cutting a fluorescent light panel

Some time ago I had to score the replacement light panels (maybe a plastic type material) for my kitchen lighting because the standard size did not fit. Here is a similar picture of the kitchen light panels in my kitchen...
http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%3Fei%3DUTF-8%26p%3Dfluorescent%2Blight%2Bpanels%26type%3D302398&w 0&h0&imgurl=www.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dfluorescent%2Blight%2Bpanels%23focal%3D6417f85918351fcc42df61ce36935ea8%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fhi.atgimg.com%252fimg%252fx%252f5570%252ffg1206_alt.jpg&size=&name=search&rcurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dfluorescent%2Blight%2Bpanels%23focal%3D6417f85918351fcc42df61ce36935ea8%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fhi.atgimg.com%252fimg%252fx%252f5570%252ffg1206_alt.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dfluorescent%2Blight%2Bpanels%23focal%3D6417f85918351fcc42df61ce36935ea8%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fhi.atgimg.com%252fimg%252fx%252f5570%252ffg1206_alt.jpg&p=fluorescent+light+panels&type=&no=2&tt4&oid=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fimages%2Fthumbnail.aspx%3Fq%3D1572634629439%26id%3Dec41363fd57f7de6b2a3b482555d54eb&tit=...+Iron+Diffuser+Fluoresc ent+Decorative+Panel+-+Lighting+Universe&sigr5emmqla&sigiu1n1ous&sigbe4itcmn&fr=chr-greentree_ff
or if this URL is too long...
http://tinyurl.com/7c2j28g
It took me almost an hour for each panel and was a royal pain. I asked Home Depot then if there was a tool for this and they said no, just score it. Just wondering if there is an easier way for future knowledge???
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c
I go with several light scores with a fresh blade [for every panel] in a razor knife. Then snap and sand.
I clamp my straightedge to the piece-- and make sure there is a a sharp edge under the cut- [I like a piece of planed 5/4 pine that I usually have handy.
Jim
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wrote:

SNIP!!
Jim's technique is what I use too. Keeping the knife in the same groove for multiple scores is the tricky part.
I tried both power saws and hand saws for cutting plastic louvers and smaller plastic panels once. Not a good idea because the heat at the cut causes the plastic to melt into a gooey mess. Maybe there's a special saw blade or slow-sawing technique that works, but scoring/sanding is simple.
Tomsic
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On Sat, 03 Mar 2012 08:54:24 -0500, Tomsic wrote:

I've had success before with a very fine-toothed saw blade and using lots of oil to absorb the heat. I'm wondering now if I can get such a blade for my wet tile saw though (I used oil before because obviously water doesn't mix well with most power tools :-)
cheers
Jules
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Yeah, score it on the smooth side several times with a plexiglass cutter and then snap it on the edge of a tabletop or workbench.
Home Depot sells cheap cutters like this one
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
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I've cut HUNDREDS of them with a plexi knife.
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If you use a jig saw with a fine blade and put a piece of masking tape over the area that you are cutting it will not melt.
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Don't know if your panels are acrylic, but for years I have done major projects with Plexiglas cut on my table saw with a good quality very sharp blade.Others have posted in this NG in the past reporting similar success. This is what major plastic suppliers do in their shops as well.
Joe
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Tomsic wrote:

A router can be used, but if I only had to do a few of them I'd just use a razor knife.
Jon
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On 3/3/2012 1:55 AM, Doug wrote:

Find a buddy with a table saw. I've cut a great many. With a good saw it is easy to keep the panels square and be able to cut either or both dimensions. Be sure to make provisions to not allow the lens to get up under the rip guide. Really old lenses get brittle and tend to shatter along the edge, but new ones cut like butter.
--


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