Cutting Plexiglass

Someone gave me a sheet of plexiglass that I need to cut into smaller pieces. It's approximately 1/16" thick. What's the best way to cut it without damaging it?
Thanks in advance,
8^)~~~ Sue (remove the x to e-mail) ~~~~~~
"I reserve the absolute right to be smarter today than I was yesterday." -Adlai Stevenson ************************************************* http://www.suzanne-eckhardt.com / http://www.intergnat.com/malebashing /
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There are several tricks used. I have been successful scoring it with a knife and snapping it (sometimes) and I have also been successful using an assortment of power saws, very slowly feed fine tooth blades.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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Well, cutting is damaging it... But anyway. It can be cut pretty much like glass, you score it and then crack it. Some report good success with this method. I tend to clamp a nice guide to the sheet and score with a stanley knife. Repeat several times until you'r at least half way through, then slowly bending will cause it to break off neatly.
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As somebody else said, scoring and snapping (as for glass) -- but perhaps rather than the Stanley knife suggested, perhaps the tool that is sold for cutting/scoring Lexan would be better: more robust. (I bought one at HD to use with Lexan, but I've never tried it on Plexiglass.)
-=- Alan
On 10/31/03 12:06 am Suzie-Q put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

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My son says the only way to do it is use a RotoZip. It does seem to work well. You could also use a RotoZip bit in a MotoTool with a router platform. I thought the high speed would cause major melting, however, with the right bit it leaves a clean cutoff.
Suzie-Q wrote:

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<< What's the best way to cut it without damaging it? >>
I've used my table saw, sabre saw, all kinds of miscellaneous power tools. The trick is to use a sharp blade with plenty of set (relief) to the teeth. This permits the chips to be removed without dragging them past the cut edges where friction will melt them back into the base material. Most larger cities have specialty stores that sell plastic materials. Its worth a visit to see what they use back in the shop for fabricating the various types.
Joe
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Near the ceiling light panel plastics at the box store is a small knife with a hook that works quite well. I've used a strip of wood clamped to the plastic and pull the knife several times and then lay the mark over an edge like the guide just used and a little leverage snaps it nicely.
On 31 Oct 2003 19:15:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comtosspam (Joe Bobst) wrote:

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wrote:

    The folks down at the plastic shop where I get my plexiglas use a circular saw with a sharp, carbide blade. It works well for them and has always worked for me.
            Peter
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wrote:

I cut lots of plexiglass on a tablesaw. It is a high polymer and will stink--use plenty of ventilation. You don't say if you are cutting curves or not, but a bandsaw will do that too. Any wood-cutting tools should work okay. Wear eye protection!
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Bandsaw blade has a chance to cool while a scroll saw doesn't. Tried a csap on scrollsaw and got about an inch before it caught the blade TIGHT after being melted. Found out it wouldn't work.

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I've cut plexiglass with a table saw and a skill saw. But I use a 'plywood' blade (lots of teeth) and I turn the blade around so it spins backwards. Never had any problems. It's the same method I use for cutting aluminum soffit.
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1/16" Plexiglas (it only has one 's') is pretty thin. If it lacks the protective film or paper covers, lay it on a clean cotton towel and score it with one of those special plastic scoring knives. They are inexpensive at the hardware store. With the help of a straight edge (considering your need straight cuts) score it several times. I find that scoring it lightly the first few times gets a nice start that doesn't get off the intended line. John

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On Fri, 31 Oct 2003 05:06:39 +0000, Suzie-Q wrote:

As far as the best tool to use, I can't say. I've used plexiglass knives and they take a long time but look nice if you have the patience. I've also used a jig saw with a blade meant for cutting plexiglass and the like. It melted the plexiglass along the edge, but was very fast. Since then I've heard that a little 10W30 oil on the blade and along the cut lines of the plexiglass (both sides) cuts down the friction and thereby reduces the heat. Haven't had the need to try it yet.
Good luck, Carolyn
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