
Scoring and snapping are considered the best way to cut plexiglass for the ease it provides to the doer. However, it requires you to be patient and relax. Carefully go through the following steps to understand why!
Note that the work surface will play a significant role in the smooth cutting of your plexiglass. Hence, you have to make sure that it is neat and equally levelled.
For sheets that are around 0.5 cm dense, it is the best way to cut plexiglass.
The work surface doesn’t possess any extra material that will hinder the cutting process. In addition to that, check the body by putting weights on different ends. It is done to ensure that the structure will not wobble during the working.
After ensuring that the working area is free from the standard errors, move to the second step.
Now look carefully and draw a line with a dry-erase marker at the point where you want to cut. As the working has started yet, do not wear your goggles while drawing a line. It is recommended that the line must be drawn in proper light and vision.
Use a ruler and a dry-erase marker, consequently to make a straight line. However, if the marker line gets smudge or is not linear, you can remove it with a wet cloth. For these precautionary measures, dry-erase markers are used.
Here comes the use of the tool to cut plexiglass, utility knife. Remember the line we draw before? It is time to cut the slab with the help of a dry-erase marker. From the list of tools for cutting plexiglass, take out a ruler as well. This whole process is surrounded by one idea, to make the cut straight.
Exert pressure on the plexiglass and drag the utility knife on the life you had marked. Make use of the ruler to carry the knife in a straight line.Reminder: you have to be patient and relax.
Keep pulling the knife on the line until you can see a slight deep scratch into the slab. Now turn the plexiglass carefully and repeat the process. It ensures that the cut is deep. For cutting plexiglass at home, it is necessary to make deep cuts. If you a
re a beginner, you may have to run the knife 12-15 times to make it deep enough for easy snapping.
You have to be careful with the sheet. It should be kept in mind the plexiglass can bend or wrap if not appropriately handled. Mainly when you are making the turn, it should be smooth and to avoid any incidents.
Do not stop until you get the desired deep cut.
Now comes the part where you have to snap the plexiglass. If you were wondering how to cut plexiglass at home, it is pretty much scoring and snapping.
Considering that the deep cut has been made, it is time to snap off the part by placing it over the working surface’s edge. It is done to make it easier for the beginner or experienced person to get a comfortable snap position.
Place the sheet that you want to snap over the edge, while the rest of the sheet is placed on the surface. You can also align the cut with the edge of the table to ensure that. After scoring the sheet, snapping is all you have got to do. But one wrong move can waste your hard work done before.
Observe that when you snap the area over the edge, the part of the sheet on the surface will move all along. It will result in bending or wrapping and, more drastically, the wrong cut. This step is of cutting plexiglass involves securing the part of the sheet you do not want to cut or damage.
You can either clamp the sheet or attach weight to it. C clamp or spring can be utilized to ensure that the sheet is secured with the surface. However, in both options, you have to look out for your sheet. The clamp/spring or placing weight both can damage the sheet by causing a dent or unwanted damage.
The final step of one of the best ways to cut plexiglass at home; snap.
After securing the sheet on the work surface, apply pressure on the part placed over the edge. The downward pressure needs to be quick and sharp to ensure that the plexiglass snaps off in one go.
However, if some parts of the sheet remain attached, you can remove that with a plexiglass cutter or a utility knife.
Method 2: Circular Saw
I am introducing another best way to cut plexiglass with a circular saw; to answer the most asked question, can you cut plexiglass with a circular saw.
Initially, you have to select the right circular saw to cut plexiglass at home. Acknowledge that this article’s purpose is not to mention the methods but to ensure that you have a smooth experience. It doesn’t concern me if you are a beginner or experience because there is always something to learn; let’s know about the right circular saw to learn how to cut plexiglass.
Circular saws are used for cutting thick plexiglass sheets. To ensure a perfect cut observe the tool and see if the edges of the blades are of the same size and spaced evenly or not. A carbide-tipped metal-cutting blade will be most suitable for cutting the sheets.
Why we put so much attention on the teeth of the circular saw?
When we cut the plexiglass, there are plenty of dust particles that are not visible to a naked eye. It ultimately makes a mess and causes eye injuries. The fewer the teeth the saw has, the more occasional dirt it will make.
However, you can use specified blades for cutting plexiglass as well.
The methods of how to cut plexiglass with a saw require having a dry-erase marker and a ruler. You are advised to use a dry-erase marker to draw a straight line with a ruler’s help. It vanishes the fear of putting a diverted line or potential or smudges. If it happens, you can remove it with a cloth or towel altogether.
Secure the sheet on the sawhorse to make a fine cut without wobbling the sheet meanwhile. It is always recommended to observe the tools you are using. It gives the advantage of determining the features that will benefit us.
While placing the sheet, you have to ensure that the line you drew aligns with the saw’s cutting guide. It may seem not easy because different angles can confuse you. However, the slot or viewer on the circular saw gives the advantage of determining if your sheet is aligned or not.
Do not forget to secure the sheet accordingly.
Now that we have equally aligned the sheet with the saw’s cutting guide, it is time to cut.
However, we should not cut the sheet unless the blade is in its full rotating potential. It is mandatory to let the saw rotate until it is at maximum speed. We have to do this to avoid rough cuts.
Stay calm and let the blade keep rotating before contacting it with the sheet. Once the saw has reached its maximum potential, let it run on the sheet. But make sure that you are neither too fast, not too slow. The movement of the saw should be at a moderate speed.
If you are confused which brand’s tool you should own, go through this comparison for deeper knowledge; Kobalt vs. craftsman.
There could be times when cutting plexiglass will be more than a straight line. It could be circular or square depending on the needs. And you will wonder can you cut plexiglass in these shapes, well sure you can!
Method 3: Jigsaw
There are numerous tools to cut plexiglass, and one of the best tools is a jigsaw.
One of the many questions I got asked about plexiglass is can you cut plexiglass with a jigsaw, keep reading and find it yourself.
During the purchase of the best jigsaw blade for plexiglass, make sure to know the tool. You might get confused with a bandsaw. However, to differentiate, check for the size as jigsaw is smaller in size.
The jigsaw is limited to cutting the plexiglass in shapes, but it is also a great tool to cut a straight line.
Along with the jigsaw, use a sawhorse. Other than the wooden work stations, the sawhorse works best to hold the plexiglass. It is mandatory to put the sheet in the flat and perfect position. We have to make sure that cutting the whole sheet doesn’t move abruptly, causing unnecessary cuts or damages.
Jigsaw gives the liberty of cutting the sheet in any shape you want. However, the duty falls on you to make the best use of it. Even if you have years of experience, I will use a guide to cut that particular shape.
Select the shape you want to cut your plexiglass. Now use a dry-erase marker to draw a line. In addition to that, you can use a circular object to draw on the plexiglass. The dry-erase marker allows you to erase and redraw again. But make sure to erase it to avoid streaks.
The quality comparison for Ryobi vs. Ridgid can help you decide which jigsaw to buy.
When you start sawing the plexiglass, the tiny particles will surround you, and before you know, they can enter your eyes and cause severe damage. Therefore, it is mandatory to wear safety goggles to have the best experience.
Realize that your goggles need to be clean without any scratches. It will help you to cut by easy following the guide. Furthermore, secure the glasses properly, so they do not fall off while working.
Better to protect yourself before than to experience any damage.
The jigsaw will only work once it fits the sheet. For these purposes, you have to drill a hole in the sheet. You have to pay attention because it is one of the most critical steps. The drilling of holes needs to smooth and at a moderate speed. If you drill you fast, you can damage the sheet. While drilling the spot, you have to consider the size of the blade. The blade needs to be big enough for the blade to fit finely.
However, you have to make extra holes to drill for plexiglass to cut in particular shapes. To cut it in shape makes the hole around the form you want. These holes will make it easy for the jigsaw to turn around accordingly. Know that it is mandatory to avoid any lags in the blades’ movement because it will ultimately damage the sheet.
In this step, you have to stay calm and cautious as well. First, fit the blade into the hole and let it run without making contact with the sheet. As we have discussed above, the circular saw understands that the jigsaw blade moves slower than it. You have to wait till it rotates to its full potential. Why is it necessary?
It is essential, particularly for the jigsaw, because a slow blade can damage the tool itself and injure the user.
Once the jigsaw blade has reached the full potential, let it meet the sheet. However, move the jigsaw with adequate pressure. Ensure you are holding the tool firmly because if you loosen the grip, the jigsaw may fall out of your hand.
In addition to that, if the blade stuck, hold it back to let it come back to its potential. To make a smooth cut, slow down the jigsaw at turning points in case of shapes.
How to make a good finishing cut manually?
There are times when some parts of the sheet do not have a smooth cut. There could be splinters that can cut your hands. It can happen with either method, due to the movement of the blade or the steadiness.
However, you can easily make the cut sharp yet smooth. Read the easy steps below to get the required polishing.
- Sandpaper of 120 to 600 grit (wet-sanding range)
- Sand block either of wood or rubber
- Buffing pad attached power drill
- Polishing compound for plastic
Soak the sandpaper in water either overnight or for 15-30 minutes depends on your plan of working. Work with 120 grit sandpaper and do not stop until you acquire 600 grit paper. Gradually you will observe the edges getting smoother. It is mandatory to get to 600 grit paper as it guarantees the highest smoothness. Now apply the polishing compound to your sheet after adding the buffing attachment to the drill. Keep its processing until the plexiglass becomes smooth.