LumberJocks

Cutting acrylic

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by zipmac22 posted 12-27-2018 01:00 AM 667 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View zipmac22's profile

zipmac22

34 posts in 1331 days


12-27-2018 01:00 AM

I have a piece of acrylic, 0.093 thickness) and was planning to use the acrylic sheet for a template. Has anyone cut a sheet of acrylic on their table saw? I have a Freud 10”, 50 Tooth, Thin Kerf blade on my table saw right now. What are the pros and cons of using a table saw over scoring the acrylic and snapping it?

Also, on a similar note…I need to make some round holes in the acrylic as well. Has anyone used a hole saw blade cutting through acrylic? If not a hole saw blade what would work better?

-- Chris, Central Texas


12 replies so far

View squazo's profile

squazo

131 posts in 2123 days


#1 posted 12-27-2018 01:14 AM

I have done this before and there is one thing I can tell you. The biggest thing is that it wants to pick up the back as it passes the back of the blade, you have to use a feather board or something to hold the back down.

You will need a finer tooth blade. This is a another one of those situations where using the blade on the saw backwards could help as well, it works great for PVC.

For something that thin I believe scoring and snapping is the preferred method, at least that is what I gather from all the sign making panel cutting boards I have come across while researching vertical panel saws.

A hole saw will work perfectly, as weill any other drill bits.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

818 posts in 1581 days


#2 posted 12-27-2018 02:12 AM

I have used a thin kerf 40 tooth combo blade on the table saw to cut 1/4” acrylic. Worked with no problems except it does not leave the smoothest of edges. I have also used both hole saw and forstner bits with no problems as well as all sizes of drill bits. Don’t force your cuts, but also don’t go so slow that the acrylic heats up. The melted plastic will gum up the blade and be very difficult to remove.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5683 posts in 2971 days


#3 posted 12-27-2018 06:00 PM

We have a large plastics supplier nearby, and they cut sheets of all kinds of plastic (including acrylic) with a negative hook blade, the backwards would be much the same thing. I’ve cut acrylic with positive hook blades, and it seems to chip at the edges (rather badly) when I do it. Cutting plastic really leaves a mess, the chips cling to everything.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Joe Andrews's profile

Joe Andrews

73 posts in 2477 days


#4 posted 12-27-2018 06:15 PM

I cut 1/4” cast acrylic with a Irwin Marples 50 tooth blade all the time. No chipping or anything. Like others mentioned, the edge isn’t shiny smooth, but it works fine. Not sure how the thinner stock would work. But a simple test cut is all you need to do to find out.

View xeddog's profile

xeddog

252 posts in 3485 days


#5 posted 12-27-2018 06:20 PM

Three things I have found to be important in my limited acrylic cutting are blade geometry, blade height, and blade sharpness. I have had best result with a sharp TCG tooth grind, and blade height as low as possible and still cut through. But to be honest, I have not cut any acrylic as thin as 3/32”, but close at 1/8”. Lastly, I don’t know if this would work, but try taping the cut line. It helps me a lot with things like plywood, maybe it might help here too. If nothing else, it might prevent some scratching.

Wayne

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

707 posts in 389 days


#6 posted 12-27-2018 08:28 PM

I have used a wood burning knife to heat cut the acrylic sheets for picture frames. A slower process verses the table saw.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

818 posts in 1581 days


#7 posted 12-27-2018 11:26 PM

Sorry. When I made my comment above, I didn’t read your post carefully enough to understand that you are dealing with rather thin material. For thin products like that, including plastic laminate, I have had good results with special scoring knives like this one. It has a short edge, but you don’t actually cut with it. You use the back of the edge to plow a groove into the material using a pull stroke. You can either plow the groove deep enough to make a clean snap or keep plowing with multiple strokes to go clear through

View jamsomito's profile

jamsomito

433 posts in 904 days


#8 posted 12-28-2018 12:38 AM

I just cut a 0.093” sheet of acrylic on my table saw with a 10” Freud thin kerf general purpose blade. Not the first time either. I have absolutely no issues. Only problem I ran into is if you cut too slow (like really slow) it will melt instead of cut. But it cuts better than wood for me…

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

707 posts in 389 days


#9 posted 12-28-2018 09:28 PM

For hole cuts, you could use a leather hole punch or even a cheap round center punch , heat up the end and melt in a hole.

View unclearthur's profile

unclearthur

266 posts in 2266 days


#10 posted 12-29-2018 08:23 AM

I’ve cut acrylic sheet of about that thickness with a router, 1/4” straight bit, going slow.

View ohtimberwolf's profile

ohtimberwolf

934 posts in 2830 days


#11 posted 12-29-2018 03:01 PM

Here is some good help. larry

https://www.wikihow.com/Cut-Acrylic-Sheets

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View PropmakerLA's profile

PropmakerLA

15 posts in 488 days


#12 posted 12-29-2018 07:38 PM

For thin Acrylic a track saw would be my first choice as the splinter guard would hold down the material to minimize any chatter. With a track saw there is also little chance of scratching the material

On a table saw we use blades specifically for plastics. With thin material set up feather board to keep material from bouncing to reduce risk of cracking, or use two people to feed material.

A router would be my 3rd choice clamping it to a table edge to use as a straight edge. Spiral trim bits work best on acrylic

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com