Can you cut Plexiglass with a table saw? Yes, you absolutely can! Plexiglass is not glass but a shatter-resistant, transparent alternative to glass made of thermoplastic acrylic.
Table saws are typically used to cut through metal and wood, but using the correct technique and the appropriate blade, they can also be used to successfully cut through a sheet of Plexiglass.
What You'll Learn...
- 1 How to Cut Plexiglass on a Table Saw
- 2 Best Table Saw Blade for Cutting Plexiglass
- 3 Can You Cut Lexan with A Table Saw?
- 4 Can I Cut 1/4 Plexiglass on a Table Saw?
- 5 How Do You Smooth Plexiglass Edges?
- 6 Wrapping It Up
How to Cut Plexiglass on a Table Saw
Before attempting to cut anything on a table saw, it is essential to take the followings steps:
Ensure That You Have Protective Gear On
Make sure to wear protective goggles and gloves while operating a table saw. This is to protect your hands from getting injured. When cutting plexiglass, shards of the acrylic tend to fly in all directions, so wear goggles to protect your eyes and a long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms. Lastly, be mindful of table saw kickback and ensure you’re working on a solid surface.
Select the Right Blade
Once you have cut through a sheet of plexiglass, don’t try to fix its edges, it can only be cut once. You must choose the correct blade and get it right the first time.
Since table saws are typically used to cut wood and metal, they have 24 carbide teeth blades. Plexiglass requires 60 to 80 carbide teeth to prevent cracks and chipped edges.
Try using a blade with a diameter of about 10 inches and one with up to 80 carbide teeth. These blades are specially designed to cut plexiglass.
For softer sheets, use a blade with fewer teeth to prevent the melting of the plastic.
Check the Thickness of the Plexiglass
Always measure the thickness of the plexiglass sheet that you are about to cut. It must be ¼ inches thick or more. Anything less than that will crack, chip, or melt due to the friction caused by the saw.
Measure the Size of the Cut You Want To Make
Plexiglass comes with a transparent plastic film on its surface to prevent it from getting scratched. It can be measured and marked before going ahead and cutting it.
When setting the fence to hold the plastic, you must remember to consider the thickness of the blade, which also takes up some space. These extra millimeters may alter your final measurements.
Use a Push Block
This is a special tool to use when operating a table saw. It helps move the plastic sheet through the blade while keeping it flat against the fence. Using a push block has the following advantages:
- It prevents the plexiglass from vibrating as it moves through the blade
- It prevents your fingers from getting chopped off
- It holds the plexiglass flat against the fence as it moves through the blade
The Cutting Technique
- Switch on the table saw and begin pushing the plexiglass through it making sure to maintain and smooth and slow movement
- The push block and fence help to keep everything in place and prevent vibrations from occurring
- Make sure to hold the plexiglass firmly down during the entire process
- If you notice the edges of the sheet melting, you should change the blade to one with fewer teeth, and if you see that the edges are chipping, then replace the blade with one with more teeth
- Multiple sheets of plexiglass can be sawed at the same time by stacking them on top of one another and clamping them to hold them in place. This helps save time.
Best Table Saw Blade for Cutting Plexiglass
The blade you want to use for cutting plexiglass depends on the thickness of the plexiglass you will be cutting. Here are some great rules of thumb for identifying the best table saw blade for cutting plexiglass!
- The blade you choose must always be sharp and clean
- It is recommended to use a blade with 50-60 teeth to cut plexiglass but when using a softer sheet of plexiglass, use a blade with fewer teeth. the greater the number of teeth on the blade, the higher will be the friction and heat resulting from it which will cause the plexiglass to melt and become deformed
- When cutting a harder plexiglass sheet, use a blade with more carbide-tipped teeth.
- Always use carbide-tipped blades
- Use blades with evenly spaced teeth and no rake
We’ve seen the best results using the Freud 10″ Plexiglass & Plastic table saw blade, which is shown below.
Can You Cut Lexan with A Table Saw?
Lexan is another material belonging to the thermoplastic family and can undergo significant deformation without cracking or breaking. It is almost 250 times stronger than plexiglass and has many household uses.
Lexan can be cut using a table saw just as you cut plywood or plexiglass. Here’s how to cut Lexan with a table saw:
- Attach a 1/16 inch laminated cutting blade on a table saw with its blade raised ½ inch above the saw table
- Next, measure and mark the Lexan sheet lengthwise with masking tape where the saw blade will cut through it.
- Set the fence and align the blade to cut along the center of the masking tape. Cutting through the tape prevents the Lexan from chipping
- Now, switch the table saw on and begin sliding the Lexan sheet slowly into the blade while holding it from both sides.
- Push the sheet of Lexan along the blade. If you notice that the Lexan begins to release smoke, you may reduce the speed, slow down, and keep pushing until it has made it past the blade on the opposite side. You can now remove the tape.
Can I Cut 1/4 Plexiglass on a Table Saw?
Yes, you can most definitely cut ¼ inch of plexiglass on a table saw as this is the minimum required thickness of plexiglass that must be used. Anything less than ¼ inches thick cannot be cut using a table saw as it may crack, chip, or melt due to heat and friction.
How Do You Smooth Plexiglass Edges?
After successfully cutting the plexiglass, you will notice that the edges are not very smooth and need to be finished. Sometimes the edges appear glazed due to the intense heat and friction.
There is only one way to fix the edges and smoothen them out. This is done by using sandpaper, and here is how you do it:
- Start by using a sand block and 100 coarse grit sandpaper that is waterproof. This sandpaper will remove the most uneven areas on plexiglass edges. But be sure not to apply too much pressure as this will generate heat, causing the edges to become deformed.
- Next, move into finer grit sandpaper. A 200 grit sandpaper would be ideal and can make the edges even smoother.
- Finally, using a sand block and a 400 grit sandpaper, finish off the plexiglass edges for a perfectly smooth and polished result.
Wrapping It Up
So, can you cut plexiglass with a table saw? Absolutely. Using the correct technique and tools is all you’ll need to successfully cut through a plexiglass sheet using a table saw. We’ve given you the tips, now it’s time for you to execute! Good luck!