Over the years, plexiglass has been used as an ordinary glass alternative. The best part is that plexiglass is basically everywhere.
Plus, people use plexiglass to make different things, including TV screens, kitchen cabinets covering glass, home tables, and even aircraft canopies. Generally, plexiglass has multiple applications in different fields. Nevertheless, let’s shift our focus to the plexiglass sheets, which are mostly used at home or in construction applications.
We will be exploring how you can cut plexiglass accurately with a circular saw.
Why Work with Plexiglass?
You can come across terms like Perspex or acrylic, which are other names given to plexiglass sheets. Regardless of the terms used to call the plexiglass sheets, the main thing is to understand the benefits of using this type of material. Here are some of the advantages of plexiglass:
- It has a long life span
- It is lightweight
- Plexiglass has 40-times more impact resistance than glass
- It possesses an excellent UV resistance
- It is highly flexible
- Plexiglass comes in different colors, including transparent
With all these benefits of plexiglass sheets, there is only one major disadvantage. Unfortunately, plexiglass is susceptible to heat. It has poor heat resistance.
How to Handle Heat with Plexiglass
The best way to handle the poor heat resistance of plexiglass is by maintaining a slow a steady speed of your circular saw. Normally, the friction between the plexiglass sheet and the blade will produce heat. As a result, the sheet will melt, which will damage it. Furthermore, ensure that your feeding rate is not too fast.
How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw
Plexiglass can be tricky to cut, and people use different tools to cut. However, a circular saw is arguably the best option. Here is how you can cut plexiglass sheets accurately with a circular saw.
What You Will Need
- Plexiglass sheet
- A straight piece of wood
- Clamps for holding the sheet in place
- A circular saw with the right blade for plexiglass
- Necessary safety gear
For the safety gear, we recommend using the right hearing protection and a face shield. You may also need adhesive tape, but this is optional.
Step 1: Place the plexiglass
Place the plexiglass sheet on top of the sawhorse or workbench. Ensure that the workbench or sawhorse is perfectly clean. Hold the plexiglass sheet in place with clamp-on vises.
Step 2: Use a marker to draw a line
Use a marker to draw a line where you wish to cut both sides of the protective film. Ideally, use a ruler for precision. Leave the part you wish to cut to hang freely in the air. You can also put pieces of adhesive tape along the cutting line if you don’t want splinters flying everywhere.
Step 3: Place the straight piece of wood on the lines
Place the straight piece of wood on the lines you drew, if you want to make straight cuts. This will act as a guide to help you make straight cuts. You can then fix it firmly using the clamps.
Step 4: Leave the protective film
Leave the protective film on the plexiglass sheet, which helps to protect it against scratches. Plexiglass sheets are also susceptible to scratches. Ensure that the protective film stays on until you are done with the entire project. You can peel it off from one corner when you are done.
Step 5: Use a coolant spray
Use a coolant spray on the blade of your circular saw before running it. The coolant allows you to cut thick plexiglass sheets while avoiding the heat effect. Generally, a thick plexiglass sheet will be thicker than 0.5-inches.
Step 6: Start cutting with circular saw
Turn on the circular saw and aim it towards the plexiglass sheet. Do not start cutting until the saw reaches its full speed. The ideal RPM rate for cutting plexiglass sheets is 3450RPM. Make sure it doesn’t go beyond this speed.
Step 7: Push the saw with a slow and smooth motion
Push the circular saw with a slow and smooth motion. This is what is referred to as the feeding rate. Pushing the saw too fast and aggressively will chip the edge and damage the entire sheet in the long run.
Which Is the Best Blade for Cutting Plexiglass?
Ideally, a 10-inch, 80-tooth carbide-tipped blade is the best pick for cutting plexiglass sheets. It will cut smoothly and limit heat buildup in the process.
Useful Tips When Cutting Plexiglass with Circular Saw
- Ensure that the blade is sharp enough and that it doesn’t have any broken or bent teeth. This prevents any possible kickback.
- Never force the circular saw to be too fast or too slow. If it’s too fast, it will end up giving you chipped edges. On the other hand, it will increase the heat generated on the sheet if it is too slow. The ideal feeding rate should be 3 inches per second.
- Understand the rake angle of the blade before you start using it. Check that the rake angle is between 5 and 10 positive degrees.
- Avoid stopping the feeding of the saw as you cut the plexiglass sheet.
- Ensure that the blade depth is 0.5-inch below the sheet.
- Never use a blade that has uneven teeth height since it will end up damaging the plexiglass sheet edges.
- For making curve cuts on plexiglass sheets, use a jigsaw.
- It is possible to cut two or more sheets simultaneously. However, you will have to stack them above each other and hold them securely in place using the clamps. Here, you will need to use a coolant before you start cutting.
Now I hope you know how to cut plexiglass with a circular saw. As you know working with plexiglass sheets can be very easy, but only if you use the right blade and with the proper tips. Always remember to apply the proper feeding rate at all times as you work with the circular saw.