Plexiglass is an industrial alternative to glass and has some features that make it extremely practical.
Lots of professionals and amateurs ask themselves about the best way to handle it, and this is what you’ll learn today.
So, what’s the best way to cut plexiglass? How can you cut it without breaking it?
Although plexiglass is shatter-proof, you can easily break it if you’re not careful or if you’re using the wrong tools.
In this article, we’ll teach you about the right way to cut it and suggest some of the tools that can help you do so!
What You'll Learn...
- 1 What is Plexiglass?
- 2 How to Maintain Plexiglass
- 3 What is the Best Way to Cut Plexiglass?
- 4 How to Cut Plexiglass Without Breaking it
- 5 How to Cut Thin Plexiglass
- 6 How to Cut Plexiglass Without Cracking it
- 7 How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw
- 8 Best Way to Cut Plexiglass Curves
- 9 Best Tools to Cut Plexiglass Sheets
- 9.1 1) Concord Blades ACB0725T080HP 7-1/4″ 80 Teeth TCT Non-Ferrous Metal Saw Blade
- 9.2 2) DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake
- 9.3 3) CRAFTSMAN V20 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw
- 9.4 4) YouU 1 Acrylic Cutter and 10 Pcs Blade Set, Multi-Use Cutter with Cutting Blade
- 10 Wrapping it Up
What is Plexiglass?
Plexiglass is made of polymers of methyl methacrylate. So in other words, it’s made of plastic. The scientific name of the compound is PMMA, but it’s commonly known as plexiglass or acrylic sheets.
Plexiglass is a practical alternative to glass because it’s shatter-proof, unlike glass. It’s lightweight and more flexible, so it can be used for lots of purposes without breaking.
Moreover, it’s more transparent than glass, so it can be used for printing. Lexan is another polycarbonate plastic commonly associated with plexiglass, but while plexiglass is used for aesthetic purposes, Lexan is more often used to serve as a tough, protective covering.
However, it attracts dust and scratches easily, so it shouldn’t be used for purposes where it’s subject to mechanical wear.
Moreover, plexiglass changes its color over time and turns yellow, unlike glass, which maintains its color.
Nevertheless, due to its versatility, plexiglass has become extremely popular. It’s commonly used for car windshields, for example.
How to Maintain Plexiglass
Although it’s durable, some people make mistakes while maintaining plexiglass, which affects the way it looks. Here’s how to maintain it properly!
- Use the right cleaning agent when you’re cleaning your plexiglass. Some chemicals like ammonia can ruin it. A mild cleaning solution made of water and dish soap is strong enough to remove stuck debris without affecting the chemical composition of plexiglass.
- Don’t use a dry piece of cloth to clean plexiglass. This will rub the dust particles into the sheet and cause scratches.
- If your plexiglass sheet gets scratched, you can remove the scratches using an abrasive polish. For more stubborn scratches, you can use sanding and buffing.
- Be careful while handling plexiglass sheets. Too much pressure can cause cracks.
What is the Best Way to Cut Plexiglass?
There are several tools and techniques available to help you cut plexiglass for various purposes.
Luckily, any DIYer can master these techniques fast, as long as you’re aware of the proper practices and take the right precautions before doing so.
Thin plexiglass is the easiest to cut. All you need is a level surface that won’t wobble and a ruler to make sure that you’ve got the right measurements.
This method is called “scoring and snapping” and is best to use if you have a small DIY project that involves cutting plexiglass sheets into simple shapes.
Note: This method won’t work if your plexiglass sheet is too thick!
For more accurate cuts, you can use a circular saw. The teeth of the blades are able to cut through thick sheets of plexiglass with no issues. This process is faster and gives accurate results.
If you wish to cut plexiglass into various shapes, you can use a jigsaw. Using the up and down motion, you can cut plexiglass sheets into circles, curves, and other irregular shapes to finish various DIY and professional projects.
How to Cut Plexiglass Without Breaking it
Plexiglass can be used to make picture frames, printing sheets, windows, tabletops, and more.
Due to its versatility, it can be used for several DIY projects as it can easily be handled with your workshop tools. Here are some tips to help you cut it properly!
➢ Plexiglass comes with a protective film that protects the sheets from scratching. You should leave the protective film on while you’re cutting and shaping it.
➢ Make sure that you’re using the right tools and pressure. Otherwise, you’ll be left with irregular cuts and rough edges.
➢ You’ll have to spend some time smoothing out the edges.
How to Cut Thin Plexiglass
Plexiglass has limitless industrial applications and can also be used for hundreds of DIY projects. It’s exceptionally durable, but it’s not difficult to cut if you have the right knowledge.
Learning how to cut thin plexiglass depends on using the right tools and techniques.
1. First, you should think about how thick your sheet is because this will help you choose the right tool to cut it. Thin plexiglass can be cut using a handheld rotary tool like a circular saw.
For thicker plexiglass, you should use a scroll saw.
2. Thin plexiglass is easy to cut for DIY projects. The following method works when you want to cut your sheets into simple shapes that are made of straight lines. Here is how to do it.
3. Place the plexiglass sheet on a flat work surface. Make sure that there are no objects that can affect the accuracy of the cut. The table or workbench should be level and clean.
4. Use a measuring tape or ruler to draw a line using a grease pencil or a dry-erase marker to show where you want to cut the plexiglass.
If you make any mistakes, erase the drawing and start again to make sure that there will be no errors. Don’t smudge the line to make sure that your cut will be accurate.
5. Use a glass cutter to score the plexiglass along the lines you’ve drawn. Do this about 10 or 15 times until you see a deep groove.
This is where the plexiglass will be cut. If you can’t find a glass cutter, use a utility knife
6. Flip the plexiglass over and repeat the scoring process on the other side. Follow the same line until you’ve made a groove.
If the cutter doesn’t work, you should use a special scoring tool. Deeper cuts allow you to finish your job accurately and fast.
7. Move the plexiglass sheet carefully and bring the scored section to the end of your work table.
The part that you want to cut should be hanging off the table. This is how you’ll be able to snap it easily.
8. Use a C-clamp to secure the plexiglass sheet. This will prevent it from moving so your cuts will be accurate, and the sheet won’t accidentally break.
Make sure that you don’t tighten the C-clamp too tight as it might leave a dent in your plexiglass sheet.
9. Apply downward force along the scored line. The plexiglass should snap and break; however, the edge will be visible and will affect the overall look of your finished project.
If the sheet doesn’t break easily, use your utility knife to cut it properly.
10. Use a power saw or sandpaper to smooth out and buff the edges of the plexiglass.
Use 120 or 180-grit waterproof sandpaper and a rubber or wood sanding block to smooth out the rough edges.
When the edges become smoother, you should switch to finer grits, like 600-grit sandpaper.
11. Start buffing with a quality buffing pad. Use a polishing compound to give your plexiglass the perfect finish.
How to Cut Plexiglass Without Cracking it
If you’re not careful while scoring and snapping your plexiglass sheet, you might accidentally crack it.
This is why most DIY enthusiasts and professionals prefer using a circular saw vs a table saw.
This method works best if you have a thick sheet of plexiglass and helps you to finish your project fast with accurate results.
How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw
To make fast and accurate cuts, use a circular saw to cut your plexiglass sheets into straight lines.
1. Before you begin cutting, check out the blades of the circular saw. The teeth should be evenly spaced and should be the same size to guarantee that the cut will be accurate.
A fewer number of teeth on the blades ensures that there will be no dust or debris flying into the air.
Use a carbide-tipped circular saw blade to accurately cut through sheets without dust flying into the air.
2. Place the plexiglass sheet on a sawhorse to keep it flat while you’re using the circular saw.
Use a ruler to make a mark using a dry-erase marker to draw the line where you’ll attempt to cut the plexiglass sheet.
Make sure that the two halves are appropriately balanced, so they don’t fall to the ground when you’re done cutting.
3. Align the cutting guide of the circular saw with the mark that you’ve drawn using your marker.
4. Start your circular saw and bring it to full speed before attempting to cut the plexiglass sheet.
If you use the circular saw before the blade is rotating at full speed, the teeth might snag on the plexiglass sheet and cause a chapped or inaccurate cut that you’ll have to fix later on.
5. Wearing protective goggles is essential when cutting a plexiglass sheet with a circular saw.
They will protect your eyes from flying particles that could potentially cause serious damage.
6. Apply some force to push the circular saw forward along the line you’ve drawn.
Make sure that you apply steady force to prevent the teeth on the blade from jamming.
Going too fast can cause the saw to catch on the sheet. If this happens, stop and bring it back to the original pace, and then push the circular saw again through the sheet.
Best Way to Cut Plexiglass Curves
A jigsaw enables you to make circular cuts or curves in the sheets of plexiglass. It can also make straight cuts and other irregular shapes, so you should get one if you’re working on a complicated project.
Here are the steps to create curves for different DIY projects!
1. Pick an uncoated blade with fine teeth to cut plexiglass without debris and dust flying over. You should have some extra blades ready, so you can replace yours when needed
2. Place the plexiglass sheet on a sawhorse. Make sure that the sheet you’re using is stable and doesn’t move to guarantee the accuracy of the cut.
3. Use a stencil, a round object, or a compass to draw the curve or circle you’re cutting. Use a dry-erase marker to draw the line.
Having this line while using a jigsaw is crucial to guarantee that there will be no mistakes while you’re cutting the plexiglass sheet.
If there are any mistakes, erase the line and draw it again to ensure the accuracy of the cut.
4. Make sure that you’re wearing your safety goggles while using a jigsaw. Splinters and dust can fly in the air and cause severe damage if they hit your eyes.
5. Use a drill to make a hole in the plexiglass sheet. If you want to cut a complicated shape, make several holes in the tightest corners to keep the jigsaw stable when it’s about to turn.
Otherwise, the blade might bend or break while you’re trying to turn it.
6. Fit the jigsaw blade through the hole in the sheet. Bring it to full speed before attempting to use it to cut a circular or any other shape.
A jigsaw moves slower than a circular saw, so you’ll have to wait until it reaches its full speed.
Be careful while using the jigsaw because the blade can break and injure you or others around you!
7. Follow the guide marks on your plexiglass sheet and apply moderate pressure while using your jigsaw.
If you feel that the blade is catching, then you might be going too fast. Stop and let the jigsaw get back to its original speed.
Best Tools to Cut Plexiglass Sheets
Here are some of the top tools that you can use to cut plexiglass sheets for various purposes.
1) Concord Blades ACB0725T080HP 7-1/4″ 80 Teeth TCT Non-Ferrous Metal Saw Blade
Featuring the triple-chip grind, this is an excellent blade to cut through non-ferrous metals and plastic sheets. It’s the right blade to use with plexiglass sheets, giving you smooth and accurate cuts.
It can also be used with acrylic, PVC, and non-ferrous metals like copper, aluminum, brass, and bronze.
Moreover, it helps you to cut through challenging materials like tubing and fiberglass for construction work.
The TCG feature shows alternating beveled and straight-tipped teeth. It prevents the chipping of plexiglass, even if you’re not a professional, so it’s a good choice for DIY lovers and hobbyists.
With ultra-sharp hard titanium carbide teeth, this blade will last for a long time because it’s difficult to break.
The blade works with circular saws, table saws, and radial arm saws.
The negative hook angle, thick plate, and triple-chip grind work together to give your plexiglass sheets a superior finish. The blade weighs 12 ounces.
You have to be careful with the flying debris, so it’s recommended that you wear safety goggles while using this blade.
This blade becomes dull after several cuts, so it’s a good choice for hobbyists, but not for more professional work.
What We Like
➢ A versatile blade that gives clean and accurate cuts.
➢ Durable titanium blade.
➢ Triple-chip grind to prevent chipping.
➢ Gives your cuts an excellent finish.
What We Don’t Like
➢ The blade gets dull fast.
2) DEWALT 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake
This compact and practical circular saw allows you to cut sheets of plexiglass with high precision.
It’s one of the lightest circular saws on the market, weighing 8.8 pounds, so it’s easy to control even for a hobbyist who has no previous experience with power tools.
Due to its weight, you’ll be able to balance it and finish all your cuts fast.
Featuring a robust 15 Amp motor, this circular saw is strong enough to handle even the toughest applications with up to 5,100 RPM.
The electric brake stops the blade after release for more control.
For precise cuts, the high-grade aluminum base is durable enough to prevent chipping.
The 57-degree beveling capacity with positive stops at 45-Degrees and 22.5-Degrees allows for more versatility. The depth of the blade is also adjustable.
Dust and debris won’t block your view while working with this circular saw thanks to the built-in blower.
This way, you can rest assured that there will be no mistakes while you’re working.
The circular saw also features an onboard blade wrench storage for convenient blade changes and easy storage.
The lower-guard design improves your performance when making bevel cuts. It improves the results of your cuts with dust contamination.
The cord is protected from cord pull-out, guaranteeing that your circular saw will always be ready for use.
Replacing the blade becomes necessary after several applications as it starts to wobble. It will keep on spinning even after the brake is released.
You also need to adjust the blade to guarantee the accuracy of your cuts.
What We Like
➢ Ergonomic and lightweight circular saw.
➢ Strong motor.
➢ Built-in blower to get rid of the dust that can obstruct your view.
➢ Low-guard design to improve performance.
➢ A durable cord with pull-out protection.
What We Don’t Like
➢ Adjusting the blade is necessary for accurate cuts.
➢ The blade tends to wobble after several cuts.
3) CRAFTSMAN V20 6-1/2-Inch Cordless Circular Saw
Hobbyists and DIYers will love this circular saw due to its affordable price. It features a high-performance motor that allows for 4,200 RPM to cut sheets of plexiglass and other materials with high precision.
The electric brake is fast and reliable, so lots of users believe it to be the best circular saw blade to cut plexiglass.
If you have no previous experience with power tools, you’ll love this one because it’s easy to control thanks to its weight and design.
It weighs 7.5 pounds and features an ergonomic design that you can maneuver for precise and accurate cuts. You can also adjust the depth of the blade.
Thanks to the tool-free beveling, you can cut pivot up to 50 degrees for angled cuts. The circular saw features a metal shoe for added durability.
Moreover, the contoured, over-molded handle reduces hand fatigue when working with it for extended periods of time.
You don’t have to worry about finding a power source, because this cordless design is battery-operated.
It’s the best circular saw to use on the job site, even when there’s no power source nearby. You’ll have to buy the battery and the charger separately.
Changing the blade is a bit challenging. As a result, it might not be appropriately aligned.
What We Like
➢ Lightweight circular saw with a powerful motor.
➢ Cordless design for more versatility.
➢ Fast electric brake.
➢ Tool-free beveling.
What We Don’t Like
➢ Doesn’t arrive with the battery or charger.
➢ Changing the blade is difficult.
4) YouU 1 Acrylic Cutter and 10 Pcs Blade Set, Multi-Use Cutter with Cutting Blade
If you’re looking for a portable tool to cut plexiglass, then this is the right tool to pick. This multi-use cutter allows you to score and easily snap sheets of plexiglass for DIY projects and other applications. It’s affordable and can be used in different settings.
Your cutter arrives with a set of 10 blades. Each blade has a length of 4.5 cm and a width of 1 cm. You can take this cutter wherever you go as it’s convenient to carry around.
Due to the size of the blade, you can easily cut sheets fast. You might need to repeat the process several times to get accurate cuts.
Using this cutter to cut sheets of plexiglass is time-consuming, so it might not be the most suitable option for more professional applications.
Moreover, you should be careful while using it for scoring as the blades can easily snap if you press too hard.
What We Like
➢ Affordable and portable tool.
➢ Suitable for amateurs and DIY lovers.
➢ Arrives with a set of 10 blades.
➢ Sharp blade for fast scoring.
What We Don’t Like
➢ The blade is prone to shattering.
➢ Using it to cut plexiglass sheets is a time-consuming task.
Wrapping it Up
Plexiglass is one of the most versatile materials that can be used by professionals and amateurs. This is an industrial substitute for glass that is extremely durable and flexible.
Learning how to cut plexiglass guarantees that you’ll have your plexiglass sheets ready for all purposes. There are several tools available, and they work for different types of cuts.
As a DIY lover or professional, you can choose the tool and technique that works best for you!