Q:

How do you cut hard plastic?

A:

Cut hard plastic, including Plexiglas, with a table saw using a properly selected and adjusted blade. Because plastics do not dissipate heat like metals, cut them slowly to prevent thermal stress. The time to complete the project depends on the number of cuts and the complexity of the design.

  1. Select the correct blade

    Carbide-tipped blades stay sharp longer than an ordinary circular saw blade. When cutting plastic, select the largest blade possible for use with the saw. Look for a blade with a minimum of 60 teeth in a triple-chip tooth design. Choose a blade with a width that is greater than its body.

  2. Adjust the blade before the cut

    Minimize chipping of the hard plastic by setting the blade to a depth that is 1/2 inch greater than the thickness of the material you plan to cut. When cutting thinner materials with a table saw, stack two or more layers before cutting. Clamp the stack to prevent the layers from slipping as you cut.

  3. Maintain a slow cutting speed

    Move the material through the saw at a steady rate of 3 to 4 feet per second. The feed rate should be slow enough that the saw cuts freely without slowing down the motor due to overloading. Use compressed air or liquid to help dissipate heat and prevent stress fractures.

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