On Sun, 10 Jul 2005 09:30:51 -0400, Don Phillipson
Howsa 'bout a plexiglass blade?
All SORTS of tricks exist for this, and ymmv.
If you have a lot of plexi or Lexan (they aren't quite the same
material) to cut, consider a dedicated blade designed for the purpose.
Failing that, try the material manufacturers' websites for any relevant
application notes. In general manufacturers want you to feel warm and
fuzzy about using their stuff, so they try to make sound
Some woodworkers swear by reversing an 80-tooth sawblade (so it turns
the wrong way).
I've done short runs, say five or six cuts, using an matt knife and a
straight edge. After several scores, it snaps right off cleanly.
Lexan is a trade name for polycarbonate plastic. Plexiglas is a trade name
for acrylic plastic. Which do you have?
The best blade is a triple chip, alternating profile tooth with 80 carbide
teeth on a 10" blade. Rake should not exceed 5 Deg. These are typically a
special order item and cost around $100 or more.
Getting a Terry-Fletcher plastic scoring tool is better for smaller
projects. They cost around $6 and last long. Avoid those cheap plastic
cutters with the swing open blade. You can avoid any cutting work by asking
a hardware store or a picture framing business to cut it for you. They
likely have a machine to cut it for you.
I don't recommend screwing it to the window frame. plastic expands and
contracts with varying temperatures so it needs room to move. It is much
better to mount it in a channel system allowing 1/32" per foot for
expansion. Also, screws cause high stress points that detracts from the
material's high impact strength.
Building a shed. $100 blade for a couple or three windows? Cost more
than the windows probably.
I wasn't recommending a particular brand or style of cutter, just
pointing out the difference between a dedicated plastic scoring tool as
opposed to cutting it with a utility knife. I'll remember the
Terry-Fletcher brand name for future reference. Thanks.
In other words, it will probably crack at those screw holes. Thanks
for clarifying, John.
On Sun, 10 Jul 2005 09:30:51 -0400, someone wrote:
Like the other guy said, Lexan is a very different thing from
plexiglas. Lexan is a very high strength engineered plastic and not
typically used on DIY projects or stocked in local hardware stores.
If you have Lexan, you probably made a special effort to get it.
I used to have an office in Pittsfield, MA which considered itself the
home of Lexan (GE Plastics) and has a road named Dan Fox Drive; I have
been told that Dan Fox was the inventor but have not tried to verify
Reply to NG only - this e.mail address goes to a kill file.
Normally with a delicate plastic you can flip the blade around.
(getting the right blade is the best choice, but there are others)
This makes it sort of grind rather than cut. I did the siding on
my house this way, worked real well.
If your material is 1/8", then you need a blade
with at least 16 teeth per inch.
Personally, I use a saber-saw with a hacksaw
blade, and go really slowly. If you need
a clean edge, sandwich the cut with scrap
At my local borg store, you can get
four different kinds of clear plastic,
ranging from lucite to lexan, with
price about proportional to strength.
Crystal-lite (with the pink backing)
is far less likely to chip, crack,
or spall during cutting than the lucite,
so I only use lucite where I can bury the
edges in putty. Lexan probably won't
chip at all.
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