Planning to use plexiglass acrylic for your next project? Plexiglass is an amazing alternative to glass because of its durability, shatter resistance, and strength.
However, as plexiglass is a relatively lesser-known material, few people know how to work with plexiglass.
That’s why a common question we face is, can I cut plexiglass with a table saw? The answer is a very big yes! According to most experts, using a table saw is one of the best ways of cutting plexiglass.
Although you can use jigsaws, circular saws, or other types of saws with plexiglass blades depending on the acrylic thickness. Read below to learn more about cutting plexiglass with a table saw.
Can I Cut Plexiglass with A Table Saw?
Yes, you can use a table saw to cut plexiglass. According to most artisans, this is the easiest way to cut plexiglass properly.
However, before we discuss the intricate details, let’s first discuss what plexiglass is!
What is Plexiglass?
First things first, plexiglass is not glass! It’s a type of clear acrylic thermoplastic that works as a great alternative to glass if you need more durability and tensile strength. So, this is a kind of plastic glass.
Plexiglass is usually used as a replacement for glass where sturdiness and lightweight are necessary. However, glass is more scratch-resistant and easily recycled than plexiglass.
How to Cut Plexiglass
Now, plexiglass sheets need to be cut down to exact sizes to be used in projects. But most people don’t know how to cut plexiglass or what material to use.
To cut plexiglass, you can use any circular saw, jigsaw, or table saw with carbide-tipped teeth. However, table saws provide the most consistent result with very less chipping.
So, to cut plexiglass with a table saw, you will need the following:
- A Table Saw
- The Correct Blade
- Safety Equipment
- Plexiglass Sheet
- Push Block
- Scales and Rulers
After you receive your sheet, you will find the plexiglass covered on both sides with a type of paper or acrylic. This is done to prevent scratches on the plexiglass surface.
So, it would help if you cut with this transparent cover still in place. Only remove the cover when using the plexiglass piece on your project.
Most experts suggest cutting slowly and smoothly to avoid chipping. Also, as the sheet is thin, it flutters a lot while cutting on the table saw. It would be best if you found a way to control the flutter to have a clean and consistent cut.
What Kind of Saw Blade Do You Use to Cut Plexiglass
There are some different kinds of blades that you can use to cut plexiglass. The type of blade to use depends on the thickness of the plexiglass sheet.
According to most experts, if the thickness of your acrylic sheet is 1/16 to 1/8 inches, you should use a 10 to 14-inches diameter blade. 10-inch blades should have 80 teeth, while the bigger ones should have 100 teeth. Also, for this thickness, you need a blade clearance of 1/8 inch.
However, if your acrylic sheet’s thickness is 1/8 to 1/2 inch, you will need a blade clearance of 1/4 inch. Again, if the thickness is 1/2 to 1 inch, you need a blade with 60 teeth and a blade clearance of 1/4 inch for 10 inches diameter blade and 1/2 inch for bigger blades.
Mainly you can use any general-purpose saw blade for the task with more than 60 teeth. However, if you buy a carbide-tipped blade or a blade specialized for plexiglass/acrylic, you can do the job easily without facing any problems.
So, try to use a carbide-tipped blade, depending on the thickness of your plexiglass sheet.
What is the Best Way to Cut Plexiglass on A Saw Table
The best way to cut plexiglass depends on a lot of variables. There is no perfect way; we can only prefer one over the other.
However, you can use some tips and tricks to cut plexiglass or other plastic material easily. That’s why we will share a step-by-step guide on the best way to cut plexiglass on a saw table below.
Step 1: Ensure Your Safety
Electric saws are very dangerous machinery. So, you need to be 100% about the safety of your environment before using them.
So, before you begin, please ensure that you have safety equipment and gear. You should wear:
- Eye protective goggles
- Long-sleeve shirt
- Leather gloves
Also, ensure that the table surface you’re working on sits solidly on the floor. Because the table saw blade will rotate at a very high speed- about 3500 rpm. So, if the table surface is loose, it can get very dangerous!
Step 2: Select the Correct Blade
As we already mentioned, the correct blade is one of the most important parts of cutting plexiglass with a table saw. Usually, table saws are used to cut wood. So, the blades usually have 24 teeth.
Try to find a blade with more teeth for harder plexiglass and a blade with fewer teeth for softer plexiglass. Because plexiglass is a plastic that will melt with too much pressure, fewer teeth generally chip the harder glass.
Also, remember that you should cut only polycarbonate or cast acrylic with a table saw because the softer plexiglass will burn if too much friction is put into them.
Step 3: Measuring the Cut and Using a Push Block
For working with acrylic, you need to be very accurate here. You will have to consider even the marginal errors because we can correctly measure if we fix these problems.
So, when you set up a fence for the sheet to hold, you need to maintain proper guidelines and consider the thickness of the blade, which also takes some space that needs to be considered.
Step 4: Cutting Techniques
Follow the cutting techniques below to cut without scratching or chipping:
- Clamp a stop block to the fence of the sled. This will keep the plexiglass from shifting while you’re cutting.
- Now, take a piece of scrap plywood and cut it about the shape of the plexiglass, slightly bigger if possible! Put the plywood on top of the plexiglass.
- Use a push block to properly hold the acrylic and plywood without harming yourself.
- After this, you will cut about an inch into the acrylic and plywood. Then, you have to reverse and do it from the opposite side to prevent chipping.
Follow these tips to carry out your project easily!
Here’s a fellow artisan’s video on how to cut plexiglass properly!
Cutting plexiglass sheets with a table saw is a very taxing task! However, the risks are too high for you to be inattentive. So, we suggest you pay your full attention whenever you work with a saw!
Work cautiously with plexiglass. Because no matter how sturdy it is, it can always melt with high friction. Also, you should never do wood or acrylic work without proper safety. So, always ensure the safety of your environment.
Remember, safety comes first!
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