What is plexiglass?
Plexiglas, also called acrylic glass, is an extremely strong and transparent material that’s widely used in construction, home improvement, and art projects. It comes in many different colors, thicknesses, and sizes. The most common applications are shower enclosures, windows, doors, and display cases.
There are three types of acrylic sheets:
- Cast acrylic
- Extruded acrylic
- Polycarbonate acrylic
Cast acrylic is commonly used in molding because it can be easily shaped into almost any shape. It’s also fairly easy to work with, but it has some drawbacks. Cast acrylic is heavier than other materials, which means it takes longer to dry out. It doesn’t have much flexibility, so it may crack if bent too far. And, like all plastics, cast acrylic will eventually break down over time.
Extruded acrylic is made by forcing molten plastic through a die at high pressure. This process creates a sheet that has very little warpage. Because extruded acrylic is flexible, it’s often used for making signs, banners, window displays, and picture frames. It’s also lightweight, durable, and long lasting.
Polycarbonate acrylic is similar to polycarbonate resin. Like cast acrylic, polycarbonate acrylic is heavy and hard to bend. But unlike cast acrylic, polycarbonates are heat resistant and won’t shatter when dropped. They’re also more translucent than cast acrylic. Polycarbonate acrylic is sometimes used in architectural glazing, where its durability makes it a good choice for large-scale projects.
How To Cut Plexiglass On a Table Saw?
Cutting plexiglass with a table saw isn’t difficult, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you start. First, make sure your table saw is set up correctly. Next, choose the right blades. Finally, follow these steps.
Step For How To Cut Plexiglass On a Table Saw
Before you use a table saw to cut plexiglass, make sure it’s properly set up. Follow these steps to get started.
Make sure the fence is positioned correctly. If the fence is set too close to the blade, you could damage the blade. If the fence is too far away from the blade, your piece might not fit in the kerf (the area between the blade and the fence). Adjust the fence until it’s just about even with the blade.
Remove any debris from the surface of the table. Small particles of wood or metal can cause problems during cutting. Clean the table with a damp rag.
Raise the blade guard. Most table saws have a built-in blade guard that protects your hands from flying shavings and sparks. You should always raise this guard before using the table saw.
Set the depth stop. A depth stop prevents the piece being cut from going deeper than the setting on the machine. For safety reasons, always lower the depth stop before starting a cut.
Tighten the miter gauge. Some table saws come equipped with a miter gauge. These gauges allow you to set the angle of the cut. Before you begin cutting, tighten the screw that holds the miter gauge in place.
Install a dust collection port. All table saws include a dust collection port. The port lets air flow around the blade, preventing the spread of dust and debris. Make sure the port is installed correctly.
Adjust the height of the fence. The fence controls how deep the piece being cut goes into the material. When you first install the saw, the fence should be set as low as possible. Then, after you’ve adjusted the piece being cut, move the fence back to its original position.
Lower the blade. After you’ve finished adjusting the pieces, lower the blade so that it’s at the lowest position possible. This will prevent the blade from hitting anything while you’re cutting.
Turn off the motor. Always turn off the power supply before you remove the blade cover. Doing so stops the saw from running if something gets caught underneath the blade.
Remove the blade cover. Lift the cover off the blade. Be careful! Blades can easily fly out of the saw if you lift them improperly. Once you’ve removed the blade, wipe down the entire saw with a clean cloth to remove any excess oil.
Check the alignment of the guide pins. Alignment guides help ensure that your piece fits snugly in the kerf. To check the pin alignment, line them up with the centerline of the blade. If they aren’t aligned perfectly, adjust one or both pins accordingly.
Choose the Right Blade for Plexiglass
When you need to cut plexiglasses, you’ll want to use a blade designed specifically for this type of work. There are two types of blades used to cut plexiglass: carbide-tipped blades and diamond-coated blades. Carbide-tipped blades are made of hard steel mixed with tungsten carbide. They offer excellent performance when cutting glass, but they require frequent sharpening. Diamond-coated blades are coated with diamonds. Because they don’t wear down as quickly as other blades, they last longer. However, because they cost more, they’re usually reserved for professional applications.
Always make sure you follow these steps when working with a table saw. Table saws can be dangerous tools. Always read the instructions included with your saw and keep an eye on your fingers. Never try to clear a jam yourself. Call a qualified technician immediately.
Cutting plexiglass With a Table Saw
- Lay the plexiglass flat against the edge of the table. Avoid placing the plexiglass faceup on the table. This could lead to damage.
- Place a straightedge across the bottom of the plexiglass. Use a scrap piece of plexiglass to help guide the straightedge.
- Align the blade of the saw with a straightedge. If you have a miter gauge attached to the saw, make sure it’s pointed away from the plexiglass and toward the straightedge.
- Slowly lower the blade until it touches the plexiglass, then slowly pull the blade up again. Repeat this process several times until the entire surface has been cut.
Tips to Avoid Cracking or Breaking Plexiglass as You Cut
To avoid cracking or breaking the plexiglass as you cut it, follow these tips:
- Keep the blade moving at all times. Don’t stop the blade just because you think the plexiglass is done.
- Keep the blade speed slow enough to ensure that the plexiglass doesn’t break.
- Move the piece being cut in small increments.
- Work only one side at a time.
- Cut only half of the plexiglass at once. Then move the piece to the next station.
If you do encounter problems during the cutting process, call a qualified technician right away.
How to Repair Broken Plexiglass?
If you accidentally crack or shatter plexiglass, don’t worry. It’s easy to repair. Just apply some super glue to the broken edges. Let the glue dry completely (about 30 minutes), then carefully press the pieces back together using a hammer and woodblock.
What kind of table saw blade Do I need to cut plexiglass?
You should buy a blade specifically designed for cutting plexiglass. A standard blade will not perform well.
How much does it cost to replace a blade?
The price depends on the brand of the blade and how long it’s been out of warranty. Blades come with a manufacturer’s warranty for 1 year. After that, you may have to pay replacement costs
Plexiglas is a popular material used for many different projects. Whether you need to create a new display case or build a unique art project, you’re sure to find something useful here.
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