Table Saw

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw
Written by Muhammad Haseeb

Plexiglass is a well-known material that is often used in home improvements and do-it-yourself projects. This material is strong, doesn’t break easily, and can be used for many things around the house, like windows, ceilings, shelves, and more.

 It might look hard to cut acrylic, but it’s very easy if you know what to do and have the right tools. We will talk about how to cut plexiglass with a table saw.

Before we get into how to cut plexiglass with a table saw, it’s important to know what the material is made of. Plexiglass, which is also called acrylic or Perspex, is a thermoplastic that can break, melt, or chip if it is not cut correctly. 

To keep the material from getting damaged and to make sure the cut is clean and precise, it is important to use the right tools and methods.

What is Plexiglass?

To begin with, it’s not glass.  It’s plastic, which is hard, clear, and cheaper than glass.  Acrylic is a clear thermoplastic made from petroleum that is generally made in sheets.  Poly(methyl methacrylate) is the scientific name for it. To put it simply, it’s vinyl.

It’s not heavy and won’t break easily. Because it’s strong and clear, it can be used almost anywhere glass would be.  

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw:

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw

Step 1) Get the Table Saw Ready:

Need a table saw with a diamond blade, a measuring tape, a straight edge or T-square, a pencil or marker, and a clamp or jig to cut plexiglass? Here are the things you’ll need.

 It is best to use diamond saw blades to cut plexiglass because they are made to cut hard materials like metal, glass, and pottery. They have small diamond particles on the blade that are spread out evenly. These diamond particles grind through the material instead of breaking or chipping it.

Before you start cutting, make sure the diamond saw blade is on the table saw correctly and with no loose parts. Follow the maker’s guidelines to properly install the blade, and use a wrench to tighten the blade’s nut or bolt. 

Make sure the blade is clean and sharp, and that it doesn’t have any chips or other things on it that could scratch or damage the plexiglass.

Step 2) Mark and Measure the Plexiglass:

To get a clean cut, you need to correctly measure and mark the plexiglass. Find out how big the acrylic sheet is with a measuring tape, and then use a pencil or marker to mark the cutting line.

 Draw a straight line along the cut line with a straight edge or a T-square. Use a tool or a template to mark the cutting line if you need to make cuts at an angle or a curve.

Step 3) Attach the Plexiglass to the Table Saw:

A clamp or jig should be used to hold the plexiglass to the table saw so that it doesn’t move or vibrate while it’s being cut. Place the sheet of acrylic on the table saw so that the cutting line lines up with the blade. 

Hold the plexiglass tightly in place with a clamp or a jig so it doesn’t move or bend.

Step 4) Change the Speed and Height of the Blade:

The speed and height of the blade are very important for both the quality of the cut and the safety of the process. If you want to cut acrylic, you should set the blade height to as low as it can go, usually about 1/8 inch or less. 

This will make it less likely that the plastic will crack or melt from too much heat or pressure.

You should also change the blade’s speed based on the type of cut you want to make and how thick the plexiglass is. Some thin sheets of plexiglass are used for picture frames or small windows. 

For these sheets, a low blade speed of 3000 to 4000 RPM is best. A faster blade speed of 5000 to 6000 RPM may be needed for bigger sheets or more complicated cuts. If you want to know how fast to cut plexiglass with a diamond saw blade, check the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 5) Cut With the Table Saw:

The blade’s height and speed should now be set. Now, turn on the table saw and slowly lower the blade onto the plexiglass. To get the plexiglass through the blade, start cutting along the line that has been marked and apply light, steady pressure.

 Stick to a steady speed with the blade and don’t pause or stop in the middle of the cut. This could cause the plexiglass to melt or break.

During the cutting process, it’s also important to keep the blade cool. The heat from the rubbing could damage the laser or the blade. To keep the blade cool and stop it from getting too hot, you can use a lube or a coolant, like water or oil.

Step 6) Clean Up the Sides and Finish Cutting:

The cut is done. Turn off the table saw and carefully take the plastic off of the saw table. You can smooth out and even out the cut edges with sandpaper or a file if they are rough or sharp.

 Start with a rough grit of sandpaper, like 120 grit, and work your way up to a fine grit, like 400 grit, until the sides are shiny and smooth.

Also, clean the sides of the plexiglass after cutting it because they might have picked up dust, debris, or other things from the cutting process. Be careful not to scratch or damage the plexiglass surface when you clean the edges. 

Use a soft cloth or paper towel and a light soap solution. Do not use rough cleaners like ammonia or bleach on the plexiglass because they could damage or change its color.

During the cutting process, put the lubricant or cooling agent on the blade every so often. Be careful not to get it on the plexiglass or the saw table, though, because that could cause them to slip or get damaged.

Table Saw Safety Precautions for Cutting Plexiglass:

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw

If you do it right, cutting acrylic with a table saw can be a safe and useful process. You should be aware of some risks and threats, though. When you use a table saw to cut plexiglass, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Wear safety glasses, gloves, and a dust mask to keep yourself from getting hurt by moving objects, dust, or fumes.
  • If you don’t want the blade to touch the plastic or kick back, use a table saw with a blade guard and a raving knife.
  • If you cut too quickly or with too much force, the plastic could break or melt.
  • Do not touch the blade with your hands. To move the plexiglass through the saw, use a push stick or a jig.
  • Always keep the saw table and blade clean. If they are dirty, it could affect how well and safely the cut is made.
  • To keep the blade cool and stop it from getting too hot, use the right oil or cooling agent.
  • For the blade height and speed, make sure to follow the blade’s manufacturer’s directions. Also, make sure to change them based on the thickness and type of plexiglass you are cutting.

Bottom Line: How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw

Using a table saw to cut plexiglass can be difficult, but the results can be accurate and look like they were made by a professional. If you use the right methods and follow safety rules, you can use a diamond saw blade to cut plexiglass and get clean, smooth edges that are good for many do-it-yourself projects and home improvements.

 Do not forget to wear safety gear, clamp the plexiglass to the saw table, change the blade’s height and speed, and keep it cool and greased while it cuts. You can become very good at cutting acrylic with a table saw if you practice and wait. Then you can make beautiful things that will amaze your family and friends.

FAQs about How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw

Is it Possible to cut Plexiglass with a Table Saw?

When you use a saw, If you don’t want to chip the piece while cutting it, make sure the circle saw or table saw has a fine blade with crosscut teeth. Place the piece of plexiglass on the line where the cut was made. Slow down the saw or spray water over the cut point while the saw is working to keep the material cool.

What is the Best Tool to Use to Cut Plexiglass?

There are different best ways to cut plexiglass based on how thick it is and what kind of cut you need to make. A table saw can make quick, clean cuts in both thick and thin materials that are straight. It is best to use a jigsaw with a plexiglass blade for cutting thick and thin materials in bent shapes.

How do Experts Cut Plexiglass?

A 10″ plastic cutting saw blade is recommended, or a 7 1/4′′ plastic cutting saw blade if using a circular saw. First, mark or use a straight edge to guide your saw in a straight line where you want to cut the plexiglass.

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About the author

Muhammad Haseeb

Muhammad Haseeb is the CEO and Founder of Techy Saw, a website that provides reviews, tutorials, and information about cutting saws. He studied at Concordia College and Virtual University of Pakistan. Haseeb has over 5 years of experience in the woodcutting industry.

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