Cutting acrylic can be done at home using a saw you may already have. If you’re wondering how to get started, read this guide to help you. Acrylic is a great material that can be utilized in various projects. It also comes in colored and transparent options.
When cutting acrylic, it is very crucial to protect the material and take some safety precautions while doing the job. Always wear protective glasses to protect your eyes from shattered pieces of acrylic. Also, it is important that you work in a well-ventilated place. Cutting this material can give offer vapors which may irritate your respiratory system.
In this guide, we will show you how to accurately and safely cut your acrylic.
Use this list of tools you need when cutting acrylic:
You’ll need a tool to mark the lines for your cuts. Some acrylics have a paper backing that can accept pencil marks. Others come with a film that requires a fine marker.
Aside from a marker, you will also need tape to mark the material where you want to cut. The tape also helps to prevent chipping while you’re cutting. It also may come in handy on the jigsaw’s shoe to inhibit the metal from scratching the acrylic.
This tool is necessary for you to achieve accurate measurements. It also comes in handy when you’re making lines.
You’ll also need a clamp so the material will not move as you cut. Any vibration or chattering may lead the machine’s blade tearing up the plastic as well as damaging the cut.
You will also need either a jigsaw, scoring knife, or band saw depending on the method you will be using since there are different types for every project.
After preparing all the materials, prepare your workplace. Make sure there’s enough ventilation in your area. Making use of a good dust collector even if its one you made yourself will come in handy.
Get rid of all the unnecessary things in your surroundings. You need to be able to work and move freely. Take out your dust mask and put on some gloves.
When you’re working indoors, make sure you have a good light. This allows you to clearly see the markings you’re going to cut.
There are various methods you can use when cutting acrylic. In this guide, we will show you how to cut acrylic using a jigsaw, a scoring knife, and a band saw.
Just like plexiglass, a jigsaw is one of the widely used tools for cutting an acrylic sheet. It’s a handheld, small tool that cuts the material using a straight line. However, if you’re planning to cut your acrylic in non-linear fashions, this tool is not for you.
A top performing jigsaw on the market helps in achieving accurate results by simply cutting the edges into angular forms and curves. It’s highly recommended you experiment with the machine’s positioning and setting to gauge the results you desire.
When it comes to the blade, choose the one that has 10 teeth or higher, or with blades that are specially designed for cutting plastic and acrylic sheets. For finest cuts, consider using a carbide edge blade.
After cutting the first centimeters, your blade will start to heat up and will glide on the material more easily. At this point, you can cut your acrylic a bit faster.
When you’re close to the end of your cutting line, make sure to grab the drooping section of the acrylic before it falls. Note, don’t place your hand near the jigsaw’s blade.
The following are the steps you need to do when you opt to use this tool for cutting.
Cutting thicker acrylics is quite difficult. With a table saw you will be able to do this job easier than a band saw or jigsaw. In addition, you can cut multiple acrylic sheets.
Not everybody knows how to use a reliable table saw. If you’re one of them, keep reading. Here are some tips on how to cut your acrylic without getting hit in the face, chipping it, or causing cracks.
The main issue with kickback is that it can shoot a piece of acrylic to your face. It can also pull your hands towards the blade.
If unusual shapes or a curved edge is what you need, a band saw is one of the best tools you can utilize to cut acrylic as it is more precise in cutting out shapes than a jigsaw.
Use this rough guide for better results. As the width of the acrylic increases, the total number of teeth for every inch on your blade should decrease.
When cutting acrylic with a thickness that is more than 0.472-inch, make sure to use a buttress or skip tooth blade that has a few teeth for every inch.
This blade is actually made for use with a softer material and retains its sharpness better. It gives a consistent and clean edge that only requires a bit of polishing to restore the acrylic’s transparency and shine.
Acrylic is unmasked. Avoid scratching it using cardboard. If the material is too thick, run the blade slowly as it prevents warping and melting the plastic.
A laser system is designed to get defined and complex cutting of acrylic. Laser cutting is one of the widely used options to cut the desired designs.
Connected to computers, laser cutters work like printers to translate the image or design on the acrylic. If you want to make creative and more intricate shapes using acrylic, this method is perhaps the best option for you.
Blur your lens a little when laser etching: Typically, lasers these days come equipped with a device that can be used to set laser focal depth properly.
Each time you laser etch or engrave acrylic, you need to focus the lens and back it off about two inches afterward. This will spread the hot part of the beam, melting the material. You will have a smoother engraving as well as less dust.
Whether you use a band saw, jigsaw, or scoring knife, it is highly recommended that you check for large chunks that are left behind on the edge. When smoothing these out, use sandpaper.
Also, don’t forget to buff the edges. To do this, connect a buffing edge to a good corded electric drill. Using a polishing compound, rub the buffer and buff down the edge until it becomes shiny and smooth. This step will refine the edge, though it isn’t really necessary.
At first, learning how to cut acrylic is quite difficult and challenging. But with the help of this guide, you should be able to achieve your desired cuts accurately. Whatever method you choose, don’t forget to wear on your protective gears.
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