Cutting acrylic sheet with powers saws

Caution! Wear safety glasses when working with power tools.
With any type of saw, blades should be sharp, and free from nicks or burrs. Special blades for cutting acrylics are available for most types of saws. Otherwise use carbide-tipped blades designed for cutting plastics. Teeth should be fine, of the same height, evenly spaced. With little or no set.
Table saws and circular handsaws: Use hollow ground, high-speed blades with no set, and at least 5 teeth per inch (25 mm), such as those used to cut copper and aluminum. If you intend to do a lot of cutting use carbide-tipped blades designed for plastics (a triple ship type tooth design is recommended). These give a cleaner cut in acrylic sheet. Set the blade to project approximately 1/8” (3 mm) above the surface of the sheet being cut. This will reduce edge chipping.
When cutting with a hand-held circular saw, clamp the sheet securely to the work surface to minimize vibration. A wood block 1” X 3” (25 X 75 mm) clamped on top of the sheet spreads the clamping force and can act as a guide for the saw.
No matter which type of saw you use, the sheet must be held firmly and fed slowly and smoothly to prevent chipping. Be sure the saw is up to full speed before beginning to cut. Water-cooling the blade is suggested for thickness offer 1/4” (6 mm), especially when edge cementing will be performed.
Saber saws: Use blades which have a slight set, such as the blades recommended for cutting metals or other plastics. Be sure they are sharp. The blades you use for cutting acrylic should never be used to cut other materials. Set them aside. Use them only for acrylic sheet.
High speed is best for cutting acrylic sheets with a saber saw. Always be sure the saw is at full speed before beginning to cut. Press the saw shoe firmly against the material, and don’t feed to fast. Water cooling is suggested for cutting acrylic sheet over 1/4” (6.0 mm) thick.
Band saws or jig saws: Band saws and jig saws are excellent tools for cutting acrylic sheet. But because of their relatively thin blades, they are not recommended for cutting acrylic sheet over 1/4” (6.0 mm) thick. Use blades with a slight set, and about 120 teeth per inch (25 mm). Feed acrylic sheet at a rate 10 times faster than you would feed steel. Blades may break easily in acrylic, so operate accordingly.
Article Title:
Cutting acrylic sheet with powers saws
Article Summary:
Information on using table, circular, saber, band, and jig saws on acrylic
Article Date:
4/9/2009
Article ID:
578
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