How to cut acrylic at home

Equipment and tools

Plexiglas is processed on the same equipment as wood or metal. A clean cut is obtained when the material is processed on high-speed machines.

The only requirement: machines for cutting plexiglass and circular saws must be equipped with an extractor for quick removal of chips and waste.

How To Cut Acrylic Sheet By Hand

To cut Plexiglas, tools made of tool steels, hard alloys, and diamond are used. It is very important that the cutting edge is sharpened, since the use of poor quality blunt tools leads to chipping, burrs and stresses in the cutting zone. For the same reason, it is impossible to use a tool that has previously been used to cut metal or wood.

Cutting Plexiglas at home is not difficult, because it is malleable and easy to work with. In spite of external similarity with common glass, organic glass has different performance characteristics and can be processed by different methods: turning, planing, sawing etc. It is possible to cut Plexiglas with many tools.

Plexiglas is processed with the following tools:

Nichrome thread

Fusion cutting is done with nichrome wire. Applying a voltage of up to 24 V through a step-down transformer to the wire heats it strongly. Nichrome thread makes curved and shaped cuts that have a good surface quality and do not require further grinding.

Do-it-yourselfers use a screwdriver with a straight slot for fusion cutting. Use an electric soldering iron to heat the metal part of the screwdriver, while the end is pressed against the plexiglass surface. Then, holding the tool by the edge of the handle, use the heated screwdriver blade to draw the cutting line. For drawing straight lines it is more convenient to use a metal ruler or the smooth side of a hacksaw. Plexiglas easily breaks along the dashed line. Read more at

Metal circular saw or mill

A circular saw or metal mill is also a good option for working with organic glass. The metal cutter for cutting plexiglass must not be thicker than 1 mm. Please note that during cutting, the saw or mill heats the material, which melts and foams the material where it is cut. Cooling is needed to prevent damage to the workpiece. A bottle of water is used for this. The vessel is clamped in some way near the cutting tool and water is supplied to the work area with a thin hose.

The circular saw must work at high RPM. Some tools have a special mode for processing plexiglass. A saw can be used for jobs that do not require a high quality cut. The cutter, on the other hand, is suitable for making finer and cleaner cuts. Using a water cooling system produces a smooth, even surface, and the cut is clear and accurate.

With the cutter

Small thicknesses of Plexiglas are perfectly cut with a construction cutter. You can use a home-made tool made of a hacksaw blade or even a utility knife for this purpose.

The cutter can only make a straight cut. For this purpose a ruler (preferably a metal one) is pressed to the sheet of material along the line of the intended cut, then several times with pressure move the cutting tool along the surface of plexiglass along the ruler. When the cut reaches the middle of the plexiglass layer, it can be easily broken. The place of the break will be uneven and rough, so you need additional grinding.

Metal hacksaw

The easiest way to cut plexiglass with your own hands is with a metal saw. The mowing line of the cut must be pre-drawn with a pencil or felt-tip pen. During work, the hacksaw must be kept straight, taking care not to tilt it sideways. It is desirable to fix the workpiece firmly. The surface of the cut will not be straight. All the irregularities and burrs are removed with a file and emery paper.

How to avoid mistakes when working with the laser

The Corel Draw program is used for the design of the acrylic

Laser operation is fundamentally different from mechanical systems. The main feature of laser cutting technology of acrylic is that the laser does not literally cut the plastic. Where the beam makes contact with the material surface, part of the plastic is simply vaporized. That’s why you can’t place the parts too close to each other when cutting and sanding plexiglas. you can damage the neighboring one.

Cutting acrylic glass using a laser is more accurate and cost-effective compared with using a milling machine or a circular saw. All laser machines (they are called plotters) are computer controlled.

To create even the most complex product it is sufficient to enter the program layout in vector format (created in Corel Draw) and set the necessary parameters. the temperature or the thickness of the light beam (and some models of machines select the desired settings). Further the automatism will cope by itself, optimally distributing elements on one or several sheets of plexiglas with total thickness up to 25mm.

When working with laser plotters, you need to be careful with the software setup. Improperly configured equipment can give a high percentage of marriage: deformed acrylic sheets, melted edges of the product and rough cuts.

Some irregularities are possible also when using a machine in a normal mode, which is used in the processing of some types of plexiglass, including specular and colored. Its peculiarity is the compressed air supply into the zone of processing. In this mode, the end faces of the product do not look polished, but dull. To obtain a perfectly smooth, mirror-like cut, the polishing mode is used. It no longer uses air, the cut takes twice as long and the cost increases.

Cutting Plexiglas with a three-tooth blade

What to cut plexiglass in large quantities? Technical development of hand tools does not stand still. For more efficient use of the angle grinder industry has released a three-toothed saw blade for wood.Three-toothed saw blade Its technical specifications mention organic glass along with wood. It perfectly copes with the cutting of acrylic for straight cuts. Material does not heat up, melt or stick to the saw blade. The thickness from 5 to 10 mm is suitable for this disc.

How to work an angle grinder with a three-toothed saw blade look at this

Besides the angle grinder folk craftsmen use an electric jigsaw with special saws for Plexiglas.

Cutting plexiglass (acrylic) with a laser

This method of cutting is one of the most advanced. The most complex contours can be cut with plexiglass laser cutting equipment. Processing speed depends on the laser beam power. The sheet feed is adjusted to the quality (gloss) of the edge. The thicker the sheet, the slower the feed rate and vice versa. A too slow feed will give a dull cut, and a too high feed will give notches and stripes. This can also be due to improper focusing of the laser: it should be focused strictly on the middle line of the thickness of the sheet.

Method two cutter

If the material is not too thick you can even use an ordinary box cutter. So, before you cut the necessary elements, you will need to prepare. To make sure the line of the cut is as straight as you need it, prepare a ruler. It will be better if it is metallic, but if you can not find it, any other line will do. Position the ruler along the marked mowing line of the cut and then move the cutter carefully but firmly along the ruler. It can be a few strokes. The sheet thickness you need to cut through 50%. Now with a neat but exact move break the sheet. The cut line will also not be perfectly straight, it requires additional grinding.

It is possible to make the cutter yourself, if necessary. Some home craftsmen use an ordinary piece of glass, having previously secured the place where the hand is held.

Preparatory stage

This step involves preparing the necessary tools and the workpiece itself.

Depending on which method will be chosen, the following tools and equipment will be needed

  • A vise or several clamps to secure the workpiece;
  • manual or mechanical cutting tools (it can be a metal saw, electric jigsaw);
  • form for bending (usually use a metal tube, a wooden bar, a tabletop or other equipment capable of providing the required bending radius);
  • abrasive material to smooth the edges of the structure;
  • a container of water;
  • source of electric current (can be AC or DC);
  • soft inserts, to prevent mechanical marks from the vise or clamps on the surface of the part.

Any operation of bending organic glass involves its heating. This can be heating the immediate place of the bend or the entire part, if its size is not large. For this purpose use a variety of heat sources.

What to saw plexiglass at home

The need to saw plexiglass does not arise very often, if we are talking about home use, but sometimes you still have to think about what tools you may need in such a situation.

If you decide to make something out of plexiglas yourself, then you need to master the skills of working with this material. The most common acrylic is 8 mm thick. It is worth noting that it is not difficult to saw or cut organic glass, because this material lends itself perfectly to all methods of treatment. Below we will consider, what you can saw plexiglass at home using available tools.

For sawing with a circular or circular saw

Give preference to high-speed blades, in which the frequency of teeth will be not less than two per centimeter. If you use carbide-coated blades, they will leave a minimum of roughness and give the maximum smoothness of the cutting edge. The height of the blade should be at least three millimeters greater than the thickness of the plexiglass. This will help to minimize the shredding of the edges of the saw cut. It is better to grease the blade with wax or soap. If thickness of plexiglass will be more than six millimeters, then it is necessary to cool a blade with water that edges of cut will not melt.

Can be used when cutting plexiglass no thicker than five millimeters. This is probably the easiest method if you don’t have any special tools handy. We arm ourselves with a metal ruler, put it to the place of the cut, press it firmly and run the cutter knife several times with a strong pressure.

acrylic, home

If the cutter is sharp enough and a strong pressure, then 2-3 times you get a groove deep enough in half the thickness of the plexiglass. This is enough to simply break the plexiglass along the outlined scythe line. Slide the Plexiglas cut line to the edge of the table and press the dangling edge firmly and sharply. The plexiglass breaks off. Sharp edge should be processed with fine sandpaper.

Due to the low melting point of Plexiglas it can be cut with a jigsaw with a nichrome wire that is inserted instead of a saw. To the ends of the wire, bring it through a transformer with a voltage of 3-4 V. The wire heats up and goes into the plexiglass like butter. It’s very handy for making shaped cuts this way. Another good thing about this method is that it gives the smoothest cutting edge. One important thing to keep in mind is the insulation of the handle. It should be made of wood or plastic and not conduct electricity.

I’ve always cut Plexiglas in a cutting shop before. Because with an angle grinder you can only burn it, and a hacksaw is a pain in the ass.

Not to waste time and money on glass cutting, my manager showed me an excellent and quick way to cut plexiglass with my own hands

(Maybe someone is familiar with it, but I did not know)))

Take a hacksaw blade, break it in half and shape it as shown in the photo.

The “tip” highlighted by the yellow square we sharpen. Next, we will call it a knife)) To sharpen and give this shape we used an electric sharpener.

It is better to tape the plexiglass with masking tape. It will be easier to mark it and it won’t scratch.

Then firmly lay the ruler on the marked out strip and with not much effort start to cut the glass with the sharp end of the knife. From one side of the glass to the other. Try to press the knife to the ruler a little bit.

For evenness of cut surface it is possible to make not big notches on edges of glass.

We cut the glass to half its thickness and then break it on a mowing line cutter. That it is easier to break on the back side it is possible to make not a deep cut in the same way)

It is better to break it on the side with the deeper cut. And oops)

At the point where it breaks, the edges are not very straight. They can be processed with a file or something abrasive)

What would save time we did a “device” tightly-wound sandpaper on the drill bit and fix it all ties.

Cutting plexiglass can be useful infrequently, it is more logical to entrust the work to professionals by contacting a specialized company. But sometimes you may need to make a single cut, or there is a desire to do the work yourself in order to realize their own design ideas.