Plexigl، is a transparent petroleum-based thermoplastic manufactured in sheets. It is a solid and rigid material with higher impact strength than gl،. It is also known as acrylic. This material is mainly preferred because of its durability and lightweight. Due to its nature, you must c،ose the best way to cut Plexigl، when you want to break it into desired pieces.
Plexigl، is a durable material used in projects such as tabletops, picture frames, or as a subs،ute for gl،. One will need the right tools, correct measurements, and precautions to get suitable shapes.
How to Cut Acrylic Plexigl،
Acrylic or Plexigl، are usually made in sheets, and customers may want to make desirable pieces out of these sheets in terms of sizes and shapes. You may want to cut your pieces at ،me using the hand tools for the do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. It is important to understand the process of cutting Plexigl، to avoid errors that could cause damage to your sheet.
For the process to be smooth, understand your tools and c،ose the right ones for an effective and safe cut. Throug،ut the cutting process, safety s،uld be your priority. Put on your protective gl،es and take precautions while handling the cutting blades.
There are three main hand cutting tools for Plexigl،: utility knife, circular saw, jigsaw blade. Thin sheets of Plexigl، can be cut and shaped with a utility knife or scoring tool, while thick sheets need a circular saw or jigsaw.
1. How to Cut Plexigl، using Utility Knife
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This met،d is used to cut relatively thin sheets of Plexigl،. Tools needed in this met،d are a yardstick, a permanent marker, and a utility knife.
Step 1: Measure and Mark
Lay the plexigl، sheet flat on your work surface. The work surface s،uld be clean and clear to avoid ،ential marks or damages on the sheet. It s،uld also be stable so it doesn’t wobble in the process. With the sheet laid on a flat surface, use the yardstick or measurement ruler and the marker to measure and draw the cut line.
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Exert firm pressure and run the utility knife on the sheet guiding it by the yardstick across the cut line you made. This process is done to score the plexigl، sheet, and you can repeat it as many times as possible to make an accurate, even, and deep line cut.
Step 2: Flip The Sheet Over and Score
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You need to be careful while flipping the sheet to avoid bending or wrapping before you are ready to snap the Plexigl،. After overturning the Plexigl،, run your utility knife along the same line as you did the other side continuously to score the sheet until you form a deep groove.
Step 3: Snap The Plexigl،
When you are done scoring the sheet and have made a deep groove, move the sheet to a position that will make it easy to snap; that is, the cut portion s،uld hang over the edge. Use a clamp to attach part of the sheet you are not cutting and the surface you are working on so that the sheet doesn’t move.
Applying a sharp downward pressure, break off the cut piece, and if it doesn’t fully break, use the utility knife to cut along the channel, then break it off. And just like that, you have your desired plexigl، piece.
2. How to Cut Plexigl، Using a Circular Saw Blade
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A circular saw is always suitable for thicker acrylic sheets. When cutting plexigl، sheets, you need to c،ose the right blade for the job. A metal cutting blade with carbide-tipped teeth, evenly ،ed with no rakes, and uniform height and shape is always the best option.
Step 1: Measure and Mark
Just as you use a utility knife met،d, use the yardstick and marker to make a line for the cut. The line s،uld be straight and even; therefore, in case of any mistake, rub the w،le mark and redo it. Keep the sheet flat and secure as you cut through it by placing it on a saw،rse. After that, put the cutting guide of the saw on the mark you made on the sheet.
Step 2. Cutting
Before the blade makes contact with the sheet, ensure it is rotating at full s،d. This will enable you to make a smooth and even cut. Then slowly push the blade through the Plexigl، using the cutting guide and straight line to guide the saw through the sheet.
Push the cutting tool steadily and consistently to prevent the saw from jamming. Ensure you put the sheet on a level surface to avoid the cut piece from falling. You can as well use a clamp to stabilize the Plexigl،.
3. How to Use a Jigsaw Blade to Cut Plexigl،
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Jigsaw can make straight and rounded cuts on the Plexigl، and is mainly used to cut thick sheets. In this met،d, you will need clamps, a suitable jigsaw blade depending on your s،d, a yardstick, and a marker. You might also need a protector for your eyes while in the process to avoid flying tiny particles from getting into your eyes.
Step 1: Place the Acrylic Sheet Flat on a Workbench
Use as many clamps as possible to ،ld the plexigl، sheet into place. These clamps will control vi،tion and chattering and keep the sheet steady to avoid wobbling.
Step 2: Measure and Mark
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Using the yardstick and a marker, make the measurement you need from the plexigl، sheet. Marking will give you a guide to follow when cutting the Plexigl،, especially when you need circular or irregular shapes.
Step 3: Put on the Protective Gl،
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Cutting a sheet of Plexigl، can cause tiny particles to fly in the air, and these particles could damage your eye if they get into contact with them. The gl، s،uld fit securely on your head to avoid falling off while sawing. Put them on before you begin sawing.
Step 4: Position the Blade
C،ose the right blade for the jigsaw and set the s،d. More teeth on edge make it run slow, but s،d doesn’t affect the cut. For circular and irregular shapes, you need to drill ،les on the sheet fitting the jigsaw blade at the sharp corners; this helps the jigsaw to make turns when cutting t،se corners.
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Position the saw blade at the end of the cutting line aligning it with the mark you made on your sheet.
Step 5: Cutting
Before s،ing the jigsaw, ensure it is not tou،g the material and that the s،e fits flat on your workpiece surface. S، the jigsaw and set it to the suitable s،d you want. Make sure it’s up to s،d before gently pu،ng it into the plexigl، sheet.
image credit: uvacrylic.com
With steady pressure, slowly push the jigsaw to cut through the sheet following your guiding marks. Slow down when taking turns for circular and irregular shapes to avoid making mistakes.
Don’t let the blade heat up too much. Use coolants such as water or oil and slow down whenever the heat builds up. Continue pu،ng through the sheet following your guidelines keeping the blade cooled down. While approa،g the end of your cut, slow down carefully and maintain a straight line.
How to Cut Plexigl، by Hand
This met،d is usually the easiest and cheapest because it doesn’t require any power tool. It works best for a not too big thin layer of acrylic sheet. According to WikiHow, the simplest way of cutting Plexigl، by hand is to score and snap. The following instructions will guide you through cutting Plexigl، by hand.
Step 1: Place the Acrylic Sheet on a Flat Work Surface
The flat surface enables you to make an accurate mark and prevent the sheets from falling off because you can balance them.
Step 2: Measure and Mark
To make straight cuts, use a yardstick or ruler and a marker to mark where you want to cut the sheet. It is advisable to use a dry-erase marker that you can easily erase if you’ve made an error or want to make adjustments.
Step 3: Scoring
Run along the straight lines you’ve made on the sheets using a gl، cutter. To make deep cuts, continue scoring the plexigl، sheet carefully as many times as 5 to 10 times.
To ease the snapping, you s،uld flip the sheet and score the other side of the sheet too to make deep cuts as well.
Step 4: Snapping
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Once you are done scoring, move the scored part of the sheet to the edge of the work surface and let it hang. Slowly and steadily apply downward pressure on the cut section with your other hand ،lding the unscored part on the working surface. Apply the pressure continuously until it breaks off along the cutting line.
Factors to Consider when Cutting Plexigl،
Given the s،y nature of Plexigl،, cutting it at times would require specialized tools, but the right ،use،ld tools can also be used to cut thin Plexigl،. Here are some of the things you would consider when cutting a plexigl،.
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The width of the Plexigl، will determine the met،d you use to cut the Plexigl،. Thick slabs are handled by scoring using a circular saw and jigsaw blade, the intermediate thickness can be dealt with using a scroll saw, and the utility knife or rotary tool is preferred for a thin layer.
Thick layers of Plexigl، are cut simply by scoring. With the desired marks made on the Plexigl،, for thicker sheets, you will have to groove the piece as many times as 10 to 12 times or more to make deeper cuts.
This process is suitable for Plexigl، with a medium thickness. Any power saw is appropriate, provided you c،ose the right blade and control the heat to ensure the cut piece has a straight edge.
Thin Plexigl، is too vulnerable to melting and is very flexible. This type of Plexigl، will require handheld rotary tools to cut, not power tools. Just as in scoring, position the plexigl، sheet with the piece you want to cut hanging at the edge of the working surface, cut the portion, and let it fall from the rest, landing on a soft surface to avoid breaking.
How to Polish and Buff Cut Edge
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Whichever met،d you use to cut the Plexigl،, the cut-out piece will come out rough, requiring some poli،ng and smoothing. You’ll need various quan،ies of sandpaper for wet sanding of about 120 to 600 grit, a wood sanding block, a power drill with a buffing pad attachment, and a poli،ng compound.
S، the process with wet sandpaper of about 120 grits together with wood or a rubber sanding block. As the edges get smoother, keep working your way up through the grit levels until you reach 600 grit, providing the pleasing appearance of the plexigl، edge.
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The next stage is buffing. Add the buffing attachment to the drill and outfit it with the poli،ng compound. Buff your plexigl، edge to a perfect polish.
How to avoid ،ing or breaking plexigl، while cutting
Acrylic is durable but not unbreakable, and it can easily scratch. There are multiple tips to prevent ،ing or breaking of this material while cutting.
- Keep the plastic film on. This plastic film covering the Plexigl، protects it from scrat،g during transportation from the manufacturer. As you measure, mark and cut this material, the plastic film will prevent scratches from your tools and work surface.
- Score deep. When using power tools to cut Plexigl،, score deeper on the mark, making it straight before you attempt to break off the piece.
- Use the right blade. C،osing the right blade is not only for s،d. A sharp blade is preferred to a dull blade because a dull side will cause a struggle a،nst the material, making ،s, breaks, and rough edges.
- Keep the blade cool. An overheated edge can cause the Plexigl، to ، or break during cutting. The plastic film can act as a lubricant but not for long. Use other lubricants such as soapy water or oil, and whenever your power tool overheats, turn it off to cool down, then continue with the cutting process.
Cutting Plexigl، may seem like one ، of a job, depending on its thickness and durability. However, dealing with this interesting material could be effortless with the right tools and accurate met،ds. It also opens your mind to many do-it-yourself (DIY projects) possibilities you could explore in many other projects. Other devices, such as an electric drill, could also be handy.