What is the best way to cut plexiglass at home

All about self-cutting plexiglass

Acrylic glass is called plastic. It is obtained by mixing methylacrylic acid with the ester components and their subsequent polymerization. Also known as acrylic, plexiglass, plexiglass. Not inferior to glass in transparency, but has less weight. When heated to 90-100 ° C, the material becomes malleable. It can be bent and formed into the required shape. This property must be taken into account when processing. When heated, it is easy to deform the workpiece.

Acrylic begins to melt at 160 ° C. The blade of the power tool heats the workpiece as it cuts. The temperature rather quickly passes the melting point. Plexiglas melts, its particles stick to the cutting assembly, which complicates the work. So it is advisable to use cooling. So, the production line blows with a stream of cold air or water. In the home workshop the latter method is usually used.

plexiglass, home

Cutting with an electric jigsaw

The use of an electric jigsaw is justified, but it must have a speed control. Special files for organic glass are used for cutting.

How to Cut Plexiglass Without Chipping

If you can not buy them or need to cut already, then use wood files. Here the main rule is that the teeth should be fine and the cutting speed slow. At high speeds the cut starts to melt and turns white. Such white seams are not suitable for some workpieces.

Tip: in order to remove burrs and make a clean cut it should be heated by the flame of a gas torch. As a last resort a lighter can be used.

The jigsaw can also make curved cuts. For this it is necessary to choose narrow saw blades.

Tip: When buying fume files for organic glass, pay attention to the marking. It should have Latin letters MP.S.

Cutting with MP files.S curved details

While cutting, pay attention to the feed rate of the tool. The higher the speed, the faster the feed rate can be. Feed rate and speed should be chosen experimentally so that acrylic does not melt. A full face shield must be worn during cutting to protect against splinters flying at high speed.

If the parts have complex curved shapes, it is acceptable to use a nichrome spiral to cut organic glass.

Cutting Plexiglas on an industrial scale

In production the most common method is cutting plexiglass with a laser beam. Certainly, it is faster and more convenient than other methods. The laser cuts the sheet on a perfectly flat scythe line, the cuts remain slightly rough and require little effort to polish, and there is virtually no waste. There are a couple of disadvantages with this method. not everyone has a laser system yet. This is the main disadvantage. Also, when you cut with a laser, you create internal stress in the material at the atomic and molecular level, which is the second disadvantage. Just sheets of plexiglass after laser processing is not recommended to join the adhesive. the connection will not be strong.

Rules of cutting

In order to qualitatively cut plexiglass with their own hands at home, experienced craftsmen advise adhering to some rules (they apply not only to acrylic, but also to plexiglass, and cellular polycarbonate).

  • It is much easier to cut a shaped workpiece or cut off a flat piece of acrylic glass if before starting to work you heat the material over a heat source: a gas torch or a construction dryer. It must be done at a considerable distance, so as not to melt the material.
  • Cutting out blanks from plexiglass of small thickness from 2 mm to 5 mm can be done with an electric jigsaw. It can be used not only to make a straight cut, but also to make a circular cut. Use a narrow and thin blade with fine teeth.
  • It is easier to cut glass with a blade that is marked MP. S. The steel for making the blades is hardened and has a high strength.
  • Saw glass at low blade feed speed. You can find the right speed for each tool by using a practical method. In the process of sawing, it is important to make sure that the acrylic glass does not start to melt.
  • Wear safety glasses or a face mask when cutting organic glass. When sawing the material, a large amount of fine splintering chips are formed, which fly in different directions at high speed.
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The greatest difficulty in home cutting organic glass arise when you create complex curved cuts. The easiest way to solve this problem is to use the laser industrial equipment, where automated control allows you to perform all the necessary functions with the highest accuracy and without human intervention. Acrylic is cut by hand according to a pre-made template. The easiest way to make such a cut is with a mill. The contours of the resulting blanks will have nicks and roughness, which are eliminated by grinding.

At home, accelerate the process of cutting organic glass can be achieved by using red-hot nichrome wire connected to a 24 V voltage source. The heated nichrome wire penetrates the acrylic material at the desired cutting point. This creates smooth cut edges.

To assemble yourself such a device is quite possible at home, the main thing is to choose a quality nichrome wire with the correct diameter to withstand heating to a temperature of 100°C.

What else can be used to cut plexiglass

Besides mechanical methods for cutting Plexiglas, thermal methods are also used. It allows to cut quickly sheets of material of any thickness, and also to receive workpieces with curvilinear surfaces.

The basic tool is a nichrome floss, which is connected to a transformer with 24 V. At the ends of the thread there are handles made of electrical insulating material. When an electric current is passed through the nichrome filament, it is heated to 160 0C. This temperature is enough to melt acrylic glass. So when the red-hot filament comes in contact with the plexiglass its melting occurs, resulting in a neat even cut, the edges of which require no additional processing. A slotted screwdriver can also be used instead of the nichrome thread.

How to cut plexiglass

Cutting Plexiglas at home is an activity that the average person rarely encounters. Despite this, from time to time there is a question of how to cut plexiglass? But those people who like to make crafts with their hands and use this unique material in their works, very often face the task of quickly cutting acrylic into the necessary elements. In production conditions one ways of cutting this material are used, at home it is more convenient and practical to use other ways. Below we consider what methods are used not in production.

Some features of using industrial equipment

All industrial equipment is characterized by the fact that it allows you to automate the process of cutting composite materials. Today laser cutting is most commonly used. Among its features we will note the following points:

  • Processing accuracy is about 0.005 millimeters. It is achieved by forming a laser beam of 0.1 millimeters.
  • All the resulting edges are smooth and transparent, and there is virtually no waste.

Machines with circular and band saws are the most widely used. This is due to their relatively low cost. However, such equipment does not allow for processing along a complex path.

Tool and material itself can become very hot during machining. Plexiglas is less resistant to elevated temperatures; when heated, it begins to melt, producing large amounts of smoke. Airflow or pure water can be used for cooling.

Some peculiarities of using industrial equipment

Before cutting plexiglass with a circular saw or using a milling machine, some precautions should be taken. The material heats up quickly and begins not only to melt, but also to smoke. Constant cooling is required. A strong jet of air or ordinary water is used for this. One liter of water is enough to work in peace for an hour.

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How To Cut Plexiglass The Easy Way

The tank is installed on one side, and the water comes through a plastic hose about 2.5 millimeters in diameter. It makes it possible to make a straight and even cut without melted edges.

Cutting Plexiglas at home with a milling machine or laser unit in most cases is not possible, because this complex technical equipment costs a lot of money and takes up a lot of space. At the same time, workshops with such machines are appearing in many cities in increasing numbers, which makes it possible to take advantage of the services of professionals.

Equipment and tools

Plexiglas is processed on the same equipment as wood or metal. A clean cut is obtained when processing material on high-speed machines.

The only requirement: plexiglass cutting machines and circular saws must be equipped with an extractor for quick removal of chips and waste.

Tools made of tool steels, hard alloys, diamond are used for cutting Plexiglas. It is very important that the cutting edge is sharpened, since using a low-quality blunt instrument results in chipping, burrs, and stresses in the cutting zone. For the same reason, you can’t use a tool that was previously used to cut metal or wood.

What to cut plexiglass at home?

Plexiglas is a very popular material nowadays, which is used for production of many articles and products: from furniture to souvenirs.

Distinctive characteristics of plexiglas. Mainly on high demand plexiglas influenced that set of unique features, which has this synthetic source. Imagine that you have succeeded in creating a reliable, strong, durable, resistant, inexpensive material that looks like fragile glass.

After all, each of us has once had a favorite piece of glass, which broke, and in fact could have remained intact and unscathed, if it had taken Plexiglas as the basis for its production. This article will tell you how at home you can cut organic glass. This is very important information, because you do not know when you will have to work with this material yourself.

How to cut plexiglass

Cutting plexiglass in the home is rarely required, and this work is done by some craftsmen in specialized stores and workshops. But sometimes this useful skill may be required at home: when making, for example, an aquarium, vase, lamp, partitions, shelves, stained glass in the interior or decorative accessories with their own hands.

Plexiglas combines the performance characteristics of plastic and the appearance (transparency) of glass. Unlike glass, this material does not break, which makes it extremely popular for specific tasks. The durability opens up such areas of application in which conventional glass is problematic and dangerous to use. This material is also called acrylex, acrylite or plexiglass. These are not varieties of the product, and trademarks of manufacturers.

How to Easily Cut Plexiglass and Acrylic Sheets

Plexiglas can be processed by nearly all available methods: planing, sawing, turning and laser cutting. Of this material are made as large containers (aquariums), and elegant objects of small size.

Manufacturing methods of cutting plexiglass

Laser cutting is the most convenient method, but impossible at home. The laser beam provides maximum cutting precision, smooth cuts and low waste. This processing method has a limitation: the laser creates high stress on the material, so that further gluing of Plexiglas is not possible.

This service is offered by many companies, and if you choose this method, prepare in advance a drawing of the product and choose a competent master. Often in such workshops, you can select the desired material thickness on your own before cutting the plexiglass.

Circular and band saws are used in production facilities (sometimes at home as well). The first tool is designed for a straight cut with a clean cut. Band saw is more suitable for cutting blanks, as even and smooth this tool does not provide. To get a smooth surface, you need to use a mill.

In order to obtain a quality and even cut, high-speed tools with a rotational speed of the working part of up to 4000 revolutions per minute are used. Plexiglas is amenable to mechanical processing, but do not forget about the low thermal conductivity of this material, so the cutting zone heats up quickly. For this reason, it is machined at a high rotational speed.

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Cutting plexiglass at home

The metal hacksaw is the most affordable tool for cutting plexiglass at home. The resulting cut will be rough and coarse, so you will need a file or nail file (sandpaper) to grind it. You can also polish the plexiglass at the end of the cut, this process will give the part its final look.

You can also use a cutter, which is essentially a saw with one tooth. Before you cut plexiglass with a cutter, prepare a metal ruler of the required length. A ruler is placed on the sheet of plexiglass along the scythe line of the intended cut and several times sliding the tool across the plexiglass.

When the sheet is cut halfway through the thickness, you need to carefully chop it, and then clean up the roughness with an emery or a joiner’s trowel. As a cutter will fit a knife-cutter, which is sold at any construction store or made yourself from a piece of hacksaw blade. Some craftsmen take ordinary sharpened glass to cut it, while protecting your hands from accidental injury.

To cut the plexiglass at home uses a circular saw or a metal cutter up to 1 mm thick. During operation, the cutter operates very quickly, the cut is made with the emission of smoke, and the plexiglass in the zone of cutting sometimes foams up from the high temperature resulting from friction.

To avoid this, it is necessary to constantly cool the working surface of the saw. You can take a bottle of water, fix it on one side of the cutter and feed water to it through a plastic hose. With a hose diameter of 2.5 mm, up to 1 liter of water per hour is used. With this cooling method the cut is clear and even.

Also for cutting, as well as for bending plexiglas it is used a nichrome thread which is heated, from the connected transformer capacity to 24 V. Heated filament cuts plexiglass by melting it. This feature produces not only straight cuts, but also curved cuts.

Some craftsmen successfully use other tools at home, sometimes quite simple, such as a slotted screwdriver. Press the end of the screwdriver to the plexiglass sheet, holding it by the very edge of the handle. Screwdriver blade is heated with a 25-watt soldering iron.

When the plexiglass begins to melt slightly, the screwdriver tip makes a straight line of the intended cut. To build a straight mowing line takes a metal ruler, a hacksaw blade (naturally, the side without teeth) or other similar tool. After running the mowing line with the heated screwdriver, the plexiglass is easily and quickly broken.

How to cut shaped plexiglass?

What to do if, for example, there is a need to cover the table top of the kitchen (wooden) or computer table with this type of glass? We have already described above how to cut straight Plexiglas lines with a cutter, without any problems, so with curved cuts and rounded corners it works just as well. Experienced craftsmen use the well-known caliper for this case at home.

You can also lose a little time and cut out the roundings using a pattern with a nichrome thread. To do this, simply cut out the shape you need from cardboard, place/stick it to the glass and trim it little by little.

In order to cut a circle with the cutter mark the center of the circle in which you must attach a good suction cup. Then fix the cutter with a rail and self-tapping screws (attach one side to the suction cup and the other directly to the glass cutter). Cut until there is a notch left, and then chop off the extra pieces.

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