I want to get opinions about how to cut plastic the easiest best way
vs. what I already did. I had 2 kitchen fluorescent lights that had
custom sized plastic covers or lenses over them. Lets say for now
they each were 18" by 36" long. I don't remember the exact
measurements right now. I had to replace the original ones so I went
to Home Depot and bought 2 new plastic ones but they had to be cut to
size. The store wouldn't do it so I had to lay it on the floor at
home and using a straight edge score the plastic many times with a
sheet rock knife (1 hour work for each plastic) till the discarded
piece would break off without cracking off and which might crack into
the piece I needed.
So for a home diy, is there a better (easier) way to do this? I read
someone who had worked in a glass shop suggested a band saw but I
don't know what that is nor want to spend a lot. Any other
suggestions how to cut plastic safely?
And other than Home Depot, is there other places to buy plastic and
perhaps have them cut it? Any idea what the cost is to cut it?
There is a special utility knife like tool that scores Lexan and acrylic
panels pretty well. It is actually more like a glass cutter than a utility
knife. I think it has a carbide blade. I have seen them used but do not
The plastic in the diffuser lenses is a slightly different critter but I bet
the tool would do a better job than a utility knife.
They may even sell them at HD since they sell acrylic panels.
I'd clamp it between two pieces of 1x4 to reduce chattering and
blowouts, score the smooth side, and cut it with a saber saw and a
fine-tooth blade. Pull it out every few inches to cool, so the blade
doesn't get hot enough to melt the plastic and gum up. A helper with a
vac hose right there will help keep the chips down. I presume the edge
is held by the trim on the light, so the world will not end if the edge
is not perfect?
Any full-line window glass or RV repair company, or even a good
traditional hardware store, should be able to cut plastic to size for
you, if they carry the style you want. Most won't cut carried-in
material, in case they screw up. Most big cities have at least one
supply house that will sell plastic in small retail quantities, but
probably do not cut to size. Some places that sell plexi 'safety
glazing' also sell the frosted and lensed styles, and they usually have
that fancy machine (a first cousin to a picture matte cutter) that can
zip out the correct size in seconds.
you can use a score and snap cutter for breakable crackable acrylic
plastic. go to a neighborhood hardware store for the tool and the
technique when they cut an acrylic panel for a storm window in a
screen combination door. or see hdsupplysolutions: PLASTIC/ACRYLIC
HD Supply Part # : 737611
you can use 24 teeth per inch fine tooth saw blades including a
circular saw for cutting unbreakable polycarbonate (lexan), which you
can also drill holes thru without it breaking.
In a business I own and operate I use plexiglass all the time. I treat it
like the wood I use to manufacture my product. I purchase 24x36 inch sheets
locally and cut out 3x5 inch pieces on my table saw. These small pieces are
then run through my shaper to round over the edges slightly. Sandpaper and
a propane torch are then used to polish off the rounded edge. Works just
fine for me.
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