You’re ready for your next DIY project, and you need to cut some plexiglass.
You may already know that a circular saw is a great method to cut plexiglass, and are now looking for tips on how to use this tool most effectively. You’re in the right place!
How to cut plexiglass with a circular saw? It’s step-by-step process that is fairly straightforward, but it will run even smoother if you know some simple tips and tricks.
It’s always important you’re following safety protocol when using power tools, as well as using the most effective methods.
In this guide, I will cover the following:
- A brief introduction to cutting plexiglass
- The materials needed for the cutting process
- The steps to take in the cutting process
- The type of circular blade you should choose
- A few extra tips before you get started.
Let’s get into it!
Cutting Plexiglass with a Circular Saw
Plexiglass is an acrylic sheet often used as a substitute for regular glass, being a lot more lightweight, flexible, and resistant to breakage.
Plexiglass is used in a huge variety of different contexts, such as in various types of windows, DIY projects, and architecture. It is also commonly used as a protective cover for food in restaurants and cafes.
There are a variety of different methods you can use to cut sheets of plexiglass. These include using various types of electric saws, utility knives, hand saws, laser cutting, and waterjet cutting.
However, one of the most common ways to cut plexiglass is by using a circular saw. Typically, a circular saw is used for cutting a plexiglass sheet when you want to adhere to close dimensions and are looking for a sharp finish. Circular saws are suitable for cutting both straight edges and curved lines.
Using a circular saw to cut plexiglass is relatively straightforward! Assuming you’re ready to go, let’s delve into what you’ll need and the steps to follow in the process.
The following are all the materials you will need to begin cutting your plexiglass:
- Circular saw and blade
- Soft lead pencil
- Safety gear
- Clear working area.
Step #1: Choose the Right Blade
Firstly, you’ll need to ensure you have the correct blade for plexiglass.
It’s important that you use a standard blade for metal cutting, not a combination blade. The blade should also have fine teeth (at least five teeth per inch), all of the same height.
Step #2: Put on Safety Gear
Before you’re ready to cut, you need to have the correct safety gear and follow safety precautions. This includes wearing safety goggles, a mask, safety gloves, and sensible clothing.
These should always be worn any time you are using power tools, so make sure you have them ready to go! Also, ensure you are working in safe surroundings.
Step #3: Prepare the Glass for Cutting
An important point to note before you progress is that the protective film on the plexiglass needs to stay on during the cutting process.
Next, you will need to use a ruler and soft lead pencil to mark the area on the plexiglass that you want to cut.
Step #4: Cut the Plexiglass
You’re now ready to start cutting! It’s important when cutting to ensure that the plexiglass is clamped firmly into place. A piece of wood used as a clamp over the plexiglass sheet is effective here.
When cutting, it is also important to use a sharp blade and to ensure the blade is at full speed before commencing. Then, slowly feed the plexiglass through the circular saw at an even feeding rate. Use a blade speed of 3000m/min.
Step #5: Give Finesse to the Glass
Even after your plexiglass is cut, the process is not quite over!
It’s likely the plexiglass may have rough edges, and there are a variety of techniques you can use to remedy this. The first thing you can do is scrape the edges down using any kind of sharp metal surface to create a straighter edge.
If you want an even cleaner finish, you can also use any file (provided it has not been used on metal before) to file down the edges.
Sanding and polishing the plexiglass to fix any scratching or wear are also possible. Wet sanding is recommended, using a coarser sandpaper for deeper scratching and a lighter sandpaper for more fine scratching.
Focus only on the damaged areas! Once this is done, you can then polish the affected area with a hand-driven buffer.
Step #6: Cleaning Plexiglass
To keep your piece of plexiglass in good shape, you can clean it using a mild soap with warm water. Rinse the soap off the plexiglass thoroughly!
It is not recommended to use harsh chemicals or cleaners.
What Type of Circular Saw Blade should you use for Plexiglass?
You may be wondering whether there is any particular type of blade you should use in your saw.
It’s important to use a blade usually recommended for circular saws. However, make sure you use a blade that has fine teeth of even height.
Tips Before Starting the Process
Hopefully, you’re now confident in going ahead and cutting your plexiglass! Here are some additional tips to keep you on track:
Well Lit Room With Proper Ventilation
When cutting plexiglass, you’ll want to work in a safe area that is well-lit so you can see clearly and avoid any accidents and mistakes.
A well-ventilated area is also important to prevent inhalation of any dust. Work in a large room, and open any doors or windows.
Clear Working Area
To prevent mistakes and accidents, make sure your working area is clear of other objects and use a flat surface. Remove any clutter on the ground and ensure you have enough space to move around.
Ensure cords on power saws are not loose so that they don’t get tangled or in your way while cutting.
Wearing protective gear is important for your personal safety! Always wear gloves, eyeglasses, and protective clothing.
While plexiglass is non-toxic, it can still cause irritation if dust is inhaled or if debris gets into your eye. If dust from cutting comes into contact with skin or eyes, rinse affected areas thoroughly.
How do I cut plexiglass without cracking it?
The best way to ensure you don’t crack a piece of plexiglass is to always use a sharp blade.
Always ensure the plexiglass is held firmly in place, and that the saw moves evenly. In addition, check to make sure the blade doesn’t get too hot, as cracking may occur when the blade creates heat in the plexiglass.
What is the most effective way to cut plexiglass?
The most effective way to cut plexiglass for precision is to use a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade. Using this method ensures very accurate precision and will result in a clean edge on your plexiglass. It’s also fast!
Do you need a special saw blade to cut plexiglass?
Any blade that is suitable for a circular saw and metal cutting can be used to cut plexiglass. However, the proper blade needs to be fine, even-toothed, and not a combination blade. A good rule to follow is at least five teeth per inch.