Professionals and DIY workers both use plexiglass, aka acrylic sheet create a tabletop, picture frames and in other applications instead of glass. They do it because plexiglass is durable and cost-effective compared to glass.
Plexiglass is a type of plastic. So, when the power saw generates heat, it might melt. Hence, you must choose the right plexiglass table saw blade when it comes to cutting plexiglass on a table saw.
The process is relatively straightforward anyway. It includes-
Step 1: Measuring the Plexiglass
Likewise, every decorative and woodworking job, cutting plexiglass with a table saw starts with the proper measurement. Use the measuring tape to figure out the thickness and length of the plexiglass correctly.
A table saw works well on the thicker plexiglass. If the acrylic you are working is too thin, we recommend you to use a plexiglass knife or Ryobi utility knife to cut the sheet. The table saw will work best to cut a thick plexiglass sheet. The higher speed of its blade might chip or crack the thin acrylic sheets and ruin your efforts.
Note: If the plexiglass thickness is ¼” or above, you can use the table saw to cut it. Otherwise, use the utility knife to score it and snap into two pieces.
Step 2: Choosing the Right Table Saw Blade
You must remember that plexiglass is available in two variations when it comes to cutting plexiglass with a table saw. These variations are a soft material and rigid material. Since soft plexiglass will melt quickly, you must use a blade with lesser TPI (Tooth Per Inch) so that it generates less friction and heat during the cutting process.
On the contrary, use higher TPI to cut harder and rigid plexiglass as higher TPI works fast and reduces the chances of chipping the plexiglass sheet.
Also, if you have to deal with cutting multiple sheets, at first, cut the harder ones. Then change the blade for cutting plexiglass sheets made of soft material. It will reduce your workload of changing the blade more than twice.
Step 3: Measuring the Appropriate Cut Size
Determine how large or small pieces of the acrylic you will need for the furniture making process. Then, you will have to cut the plexiglass sheet accordingly. You must cut the plexiglass with the appropriate size so that it fits your furnishing requirements.
Step 4: Never Ignore the Safety Requirements
You should never blindly believe a power tool. So, whenever you use a table saw, make sure you have the right protective gear. You must wear protective goggles and gloves to avoid any uncalled-for hazards while cutting acrylic with the table saw.
Also, make sure the workplace is clean and you have the right visibility through the porthole to the cutting material.
Step 5: Setting Up the Table Saw Fence
This is one of the most essential tips for cutting plexiglass. When you set up the table saw fence on the platform to accommodate and hold the plexiglass tightly, you will have to compensate for the blade thickness.
It is crucial so that the plexiglass cutting piece doesn’t get narrower than you would want it. Also, lock the fence properly with the attached screws.
Step 6: Making the Actual Cut
Turn on the table saw and allow the blade to come to its desired speed. As the table saw fence tightly holds one end of the plexiglass, feed the other side of it with the table saw blade running at its full speed.
Use a wooden guide to work with the thin plexiglass strips to keep your hands at a safe distance from the blade. Use the guide to push the plexiglass through the blade. Also, don’t hasten and cut slowly. If you see plexiglass melting, slow down the speed to generate less heat.
If you find chips on the acrylic sheet, stop working and change the table saw blade with higher teeth numbers on it. Higher TPI will reduce the chipping rate considerably.
Step 7: Sanding the Plexiglass Edges
The last step of how to cut plexiglass on a table saw is to sand the edges to make them smooth. When you use the table saw, the newly cut edges of the acrylic sheet are uneven. So, you can’t directly use those edges with the furniture.
Hence, sanding is crucial. Also, due to melting, you will see glazing on the edges.
Use fine-grit sandpaper to smoothen the edges and remove the glazing for a perfect look of the plexiglass.
How to Cut Acrylic Sheet by Hand -Youtube
Other Ways of Cutting Plexiglass
We understand that cutting plexiglass with a table saw is the best solution by miles to all. However, not everyone, especially the homeowners and DIY workers, might have access to the table saw?
So, what do you do then? Well, there’re other tools to cut plexiglass as well. For instance, you might think of cutting plexiglass with a circular saw.
The two most practical and easy ways to cut acrylic sheet without the table saw is listed below.
Cutting Plexiglass with A Grinder
You can cut thin plexiglass with a grinder. However, you must remember that grinding plexiglass to cut it into various pieces won’t yield smooth results. You might use a Dremel grinder for the process. Also, you will need a buffing wheel for smoothening the edges after grinding the acrylic sheet.
We, thus, recommend you to use a buffing wheel for drill lowes to grind the plexiglass into pieces perfectly. Then, use a fine grit paper to sand the edges and glazes. Also, the grinding process of the material is almost the same as that of using a utility knife.
Cutting Acrylic with A Utility Knife
You can also prominently use a utility knife to cut the thin acrylic sheet or plastic. The process is pretty simple too. It includes-
- On a flat surface, place the material and mark the cut line with a marker.
- Position a yardstick along the cut line and run the utility knife across the yardstick.
- You will have to perform the scoring at least 10 to 12 times to cut through the plexiglass.
- Once one side is done, flip over the material and repeat the scoring.
- Clamp the sheet tightly and put pressure to snap off the scored plexiglass.
- Finally, buff the uneven edges with the sandpaper.
Cutting Acrylic with A Table Saw
An acrylic sheet and plexiglass are the same thing. So, the cutting process of the acrylic with the table saw is similar to that of the cutting plexiglass. You can follow our guideline mentioned right above here. Also, it is possible to cut plexiglass with the bandsaw. The process is identical to the table saw the application, and so, you should find it easy too.
When you buy plexiglass to use with the furniture, you must get one with the right strength. The strength is essential because weak or less sturdy plexiglass might break down. Also, various brands manufacture plexiglass with different strengths.
Some tests on different plexiglass brands include the following results-Source
|Steel ball weight on the material
|Breaking point F50 energy
The table clearly shows that plexiglass has the most strength. So, when it comes to impact-resistant and longevity, plexiglass material is miles ahead of glass materials.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What kind of saw blade do you use to cut plexiglass?
The type of saw blade to cut plexiglass will depend on its thickness. If you want to cut thin and soft materials, we recommend you to use the saw blade with fewer teeth. It generates heat and friction and prevents plexiglass from melting. And to cut harder plexiglass, use a saw blade with higher teeth so that it cuts through smoothly.
Can you cut plexiglass with a Dremel?
Yes, you can effectively and quickly use a Dremel to cut plexiglass. You might use a grinding Dremel with the right-sized buffing wheel to cut the acrylic. But it provides only irregular cuts.
What is the best way to cut a plexiglass sheet?
The best way to cut a plexiglass sheet is to use a table saw with the right blade. A table saw is easy to use, and its fencing guide helps you cut through the material accurately. Also, use a push stick to pass the plexiglass sheet through the saw blade safely.
Can you use a table saw to cut acrylic?
We have already mentioned that both acrylic and plexiglass are similar materials. So, you can quickly use the table saw to cut the acrylic.
When you look for ways to how to cut plexiglass on a table saw, this detailed guideline will surely benefit you. But if you lack a table saw, there’s nothing to worry about. You can use a utility knife, Dremel grinder, bandsaw or any other suitable tool to cut plexiglass.
When you use any power saw for cutting plexiglass sheets, make sure you choose the right saw blade depending on the softness or hardness of the material. It will help you get the best cutting results for the acrylic sheet.