Plexiglass, also known as acrylic, is a highly useful and versatile product that can be easy to work with when you have the right knowledge. Plexiglass is the trademark name, so it is best to refer to this material as acrylic sheets. It is an effective, shatter-proof alternative to glass, making it perfect for everything from picture frames and tabletops to windows, greenhouses, bathroom enclosures, and more. Because it does not crack or break as easily as glass does, it is easier and safer to cut. Additionally, it is also resistant to heat and inclement weather conditions. With all of these beneficial qualities, it is no surprise that you have chosen acrylic sheets for your project material.
It is important to learn some tips on cutting and shaping acrylic sheets, so continue reading to review some helpful advice you’ll need.
The Tools You Need for Acrylic Sheet Cutting
The first tip is to be sure you are wearing protective gear like eye goggles and gloves. Depending on the thickness of the plexiglass, you will need either a scoring tool or a power saw. For thicker sheets of plexi, you will need a circular, saber, or table saw. For thinner sheets, you can make do with a simple scoring tool. Anything over 3/16 of an inch thick should be cut with a power saw.
When preparing to cut plexiglass, be sure you leave the protective film in place for as long as possible to prevent surface blemishes. Also, keep in mind that it is not always simple achieving a smooth edge from cutting. If your project calls for smooth edges, you will likely need to devote some time to smoothing the edges once you are finished with the cutting process.
To cut thinner sheets of plexi, be sure to lay your sheet on a flat surface before getting started. Use a yard stick and marker to draw the lines you wish to cut. You will then use one hand to hold the yard stick in place along the line, while using the other hand to maneuver the scoring tool and make the cut. You will need to score the line at least 10 times to penetrate the plexiglass, sufficiently. Flip the sheet over and repeat the first 3 steps. Once both sides are scored, clamp the sheet to your workstation, place the scored line at the edge of your work desk, and then snap it off!
You can use a saber, circular, or table saw to cut acrylic sheet. But regardless of which sander you choose, it is vital to use the proper blade. There are special sander blades designed specifically for cutting plexiglass. Look for these at your local home improvement store. However, any metal carbide blade should work well. Simply clamp the sheet to your workstation and proceed as you would normally with your cutting tool.
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