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How to easily cut acrylic sheet



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in this video we are going to take a look at how to cut acrylic sheet there

are many different types, many different colors many different thicknesses and

also many different finishes of acrylic for example this one is in non

reflective finish that is an opal colour I actually bought this for a project and I can't

remember what I bought it by now but that's one of the benefits of getting old, you can also

get clear like that, that is 10 millimeters thick I've then got some blue non reflective

finish and then we've got some colorful green gloss finish and then this piece

is a piece of Lucite this would normally be used for sanitary work such

as their bath or a shower tray so we're going to look at a few different

ways of cutting this at home. obviously one of the best ways of

cutting this is using a laser cutter but not everybody has access to a laser

cutter the first technique we're going to look

at is scribe breaking and that can be done on acrylic up to about 4

millimeters thick these two pieces are about three millimeters that one's 3.2

that's three millimetres, that''s five millimeters so you could probably cut

the 5 millimeter piece by scribe breaking if you scribed it on both sides

we'll start off by scribe breaking this piece of 3.2 millimeter lucite there are

quite a lot of trade names of acrylic sheet such as perspex plexiglass lucite

etc so we've got one straight edge on this piece already so I'm going to use

the square I'm going to put it on the edge and then I'm just going to scribe a

line in down here on the masking you can use a marker for doing this and if use a

marker it is much easier to see but for this demonstration I'm just going to use the

scriber

so I've now got a line there where I need to cut it I'm going to align that

with the edge on the bench I'm then going to take a straight edge I'm going

to put that on the line and then I'm going to clamp that down in position now

I've done that I'm going to take a knife and I'm going to score along there a couple

of times. because I have such a small piece I'm actually going to release the

clamps, I'm going to turn that around, clamp the short piece and then I'm going to

scribe break the larger piece trying to address something like almost impossible

because you cannot grip it I'm going to ensure that the scribed line is perfectly

in line with the bench and then I'm going to clamp that down. now that I've done

that you simply take hold of the piece of acrylic and press down on it firmly I'll

now just put that down whilst I cut the masking on the back and I'll just give you a close-up

then you can see the quality of the cut

like I said the quality is not that Good But it is a very quick and a very easy way

of cutting the acrylic obviously that would need a good sanding down now to

get a good finish on that edge. Like I say you can do that up to four millimeters

no problem at all you may even be able to do five millimeters or even six

millimeters if you were to scribe both sides. I'm now going to take the knife I'm going

to scribe that a few times on the top

I'm also going to scribe it underneath

I'm going to take hold of it and give it a firm push downwards and as you can see

that block very cleanly, so I have got a straight cut but obviously it's going to

take a bit of work to sand that down to give us a nice clean finish you can

easily cut acrylic using a jigsaw but you do need to use a metal cutting blade

so you need one with small fine teeth like that or even like that that will

cut acrylic absolutely no problem at all

what you don't want to do is use a blade like that because that will give you a

really bad finish and will chip the acrylic really badly obviously you're

going to need a pair of safety glasses on when you do this I've now got a metal

cutting blade in this jigsaw and I'm going to cut this going very slowly

you do need to have a jigsaw that's got variable speed so that you can go slow

you don't want to go at full speed when you're cutting acrylic also you don't

want to put orbital action on because that will also chip the acrylic if

you go too fast when you're cutting acrylic it will weld itself back

together once you have cut it

if for any reason you need to stop when you're cutting the acrylic you need to

pull the Machine backwards and then start the machine going before you

try cutting the acrylic again or there is a chance that you will crack it

so that's the kind of cut that you can get if you've got the correct speed

I'll show you what happens if you try going too fast

and of course if you've got to fast it will weld itself back together like that!

the advantage of using jigsaw is that it is absolutely superb for doing radiuses

and curved lines

like so. A circular saw can be used like this it doesn't matter if it's mains powered

or battery the important thing is adjusting it so that you get the

correct depth of cut, if you were to cut the acrylic with the blade as it is

there that depth you're going to waste a lot of energy by the friction which is

caused when you are cutting the material so what you would do is just ensure that

the teeth of the blade go through to the other side of the acrylic that you are

cutting again you're going to need a pair of safety glasses when you do this and

some hearing protection. The important thing with this is to start

the machine before you touch the acrylic and go at a slow steady speed

and take your time when you're exiting the cut because that is where it could

possibly chip you'll notice I'm using the straight edge I've set that up so that

the circular saw will use that as a guide to guide it perfectly across the sheet

so as you can see that cut that very easily there is a big difference when

you're cutting acrylic depending on the blade that you use if you use a general

wood blade you don't get that good of a finish if you can get one that's got a

lot more teeth you do tend to get a better quality cut which I'll

demonstrate on the table saw but you can always use a hand held circular saw like

for cutting acrylic. This is the evolution Rage 5 and I have actually installed

a special blade on that which has got 120 teeth so that blade has got a lot

more teeth than the normal blade that it shipped with the machine, I have to say

this is very good at cutting acrylic I've cut quite a bit on it you can cut

single pieces or you can stack them up on top of one another and you can do

what's called a pack cut and push them all through the blade at once it

does give you a very good cut on acrylic when you're setting this machine

up you do need to adjust the depth of the blade obviously that's far too high

though so we need to lower that down and with this machine you just need to

ensure that you can get under the guard at the back there so that's about as

low as we can go the beauty of this machine is that when

you start with the vacuum cleaner it does take away at the majority of the

swarf the beauty of a machine like this is that you can get extremely straight cuts

and also you can get really good finish on the acrylic if you use a quality

blade like that of course you can cut it using the normal blade that is supplied

with the machine but it doesn't give you the quality of cut that a

specialist blade will you need to set the machine going and ensure the

blades going at full speed before you slowly push the material through the

blade

this is a piece of acrylic which has been cut and then line bent if you

take a look at that side you can see that that has given us a really good

cut and that's not been sanded or polished or anything that is just a cut

from that blade that is in the machine If we take a look at the other edge that

was actually cut using a normal circular saw blade so you can see that

the quality of the cut is nowhere near as good so that is the difference

that a specific blade for cutting acrylic can make when you are cutting acrylic

sheet you can see that we've got an absolutely fantastic cut along that

edge and no further work was required on that

few months ago I made a gift for a friend it was fifty and the base was

actually made from several pieces of acrylic which were glued together

actually cut that on this which is the rage 3 dB

using the supplied blade with the machine and that give us a very good

quality cut which didn't take too much polishing to get out the saw marks

obviously if you've got a CNC machine or you've got a laser machine you can cut acrylic

absolutely no problem at all. But this video has shown you some of the

techniques you can use at home to cut acrylic I hope you found this video

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