Can You Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw?

Can you cut plexiglass with a table saw? You may be asking this question if you have plexiglass to cut. Here is what you need to know about plexiglass and how you can cut it with a table saw.

About Plexiglass

When you work with plexiglass, it’s very versatile and can be used for a wide variety of jobs. You want attractive edges which are smooth and accurate, so you need to cut it properly. Plexiglass can be used for a wide number of different jobs such as tabletops, picture frames and anything else where you want to substitute glass. Plexiglass is shatterproof and cost-effective when you compare it to regular glass. You can cut and shape it with regular tools you probably already have around your shop. Many people that have projects want to use plexiglass because of its numerous uses.

Plexiglass Film

The downside to plexiglass is that it scratches easily. A sheet of plexiglass comes with a protective film to reduce scratches when you work with it. You also need to know how to cut plexiglass properly to get the most out of it. Don’t take the film off the glass until you’re ready to cut and work with it. This will reduce the chances that you get scratches on the new plexiglass. Once you cut plexiglass, expect to see some rough edges, so these will need to be smoothed out, especially if you have a project that requires smooth glass edges. As you work with plexiglass, you’ll get better at cutting it. You might want to try one small piece to test how it cuts before you work with more expensive pieces for your project.

Using a Utility Knife

One way to cut plexiglass is to use a utility knife. You can use this for thin sheets of the glass at around 3/16-inch thick. You will score the glass to cut it just like they do to cut regular glass.

Lay your glass on a surface that’s flat. You can use a permanent marker and a yardstick to measure and then draw the line for your cut. Hold your yardstick to the line that you have marked. Take the dull side of your utility knife and run this along the yardstick to score your sheet of plexiglass. Keep scoring the glass to make a deep groove. Go over this 10-12 times. Flip the glass over and then score the other side of the glass in the same way. Hold the edge of the line to a work surface and then secure with a clamp. You can apply some downward pressure on the glass that extends over the work surface and then snap off the plexiglass.

Table Saw

So, can you cut plexiglass with a table saw? The answer to this is yes you can, as long as the glass is thicker. It’s easy to cut the glass with a table saw as it’s sturdy and keeps the glass stable as you cut it. Since the glass is plastic and not actual glass, it can melt. Check with your saw manufacturer and use a blade that is designed to cut plexiglass to avoid issues with the glass melting.

Plexiglass Measuring

Measure your glass using a tape measure before you cut it. Using thin glass on a table saw is not recommend as it may crack or break. Use the utility knife method for thing plexiglass. If the glass is ¼-inch or thicker, you can cut it with your table saw. All other glass should be scored with a utility knife and cut that way.

Saw Blade

Soft plexiglass will melt a lot faster than the hard varieties of the glass. Use a blade that has fewer teeth as this creates less friction as you cut the plexiglass. The harder glass should be cut using a blade that has more teeth. This will reduce glass chipping to a wide degree. Do all the cuts at once to reduce the wear on the blade. Use a blade with a carbide tip as this will work the best on the plexiglass. Make sure your blade is sharp before you do any cutting.

Measure the Cut Size

Measure the size of the cut you want to make and mark this on your glass. When you set your fence on the table saw to hold the glass, you should compensate for the thickness of the saw blade, so you don’t get a narrow piece. Make sure you lock your fence in place.

Glasses

Make sure you use safety glasses when you cut the glass. The plexiglass has sharp shards, and these can easily cut the eyes and lead to a serious eye injury. You should always be using safety glasses with a table saw, so make sure you have them.

Cutting the Glass

Turn on your table saw and then feed the plexiglass slowly through the blade of your saw. You want one end up against the saw fence. If you’re cutting thin strips of the glass, have a wooden safety guide to protect your hands as you cut. Cut slowly and if you get chipping, stop and change your blade to one that has more teeth. If you get melting, you should slow down as this reduces the heat buildup.

Edge Sanding

You may have some glazing on the edges due to the melted plastic. Use fine-grit sandpaper to grind this down. You want this to be as clear as you can once you grind it down. Make sure you sand and remove splinters to keep the edges smooth.

Other Saws

Using a table saw is the best way to cut the glass, but you can use other saws if you prefer. It all depends on the saw that you’re comfortable with. You can you cut plexiglass with a table saw, just go slow and use thicker glass.

Tips

  • Leave film on until the day you wish to work with the plexiglass tor reduce scratches
  • Use a utility knife for thinner pieces of glass
  • Take your time with scoring and cutting
  • Protect your eyes with goggles
  • Sand rough edges for a smooth finish

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