What you can cut plexiglass with at home
How to cut Plexiglas
Plexiglas is one of the first composite materials, it combines well the properties of plastic and glass. Due to the special physical and mechanical features of this polymeric material, among which we can highlight the strength and flexibility, it was possible to create a product that lends itself to a variety of processing methods.
Plexiglas, also called acrylic or plexiglass, can be cut, sawed, carved, sharpened, and other impacts. Different names in most cases are associated with manufacturers and brands. Not only is it a good substitute for glass, but it is superior in a number of ways:
- has a high mechanical strength compared to glass;
- withstands heavy loads, which allows it to be used to create large containers;
- Due to the ease of processing, it is used to create elegant interior elements or other small things with complex shapes.
Some features of using industrial equipment
Before cutting plexiglass with a circular saw or using a milling machine, some precautions should be taken. the material heats up quickly and begins not only to melt, but also to smoke
Requires constant cooling. For this use a strong stream of air or ordinary water. One liter of water is enough to work quietly for an hour.
The tank is installed on one side, and the water comes through a plastic hose with a diameter of about 2.5 millimeters. It allows you to make a straight and even cut without melted edges.
Cutting plexiglass at home with a milling machine or laser machine is in most cases not possible, because this complex technical equipment costs a lot of money and takes up a lot of space. At the same time, shops with such machines appear in many cities in increasing numbers, which allows you to use the services of professionals.
Methods of cutting with their own hands
But with what to cut plexiglass at home, which tool will be preferable? It largely depends on the selected type and thickness of the material.
Some craftsmen prefer to use a cutter or a knife-cutter, which are sold in construction stores. You will need a flat surface and a metal ruler. After measuring, you need to run the cutter over the edge a few times with the cutter.
The ruler will act as a limiter. If the sheet has been cut in more than half, you only need to break off the material along the line of the cut. After that, you need to start scraping the edges and use a joinery planer.
If you don’t have it handy, a nail file or sandpaper will do.
Not bad proved itself nichrome thread, which is able to make not just a cut, but to create a certain notch or a complex shaped shape. For its operation is usually used the most simple transformer for 24 volts. When the thread is heated, the plexiglass begins to melt, and even a complex pattern can be made in a matter of minutes.
Do not forget the simplest and most accessible method. Cutting glass with your own hands in the home or garage conditions usually involves using such a tool as a hacksaw for metal. Of course, the cut will be a little rough, but it is not difficult to fix it with a file, file or fine sandpaper.
A screwdriver can also help in a dead end situation. Its blade is enough to warm up the soldering iron with a power of more than 25 W, and then press the end part to the plexiglass and spend a straight line for the trimmer. The organic glass begins to melt and a groove appears. The operation will not take long, and the steel ruler will serve as a guide.
As a summary
Working with plexiglass at home in most cases is not particularly difficult and requires the use of the simplest set of tools. Despite its simplicity, when choosing a particular cutting method, it is worth trying it out on a small piece of material first, and after a kind of “practice” to start the finish work.
Using a circular saw, milling machine or laser cutter is better left to professionals, especially since the number of workshops that offer these services is constantly growing. Often you can choose the right kind of plexiglass.
How to cut plexiglass
There are many different ways to cut and process this material. The main thing is to know the properties of Plexiglas, which has two weaknesses:
- The first is that the material does not tolerate high temperatures. Whenever you work with it it is necessary to avoid heat, it can cause the formation of cracks in the material.
- The second disadvantage is that the glass is easily scratched during processing. Therefore, the work must be carried out with care, and with tools specifically designed for this purpose.
Further ways of processing the material, which is worth considering.
Knife for plexiglass.
Care is needed at this stage. The main danger is overheating the glass. This can lead to a deformation of the plexiglass.
Drilling can be carried out with two types of tools:
- Using a drill. For such works suit a professional drill, as well as home appliance.
- Use a drilling machine. This method is inconvenient because it is practically not applicable at home. Few people use such a machine.
The main thing in such work is to follow the criteria:
- Drilling accurately and in standard mode.
- The rotational speed must not exceed 1000 rpm. Increased speed will lead to melting.
- The drilling tool must have a power of at least 750 W.
To achieve the desired result, it is necessary to calculate the combination of drill speed and drilling depth.
A low speed will result in melting of the material, while a high speed will result in jagged edges around the hole.
For this operation, mechanical processing of the material is used. The rotation of the cutting tool is used to give the product the desired shape. The operation can be carried out with common tools, such as a circular saw or a knife.
However, the result will be far from perfect, and some reworking of the material will be necessary. Milling makes it possible to make a neat cut, as well as additional grinding of the material. With this method it is possible:
- Apply any pattern on the surface of plexiglass. Select the depth and thickness of the image.
- Using a special angle cutter, a more complicated image can be created.
- Beautiful visual effects can be achieved by refracting light. This is available due to the different cutting angles.
CNC controlled milling machines are used for the milling. With such equipment it is possible to perform the operation without rejects, and with increased accuracy.
Also, the machine allows you to perform many operations, including engraving of high complexity. One of the most useful functions is the possibility to pre-program the desired operation.
Plexiglas cutting methods.
How to cut Plexiglas
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Acrylic glass (polymethyl methacrylate) is a hard transparent plastic better known as plexiglass. Plexiglass, or organic glass, is mostly used instead of glass because of its strength, it is not as fragile as regular glass. You can buy plexiglass in sheets and cut it with regular wood tools. Part two describes how to cut small and large sheets of organic glass.
Use this method to cut small pieces of Plexiglas. (A sheet you can easily handle without help.).
- Leave as much paper on the glass as you can until you finish your project. When you are ready to remove the packaging, simply pick up one corner of the protective packaging and remove it.
Lay the sheet (still covered by the protective wrapping) on a flat, level surface. If you don’t have a workbench, you can set up a sawhorse to cut firewood. Use as many work surfaces as possible to support the weight of the Plexiglas.
Get a yardstick to measure the piece you want to cut. Do not use a cloth or metal measuring tape. A yardstick is best for this material.
- Position the gauge on the line you marked.
- Move the glass cutter or knife five to ten times along the line. The deeper the cut, the easier the pieces of Plexiglas will come off. There are several ways to cut the Plexiglas:
- Use a glass cutter.
- Cut with the sharp end of a paper knife or the blunt side of a paper knife.
- Cut the Plexiglas on both sides to make it easier to break off. You don’t technically “cut” Plexiglas, you just make deep notches to make it easier to break off.
Place the cut piece on the edge of your work area. If you cut just one piece, position it so you can clearly see the trimmer line of the cut you marked.
Press down on the cut portion. Push hard enough to break off the cut off part. It is easier to do this if you place wooden blocks along the piece of Plexiglas and press it down. This pressure will be more than enough.
- Clamp the piece of organic glass to a table or machine.
- Use the power saw to smooth out the corners of the glass. This method is good if your Plexiglas sheet is at least 5cm thick. Place the plexiglass so that you have enough protrusion to provide enough clearance for the saw blade.
- Use a drill with a buffer for thicker pieces of Plexiglas. Coat the sanding pad with polishing compound before you begin polishing the glass surface.
Use high-speed metal blades. Purchase blades designed for cutting Plexiglas. Use a carbide blade if you are cutting more than one sheet of Plexiglas at a time or a thick piece.
- Mix a couple of drops of emulsion and water together in a bottle to make a spray.
- Spray the blade with this solution. There is no need to apply this solution liberally, and in most cases it is not useful at all.
Work with the saw at the right speed. The ideal speed when cutting plexiglass is equal to 3450 rpm. The speed of the material should be about 10 cm per second. Keep the speed correct and constant so that you do not break the Plexiglas or the blade will not jam.
Polish the sharp corners. Use an electric saw or polishing drill to smooth out the corners.
How to cut plexiglass with your hands at home
Cutting plexiglass at home is an activity that the average person rarely encounters.
Despite this, from time to time the question arises. how to cut plexiglass? But those people who like to make crafts with their hands and use in their works this unique material, very often faced with this task. quickly cut acrylic into the necessary elements.
Some methods of cutting this material are used in production conditions, in home conditions it is more convenient and practical to use other ways. Let’s see below which methods are used not in production.
For cutting polymethyl methacrylate an electric jigsaw with special files for organic glass is used. Jigsaws for plexiglass are specially marked. the letters of the Latin alphabet MP.S.
To cut plexiglass at home often use an electric jigsaw with MP marking saws.S
When cutting the blade, you need to control the speed of the tool. The higher the RPM, the faster the jigsaw speed. Synthetic polymer begins to melt at high cutting speeds. The place of the cut becomes white and sealed. such a material is unusable.
The feed rate and the number of turns of the file are chosen experimentally. Before starting to cut the working cloth it is recommended to practice on unnecessary fragments of polymethylmethacrylate.
Electric jigsaw is used to create straight and curved cut lines.
Cutting with an electric jigsaw
The use of an electric jigsaw is justified, but it must have a speed control. Special files for organic glass are used for cutting.
If it is impossible to buy them or it is necessary to cut already, you can use wood saws. Here is the main rule: The teeth should be fine, and the cutting speed should be low. At high speeds the cut will melt and turn white. For some workpieces such white seams are not suitable.
Tip: To deburr and keep the cut clean the flame of the gas torch should be used to heat it. As a last resort, you can use a lighter.
The electric jigsaw allows making curved cuts as well. You should choose narrow band saw blades for that purpose.
Tip: When buying organic glass files, pay attention to the marking. It must have the Latin letters MP.S.
Cutting with MP files.S curved parts
Pay attention to the feed rate while cutting. The higher the rotational speed the higher the feed rate can be. The feed rate and RPM should be chosen experimentally so that the acrylic does not melt. While cutting, a face shield must be worn over your whole face to protect against flying splinters.
If the parts have complex curvilinear shapes, it is acceptable to use a nichrome spiral to cut organic glass.
The second way is with the cutter
Even an ordinary box cutter will do if the material is not too thick. So, before you cut the necessary elements, you will need to prepare. To make sure the line for the trimmer cut is as straight as you need it, prepare a ruler. It’s better if it is metal, but if you can’t find one, anything else will do. Position the ruler along the planned line of the cut, and then with accurate but firm movements guide the cutter along the ruler. It can be several movements. It is necessary to cut the sheet by 50% in thickness. Now with a neat but precise movement, break the sheet. The trimmer line will also not be perfectly straight, additional sanding is required.
If necessary, you can make the cutter yourself. Some home craftsmen use an ordinary piece of glass, first securing the place where they hold the hand.
Cutting organic glass at home is a fairly simple operation, which can be done with improvised tools
In order to determine how and what to cut plexiglass with, you need to pay attention to the thickness of the sheets, the presence of curved elements in the part, as well as a set of tools that are available to the handyman. The most universal method is the cutter and the nichrome thread, and the easiest method is cutting with a hacksaw.
Where and for what purposes it is not used. it can be used to make cases, front and decorative panels, to “modding” computer cases, to make three-dimensional figures, letters, and much more. This material can also be used for light-dynamic installations (flashing lights, running lights, etc.).), the light in plexiglas spreads directly and evenly, resulting in very bright and beautiful things that look spectacular in the dark.
The main advantages of plexiglas are:
But there is perhaps the most important disadvantage. Plexiglas is very easy to scratch, so work with it carefully.
How to cut and process plexiglass?
Many people cut Plexiglas with an jigsaw or metal saw, t.е. web. I do not like any of these methods first of all because a lot of debris appears when cutting, and the glass can be accidentally scratched, though there is a protective film on it.
I want to offer you another, more advanced, simple and “functional” way of cutting, after which not a single chip remains. this is cutting with a red-hot spiral. This way is mostly suitable for thin Plexiglas.
Advantages of this method:. no trash remains after cutting. when cutting with a blade or electric jigsaw, plexiglass can be scratched or even cracked, especially if the glass is thin When cutting spiral, you can fully control the process, cut out any shape After proper cutting, plexiglass usually does not even need to be machined, but if there are melted parts of the glass left on the edges, they are cut off with a knife or machined with a file This way you can cut almost any plastic, not just Plexiglas No physical effort, just sit back and enjoy cutting =)
Now I will tell you how to make such a “cutter” and what you need for it.
First of all we need a coil, almost any coil will do, the main thing that your power supply will be able to heat it. You can get the coil, for example, from old variable resistors, soldering irons, or buy a coil for heating appliances at the electric goods store. The length of the coil is chosen experimentally, i.e.к. They all have different resistance. I, for example, used a coil from a burnt soldering iron with a diameter of about 0.3 mm long, 7 cm long, 12 volt supply, it heats up to almost red (consumes 1.5 amp). By the way, we do not need to red-hot the coil, otherwise when cutting the plexiglass will smoke and stink.
The coil has to be fastened to the metal pins at both ends and the pins soldered to the cable that will be connected to the power supply. If you want perfectly straight edges after cutting, the pins need to be secured to something so that the spiral stays straight while cutting and is not bent as I have in the photo below. Power supply is better to use with adjustable output voltage.
I have made myself such a construction as in the photo below, I have cut a lot of glass this way.
How and what to glue plexiglass?
Generally speaking, the technology of gluing plexiglass is not simple and is very different from the gluing of ordinary glass. If you glue ordinary glass with silicone adhesive or a hot melt gun, then gluing plexiglass is not the best results.
Plexiglas should not glue such as cyanoacrylate glue, the glass in the bonding areas can therefore turn white, it can not be cleaned. This kind of glue is liquid, and flows into. where it is not necessary, and it grabs in a second, that is also not very good. The only good thing about cyanoacrylate glue is that it sets very hard.
For gluing Plexiglas I recommend to use dichloroethane
, it’s a clear liquid, it’s highly toxic, so you don’t have to smell it! Dichloroethane dissolves almost any plastic and glues them together. You can buy dichloroethane in radio parts stores or where they sell glue.
Before gluing, the Plexiglas joints should be preliminarily smoothed and cleaned, then dichloroethane is applied evenly to the glued surfaces, and without letting them dry, connect them. Then you need to prepare a mixture of shavings of plexiglass and dichloroethane, take the shavings or pieces of plexiglass and dissolve them in this liquid. The mixture has to have a cake-like consistency and you have to fill the seam with this mixture. For the first time you should practice on the unnecessary pieces of plexiglas.
Again, dichloroethane is very toxic
, You shouldn’t breathe it! Work in a well-ventilated room or outdoors. Wash your hands after work in warm water and soap.
Plexiglas is plastic, it acquires plasticity at high temperatures, you can bend it to 90 degrees, or give the glass a certain shape. The most difficult thing when bending plexiglass, to bend in the right place, as planned.