cuting plexi

what is the most efficient way to cut plexi-glass

A table saw with a non-ferrous blade.

After that, a jig saw with some lubricant
to avoid melting from the friction.


A band saw works too.

If it’s really thin plexiglas, I think you can score it and then carefully snap it. Look it up on google for more instructions.

The same blades you use for wood will work well but, you can buy specialty bits to cut plexi which work really nicely.

depends how much you care.

a carbide table saw blade works great for making strips.

metal bandsaw blade nice and slow works.

if milling it use a little coolant. just regular 40:1 mixture

if its polycarbonate scoring may not work

If it’s polycarbonate, you can use a jump press (I’ve only ever cut 1/16" thick polycarbonate on a jump press, I’m not sure how much thicker you can get before it doesn’t work as well.

I suggest with a properly applied cutting implement.

I’d love to help, but we need a bit more info. What thickness? What kind of cuts? What type of Plexiglass, or is this actually Polycarbonate/Acrylic?

My Favorite way to cut plexiglass is with a table saw. I’ve done it with a vertical bandsaw and a guide to keep it straight but the plexiglass may crack if it gets too jumpy.

As for Lexan (Polycarb), a Table Saw is still best for Straight cuts and I Like a vertical band saw the best for any kind of a technical cut.

If you’re in a pinch and you need to cut Lexan (polycarb) you can use a Circular Saw. I’d only cut this way as a last resort because it gets pretty dangerous.

If it is thin, like 1/16 or smaller, shears work. They are slow but very straight.

Also, **leave the paper backing on it while you’re cutting it!!! **
This is important to avoid cracking/splintering for whatever method you use to cut it if you’re using a saw type method.

If you’re using a heated up piece of wire (which is possible for both cutting & bending - on a very low heat setting to avoid burning too much), then it would probably be better to take the paper off first.

Leave the film on the plexi glass, use a small tooth ratio blade, and also cut slowly so it will not fuse back together.

Don’t use a hand saw. I had to do that at a regional once and it was not a good idea.

Also, when you cut plexi with a power blade. Realize that the plexi will send off little fragments of the glass. Might be a good idea to have sleeves on when cutting. (Just make sure the sleeves can’t get caught or anything.)

We have been using jigsaws. Not the best, but they work. Gotta use coarse blades though, or else you will have melting problems.

A foot shear works well for 1/8" and thinner polycarbonate.
For thicker polycarb, a circular saw goes fast, but it splinters like mad.

Although it has been hinted at in this thread, I wanted to be sure that you knew that Plexiglas is different than polycarbonate.

I know that the difference may appear to be semantic to us electrical types but it is important. If you hit Plexiglass with a hammer it will violently shatter whereas polycarbonate is so resilient that it is used in most saftey glasses you and your team wear in the pits…

The impact resistance of polycarbonate extends to tooling as well. Polycarbonate can be cut in a sheet metal shear, bent on a brake and drilled or machined easily. Plexiglas is not nearly as machinable.

My team always uses polycarbonate on our robots and we never use Plexiglass. This not only gives us a more robust robot but also increases the safety margin for the students working on the robot.



And a tip on drilling - you can break the leading edges on the bit to prevent them from digging in and grabbing. See If you can find the untwisted drill bits that are used in the Yankee type push drills, they serve a similar purpose. This also works for brass.

A few drops of water with liquid dishwashing detergent in it will help as well.

Mike I totally agree. I would never use plexiglas anywhere in my robot. I can get all I want for free but we still chose to purchase polycarbonate instead.

My company sells supplies for sign making. The reason I can get plexi free is because it is easily damaged in shipping and we always have the damaged pieces saved in our damaged goods rack. You won’t find any polycarbonate in that rack.

In a bind, Team 975 once used some of the “high strength” Acrylic. It was only moderately more durable than the regular stuff. No comparison to polycarbonate.

Other than the table saw type stuff, we use a dremel with a spiral cutting bit (actually a Roto-Zip bit), with a straight-edge clamped to the material as a guide. Works very well.

BTW, don’t inhale the fumes! Ventilate! :eek: