How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw?

Plexiglass is around us wherever we go and is the cheapest and the alternative form of any ordinary glass. From the covering glass of the kitchen cabinet to TV screens, it has made a huge contribution to our daily lives. But did you ever wonder on how is this type of glass is cut into different shapes for different uses? What are the other tools that you can think of other than a circular saw for cutting a plexiglass? Let us have a look at an effective way and different tools that can be used to cut plexiglass with a circular saw.

Safety Tools to Use

There are some important tools that need to be used for safety measures and precautions apart from the circular saw. These tools are:

  1. Eye goggles: Eye goggles are necessary to avoid the sparks and the pieces of the glass sheet entering the eyes.
  2. Type of blade: It is essential to use a sharp blade while cutting the plexiglass. A blunt blade will cause the glass sheet to crack and break. Also, keep the blade as much cool as possible.
  3. Hand gloves: Protect your hands by using gloves. You may get injured on the rough edges of the glass sheet or cut yourself.
  4. Closed-toed boots: Wearing closed boots will keep you safe from your feet getting injured of the pieces of the plexiglass that may be hit by flying.

How to Cut Plexiglass with a Circular Saw?

A Circular saw is the most commonly used tool for cutting plexiglass. Follow the steps mentioned below to get a perfect cut of plexiglass:

Select the Correct Blade

This is very important as selecting the wrong blade may cause the plastic to melt due to the overheating of the blade. The perfect blade size for cutting plexiglass is 10 inches, 80 teeth, and carbide-tipped. The blade must be sharp, or it may cause binding of the plastic. The rake angle must be set in between 5 to 10 positive degrees. Be sure to check that the teeth of the blades are even and of the same height. 

Put on a Safety Gear

Put on a safety gear to prevent the glass pieces from entering your eyes. Ear protection must be taken due to the loud sounds produced when cutting the glass. Wear hand gloves to protect your hands from shaking effects and the flying fragments.

Prepare the glass for cutting

Clean the plexiglass with care and fix it on your workbench. Make sure that the workbench is free of any dirt, and clean the plexiglass as well. Use a pair of clamp-on vices for more stability of the glass. Place a protective film on the top of your plexiglass. Use a marker and a ruler for tracing the part that y intend to cut. Then, hang the part that you will cut freely in the air. Use adhesive tapes on the cut lines to prevent splinters from spreading everywhere. You can use straight pieces of wood for straight cuts. 

Finally, you can remove the protective film once you are done cutting. You can use a coolant spray on your saw blade before proceeding with your cutting. Use adhesive tapes to prevent splintering of the cut line. Use a straight edge guide for cutting in long and straight lines.

Cut the plexiglass

Be sure that the blade rotates at its ideal speed (3450 rotations per minute). Setting the feeding rate at that speed will generate a smooth and perfect cut. After the blade reaches its ideal speed, push the saw gently against the sheet. Pushing the saw hard will cause chipping and damage the glass, causing the chipping to occur in large pieces. Do not stop the feeding of the circular saw to avoid sticking the plexiglass to the saw’s blade. The ideal feeding rate is 3 inches per second. The rate should not be more than that, as the edges will be chipped off. If the rate is lower than that, then the blade will give off excess heat that will cause the glass sheet to crack. Use a detergent mixture and water as a coolant spray to protect the plexiglass from melting. Do not stop feeding and cutting, as the saw and the plexiglass may heat up. If you get dimmer, you could use it to get more control over the blade.

Give Finesse to the glass

Apply the coolant spray once the cutting is over. Leave the glass to dry for some time. Using the spray coolant, you can turn off the lights and use a high focus torch to look for rough surfaces and make them smooth. Once it is done, use an electric drill to polish the surface of the glass. Finally, open the plexiglass from the circular saw and remove the clamps from the vices. Next, use 120-grit sandpaper and wet it with water, then rub it on the uneven side to make them even. You can also use 600-grit sandpaper to get the final smoothness. 

Related Reading: 45-Degree Angle Cut

Other Saw Options

Other saws are used to cut plexiglass apart from a circular saw. These are:

  1. Power saw: This saw is beneficial for cutting into thicker plexiglass sheets.
  2. Table saw: This type of saw helps cut the plexiglass into thinner strips. 
  3. Jigsaw: This type of saw can be used for cutting the plexiglass into zigzag and curved shapes.

 Cautions

  1. Use a pair of eye goggles, earplugs, and hand gloves so that you do not get severe cuts or injuries.
  2. Ensure that the glass has a protective film on both sides without scratch marks while working.
  3. Do not cut the glass on tiles, marbles, or glass materials. Place a wood sheet or a workbench so that the blades cannot ruin anything.
  4. Use your tool carefully and with ease, and disconnect the saw’s power once the work is done.

Bottom Line

Plexiglass is a fascinating invention widely used nowadays. It can be cut into different shapes using a circular saw. But, as this glass is flammable, it needs to be handled wisely as it is made of plastic. Exposing plexiglass to heat may cause it to catch fire as it is not fireproof at all.