Old 02-17-2011, 04:23 AM #1
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Default Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

Hello all


Most of my upcoming projects could be finished in wood, which while easier, wouldn't give as cool a finish in my opinion. I mean I could make it cool, but exotic woods can add up fast in cost, and even a little slip can ruin a $70+ board. Back to the topic at hand, is there any way to cut acrylic easily and non-sloppily at home? I'd be working with rather thick acrylic, and I thought I'd ask here, as I figured with such a large crowd it's been covered by someone at least once. Thanks for any and all help.


Edit: Well d4mn, ten seconds on google has turned up a few interesting things, but I'll leave this here in case anyone has any ideas.


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Old 02-17-2011, 04:28 AM #2
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

What tools do you have access to?
I personally use a miter saw, after that i sand it starting from 100 grit, and work my way up to 1000. A bit of flamepolishing afterwards and your set!

You may need to practice flame polishing if you want to do it and never done it before, on some scrap that is.

Another way, is if you have a palm sander or a sandblaster, you can diffuse the plexi edges and leave it at that.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:42 AM #3
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

Technically a fully fledged carpentry shop, table saw (an industrial one, it's already claimed a few finger tips (not mine, thankfully)), upright belt sander, disk sander, bandsaws, router, router table, several orbital sanders, handheld belt sander, drills, chop saw, cross cut saw...anything else I'd need I could *probably* get access to. Though the band saws are running on older blades with a low TPI. Oh and a jigsaw.


Edit: Gotta look up how to flame polish.
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:51 AM #4
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

Perfect!

with those set of tools, there isnt a thing you *cant* do with acrylic. for what you need it for anyway. (well, a mill would be handy for complex stuff).

Flame polishing will give you that crytal clear finish to your cuts.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:21 AM #5
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

I'll need blades with a really high TPI though, won't I? (I think the bandsaws are running on old 4-5 TPI blades) Blades will be an issue, but not one I can't overcome.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:33 AM #6
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

When I used a jigsaw, I found the best result actually to be with 35TPI blades.
The issue is overheating and plastic melting and sticking.

The higher TPI, will prevent some chipping that 4-5TPI would cause. but either way, you need to go slow and allow the blade to cool down, else it just gums up and doesnt give a good cut. (I noted this happening more with a jigsaw, as 35TPI is common there.
I think 35TPI would be best.. but Ive never seen a bandsaw use one. (maybe they have them, but I never heard of it) and a bandsaw would probably have less overheating issues too.

Id still rather a miter/circular saw anyday. nice and clean, just watch out so you dont crack the plexi.
offcoarse, a tablesaw would top all of the above.

Last edited by GBD; 02-17-2011 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:37 AM #7
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

I'll see if I can get it done with thin plexi and scoring/snapping. If I can't I'll look into getting a 35TPI blade for one of the bandsaws.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:39 AM #8
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

Wont scoring and snapping be very time consuming and a pain with thick plexiglass?
It works fairly nice for 1/8" or thinner.. but I didnt use that method for anything thicker, so I dont know myself.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:45 AM #9
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Default Re: Cutting Acrylic Without a Laser?

I'll give it a shot, and if that doesn't work I'll try what you've said. Thanks for all your help.
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