Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional builder, acrylic perspex is becoming one of the preferred options for most of the constructors. Encapsulated with glass-like clarity, strength and resistance, working with acrylic sheets (guide to which plastic should you choose) does not demand specialised skills and techniques. These sheets can be cut with standard workshop tools including:
- Power saws
- Acrylic dowel or blocks
- Hand saws
Over the years, many do-it-yourself projects have used acrylic sheets to enhance their design and durability. However, if you are a DIY enthusiast and are finding it difficult to cut acrylic at home, then have a look at a number of ways (listed below) to cut acrylic (also sold as perspex and plexiglass), achieving highest degree of precision.
Cutting with a hand saw:
Most people prefer to cut acrylic using a hand saw. However, this technique demands more concentration when compared with electrical saws. To achieve the best result it is advisable to use a saw that has uniform teeth.
Cutting with a scoring knife:
It is one of the easiest methods to cut acrylic table tops. The process doesn’t demand to use a power saw or any other heavy-duty electrical equipment. However, the process requires following steps:
- Mark the area of sheet you want to cut.
- Use scoring knife to cut a narrow groove in the acrylic sheeting
- Scoring preferably works on sheets less than ¼” (6.35mm) in thickness.
- Place the sheet over hard edge with groove-side up.
- Clamp the sheet if needed.
- Bend the overhang side of the sheet with quick and even motion.
- As sheet bends, the groove will deepen as the crack propagate throughout the sheet.
- Bending will result in the separation of two pieces (polycarbonate sheet) with relatively straight and clean edges.
Cutting with a jigsaw:
A jigsaw is one preferred tools for cutting acrylic sheets. It is a small handheld tool that can cut the sheet with straight blade by function up and down in fast motion. However, if you are intended to cut acrylic into a nonlinear fashion, then jigsaw is the right option for you. It helps to achieve precise results by cutting the edges into curves and angular form. However, it is advisable to experiment the setting and positioning of the machine to gauge desired results.
Cutting with a band saw:
A band saw is best for cutting intricate shapes and curves. While using a band saw, it is important to carefully select blade and feed rate of the machine to minimise the risk of melting or chipping of the sheet. A band saw works best with a thickness greater than 0.472 inches. It helps to achieve clean and clear edges by retaining the sharpness of the material.
Cutting with a laser:
Laser systems are designed to achieve complex and defined cutting of acrylic. Laser cutting is one of the preferred options to cut the desired design. Connected to a computer, the laser cutter works as a printer to translate the design/image onto the piece of acrylic. If you need to create complex, intricate and creative shapes with acrylic then a laser is probably the better option for you.