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How To Cut Plexiglass


How To Cut Plexiglass

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How To Cut Plexiglass

How To Cut Plexiglass

How to Cut Plexiglass: A Comprehensive Guide

Plexiglass, also known as acrylic, is a versatile and durable material that finds applications in various industries. Due to its exceptional clarity, resistance to shattering, and easy workability, it’s commonly used for projects such as windows, lighting fixtures, displays, and signage. Cutting plexiglass accurately and cleanly is crucial to ensure a successful outcome. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed instructions on how to cut plexiglass using different methods, along with tips and tricks to achieve precise and professional-looking results.

Choosing the Right Cutting Method

The choice of cutting method depends on the thickness of the plexiglass and the desired level of precision. Here’s a breakdown of the most commonly used methods:

1. Scoring and Snapping:

  • Suitable for thin plexiglass (up to 1/8 inch).
  • Involves using a sharp blade to score the surface of the plexiglass and then snapping it along the score line.

2. Table Saw:

  • Ideal for cutting thicker plexiglass (over 1/8 inch).
  • Utilizes a circular saw blade with carbide-tipped teeth to cut through the material.

3. Jigsaw:

  • Provides greater flexibility than a table saw, allowing for intricate cuts.
  • Uses a reciprocating blade to cut through the plexiglass.

4. CNC Router:

  • For complex and precise cuts, especially in mass production scenarios.
  • Employs a computer-controlled router to guide the cutting path.

Tools and Materials Required

Regardless of the cutting method, you’ll need the following essential tools and materials:

  • Plexiglass sheet
  • Sharp blade (scoring knife or utility knife)
  • Straight edge or ruler
  • Measuring tape or calipers
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask
  • Table saw (if using the table saw method)
  • Jigsaw (if using the jigsaw method)

Step-by-Step Cutting Instructions

Scoring and Snapping Method:

  1. Measure and mark the desired cutting line on the plexiglass.
  2. Position the straight edge along the cutting line and hold it firmly.
  3. Use the sharp blade to score the surface of the plexiglass, applying moderate pressure along the entire length of the cut.
  4. Once the score line is complete, gently bend the plexiglass along the score until it snaps cleanly.

Table Saw Method:

  1. Set up the table saw with a carbide-tipped circular saw blade suitable for cutting plexiglass.
  2. Clamp the plexiglass to the table saw’s fence to ensure stability.
  3. Mark the cutting line on the plexiglass and adjust the fence accordingly.
  4. Position the plexiglass against the fence and slowly feed it through the saw blade.
  5. Use a push stick to guide the plexiglass safely through the cut.

Jigsaw Method:

  1. Choose a jigsaw blade specifically designed for cutting plexiglass.
  2. Insert the blade into the jigsaw and adjust the cutting speed to a medium setting.
  3. Mark the cutting line on the plexiglass and clamp it to a stable surface.
  4. Start the jigsaw and carefully follow the marked line, maintaining a steady hand.
  5. Use a dust mask to protect yourself from fine particles generated during cutting.

CNC Router Method:

  1. Import the cutting design into the CNC router software.
  2. Set up the router with an appropriate cutting bit for plexiglass.
  3. Clamp the plexiglass to the router bed.
  4. Start the CNC router and let it execute the cutting path automatically.

Tips and Tricks for Cutting Plexiglass

  • Use a sharp blade: A dull blade can cause ragged or uneven cuts.
  • Score deeply enough: The score line should be visible and deep enough to guide the subsequent snapping or cutting.
  • Clamp the plexiglass securely: This prevents movement and ensures a clean cut.
  • Cut slowly and steadily: Rushing the process can lead to deviations from the intended cutting line.
  • Wear safety gear: Protect your eyes and respiratory system from flying debris and dust.
  • Lubricate the blade: Applying a light lubricant to the saw blade or jigsaw blade can reduce friction and improve cutting efficiency.
  • Use a sacrificial board: Place a piece of scrap plexiglass or plywood under the plexiglass being cut to protect the work surface from scratches.
  • Smooth the edges: After cutting, use fine-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to remove any sharp edges or burrs.

Troubleshooting Common Cutting Issues

Ragged edges:

  • Use a sharper blade.
  • Increase the cutting speed.
  • Apply lubrication to the blade.

Uneven cuts:

  • Ensure the plexiglass is clamped securely.
  • Use a straightedge to create a precise score line.
  • Cut slowly and steadily.

Cracking or shattering:

  • Use a lower cutting speed.
  • Avoid excessive pressure when scoring or cutting.
  • Check the blade for any damage or dullness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the best way to cut plexiglass for beginners?
A: Scoring and snapping is the easiest method for thin plexiglass (up to 1/8 inch).

Q: Can I use a hacksaw to cut plexiglass?
A: Yes, but a hacksaw blade with fine teeth is recommended to prevent cracking.

Q: How can I cut plexiglass in a circle?
A: Use a compass or a hole saw attachment for a drill to cut circles in plexiglass.

Q: How do I drill holes in plexiglass?
A: Use a drill bit specifically designed for plastics. Start with a small bit and gradually increase the size as needed.

Q: Can I cut plexiglass by hand?
A: Yes, using a scoring knife or utility knife for thin plexiglass. However, power tools provide greater precision and efficiency.


Cutting plexiglass is a straightforward process with the right tools and techniques. By following the instructions outlined in this guide, you can achieve precise and clean cuts, whether you’re working with thin or thick plexiglass. Remember to prioritize safety, use sharp blades, and practice patience to ensure successful results. With a little practice, you’ll be able to confidently handle any plexiglass cutting project.