The most used tool in home woodworking shops is a table saw. Most people have this confusion in their minds about whether they can cut plexiglass with the same tool or not. Here is the brief answer to the question, “Can you cut plexiglass with a table saw?”
The simple answer to this question is “Yes”. You can cut plexiglass with a table saw using a specific method. It might be not as simple as it seems to do but you have to adopt some techniques and specific tools for this task.
In this blog, we are going to show you a detailed answer to understand how can you cut plexiglass with a table saw. By the end, you will be an expert on this task and get it done without making mistakes. Let’s have a look at the following sections.
What is Plexiglass?
First of all, you should read about plexiglass as you might be thinking that it is a type of glass. If you are thinking this, you are wrong this time because it is a specific type of plastic. Among other plastic types, there is a particular type we call thermoplastic.
Plexiglass is a thermoplastic material that has translucent properties. It is the main reason why it is given a name similar to glass. This specific plastic type is used as a cheap alternative to glass and to avoid breakage with a little hit.
It has been used in many products around you in your homes. For instance, you may be using Windows or bulbs made with plexiglass material. There are many other products available in the world that have been manufactured with this material.
Abide by this discussion, now we are going to show you how to cut plexiglass with a table saw properly without making mistakes.
How to cut Plexiglass with a table saw?
When it comes to cutting plexiglass to use anywhere as per our requirements, you may be thinking that it’s an easy task. This is where many people make mistakes and face horrible results during the cutting process.
To cut this material with your table saw, you have to keep an eye on some factors and follow a step-by-step process. Here we have enlisted those steps with a brief description to get the task done.
Before you get to work, you should adopt some precautionary measures. It is because cutting plexiglass will be hard as well as dangerous for you. That is why we recommend you wear some safety products.
You should wear safety gloves and goggles to keep your hands and eyes safe. Actually, when you are cutting this hard material, some of its particles will fly back toward you. In this way, your eyes may get damaged. Along with this, you should also wear a mask to avoid any unexpected conditions.
When you have done with the safety measures, you can move towards your table saw to start the process.
Check the plexiglass thickness
Before turning on the table saw, you should analyze the plexiglass. In this process, you have to get an idea about the thickness of the material as well as the hardness too. By doing this, you will be able to make a better approach for the next steps.
The easiest way to do this is by having a look at the material and getting an idea about its type. There are three main types of plexiglass sheets (Cast Acrylic, Extruded Acrylic, & Polycarbonate) and all of those have different hardness properties. Also, the thickness will be different for all of its types.
So, if you have an idea about the type of material, you will be able to know how much power you have to consume for the cutting process. Once you have analyzed the type, you can move towards the next step making the instrument ready for the cutting process.
Choose the right blade
Another thing that you have to look at before cutting the plexiglass is the blade. You can’t cut this hard material with every blade assembled in a table saw. No doubt, you may be using the same blade to cut various products but you can’t do this for this specific plastic material.
It is because of the hardness and thickness of the sheet. There are numerous blades available in the market with multiple diameter sizes along with the number of teeth. For the sheet with 1/16th to 1/8th inches thickness, you have to pick a blade with a minimum of 10 inches diameter.
If you have a sheet with more thickness, you need to pick a blade with more diameters. Similarly, the number of teeth of the blade would increase with the thickness of the plexiglass sheet you want to cut. Along with the selection of the right blade, you also have to check the power of the table saw.
Yes, it also matters a lot because your tool must have at least 2 horsepower capacity to cut this material. We recommend you not to use this sensitive material if it does not reach this capacity. It is because you will not be able to cut the plexiglass properly as well as your tool will become useless.
When you have done with the safety measures and the tool selection steps, you can start cutting the material. Before that, you have to prepare the material for the cutting process too. In this task, you have to use protective paper film on the plexiglass and fix it properly on the material for smooth cutting.
It would be better if you have strongly held the paper from both sides and moved it slightly when you are operating the table saw. You should apply enough pressure to keep the paper and plexiglass sheet both in the exact position.
If you are cutting this material for a window or something with a fixed size, we recommend you to use a pencil and mark the cutting section first. In this way, you will be able to cut that specific part instead of making mistakes in this process.
Separate it slowly
You might be thinking that the process has ended with the cutting process. This is not where it all ends up but you have to separate that specific plexiglass part from the entire sheet. For this task, you have to be careful because a minor mistake may harm your hands.
You should slightly press the part from one side and keep a little pressure on the other side to hold it. If the corners are still in contact with the material, you can use a sharp object with care to disconnect that section.
By using the above guide, you learned how can you cut plexiglass with a table saw. It might be a hard task if you have not focused on the above steps or precautions. We recommend you take safety precautions first to keep your body safe and work smoothly.
Kenneth Wafer is an aspiring woodworking expert from Los Angeles. He loves reading and writing about all the best woodworking tools and accessories available in the market.
He is a Finance professional and recently completed his foundation course from CFA Institute, USA.