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Thread: cutting plexiglas question

  1. #1
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    cutting plexiglas question

    I have to cut up a bunch of plexiglas into small pieces. Divided between tablesaw and bandsaw. TS is my last choice always. Bandsaw would work but I don't know if the plexi will ruin blades. I would probably use a 3/8"X6 blade.
    I was just going to grab with pliers and break up but this is tough stuff and that's not an option.
    What to do?
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  2. #2
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    I've done it both way, you will have to clean the blade when your done but it won't ruin it.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
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    I've cut plexiglas on a scrollsaw and tablesaw. If it's thin stay away from the TS. The BS is safer and it shouldn't damage the blades.

    The one thing you got to watch is heat build up. I've generated enough heat with the scroll saw to melt and fuse the plexiglas.

    Tony, BCE '75

  4. #4
    We cut plexi all the time at work. Between the table saw and band saw, the table saw makes the cleaner cut. One tip is to raise the blade pretty high on the table saw so the teeth are coming down more on the material, I get better results this way. Another tip, if you use a SAWSTOP, make sure and use the override cause the static can set it off DAMHIK. But the best way to cut plexi is with a little scoring tool used with a straignt edge, kinda like cutting glass. Just score it a couple of times along the straight edge, then snap over a sharp corner,;leaves a nice clean edge. Don't know where we got them off the top of my head, but they cant cost much, just a piece of flat steel with a sharp little hook on one end. You could probably make one on the grinder in a couple of minutes.
    http://www.eplastics.com/Plastic/Plastic_Tools/KS1TOOL
    Here is one I found after a quick search.

  5. #5
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    Use your tablesaw, set the blade at a 45 degree tilt, raise the blade so just the corner of the blade is above the table, set the distance between the blade and the fence at say 1". If you are starting with a piece of Plexiglas say 18" square, then run the piece through the saw on all four sides, now you have a score around the piece on all four sides 1" from the edge. Depending on how thick the Plexiglas is, you can then just snap it off, or you can flip the piece and run it again, so you have a score on both sides of the piece. Change you distance to 2", repeat, and then add an inch to the distance between the blade and the fence until you have scored lines on both sides, on all four edges, of the piece, it should look something like a chess board.

    Snap the pieces off with some pliers, they should snap off easily.

    With the TS blade just scoring the Plexiglas, it is a fairly safe operation, and it can be really quickly done.

    Best of luck!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    nice tip Stu
    パトリック
    daiku woodworking
    ^deshi^
    neoshed

  7. #7
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    I am using the bandsaw with a 3/8"X6tpi blade. Works fine. But, as Tony pointed out, heat is generated. I have to cut one sheet (1/8" thick) at a time. Stacks will weld together. Clean cuts are not a factor, I'm just trying to get small pieces for dissolving in acetone for my stabilizing solution.
    Takes a lot of time to dissolve. I may switch to another type solution. When I get my system perfected I may post a toot.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    In much the same manner as Stu suggests, they make a scoring tool especially for Plexiglass. Using a straight edge as a guide simply score the the surface with this chisel edged tool, a couple of passes and you have done the same as Stu's saw cut (but with a finer kerf) then snap the Plexi over the edge of the bench with a sharp corner or the edge of the TS You can use the heel of your hand or a rubber mallot giving a sharp blow.

    Here is a sample of the cutter...




    http://www.villagesupplies.com/gener...lic_cutter.htm

    I have been cutting Plexiglass and Lexan this way for years, and does not gum up the saw with plexi-chips, Plexi-chips imbed in the BS wheels, Heat also will melt the plexi back together and create a rough edge, Cutting too slow makes friction and resulting heat, cutting too fast makes bigger chips and sometimes causes fractures. (and it stinks) The Scoring tool IMO is a far better tool than sawing. Of course you powertool junkies might have a different opinion.

    Oh yes, with the scoring tool, you can easily cut curves and arches.

  9. #9
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    Hi Frank.

    When I have to cut Plexiglas and other plastics, I use the table saw.

    To keep the edge from chipping and to lubricate the blade going through, I cover the cut line on both sides, with masking tape.

    Keeping an even feed rate will keep the heat down and the buildup along the cut edge down to a minimum. If I'm not going to mate the pieces, I use 1500 wet/dry to clean up the edge.

    Bruce
    Last edited by Bruce Shiverdecker; 10-25-2009 at 09:35 PM.
    Bruce Shiverdecker - Retired Starving Artist ( No longer a Part timer at Woodcraft, Peoria, Il.)

    "The great thing about turning is that all you have to do is remove what's not needed and you have something beautiful. Nature does the hard part!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    In much the same manner as Stu suggests, they make a scoring tool especially for Plexiglass. Using a straight edge as a guide simply score the the surface with this chisel edged tool, a couple of passes and you have done the same as Stu's saw cut (but with a finer kerf) then snap the Plexi over the edge of the bench with a sharp corner or the edge of the TS You can use the heel of your hand or a rubber mallot giving a sharp blow.

    Here is a sample of the cutter...




    http://www.villagesupplies.com/gener...lic_cutter.htm

    I have been cutting Plexiglass and Lexan this way for years, and does not gum up the saw with plexi-chips, Plexi-chips imbed in the BS wheels, Heat also will melt the plexi back together and create a rough edge, Cutting too slow makes friction and resulting heat, cutting too fast makes bigger chips and sometimes causes fractures. (and it stinks) The Scoring tool IMO is a far better tool than sawing. Of course you powertool junkies might have a different opinion.

    Oh yes, with the scoring tool, you can easily cut curves and arches.
    +1
    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 10-26-2009 at 12:47 PM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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