Jigsaws can easily be found in workshops and garages. The blade in this handy tool does not heat up a lot and allows both straight cuts and curved lines.
As such, they are the ideal tool to use if you want to cut plexiglass. In this article, we are going to talk about the safest way to cut plexiglass as well as some shapes you can cut it in.
What is Plexiglass?
Plexiglass is also known as acrylic glass is a transparent plastic that usually comes in a sheet. They are light in weight and do not get shattered easily. Despite being more prone to scratches, plexiglass is used in aquariums, picture frames, brochure holders, and more.
The best way to cut plexiglass is by using a laser. It leaves the sheet with a clean-cut ready for use. However, if you don’t have a laser, it is recommended to use a high-quality jigsaw as a substitute.
Related reading: How Thick of Wood Can A Jigsaw Cut
How to Use a Jigsaw to Cut Plexiglass?
Make sure to wear protective gear such as safety glasses and work gloves for extra protection. To avoid chipping and spraying, you can use masking tape. The tape will secure the plexiglass sheet while you are cutting.
- Start by placing the plexiglass sheet on a sturdy surface that is capable of supporting and holding the glass. It will ensure that the material is secured enough to not drop while you are cutting into it and will also prevent accidents and injuries.
- Sometimes the plexiglass will come with protective plastic. In that case, there is no need to apply masking tape. You can keep the protective plastic on and simply remove it once you are done cutting.
- It is important to choose the right blade for cutting plexiglass. The blade needs to be fine and shallow to ensure that the cuts are smooth especially when used at a high speed. It is recommended to use a 10 TPI bi-metal jigsaw blade. Make sure to choose sharp hollow groundwood blades instead of fine metal blades. They are likely to clog into the sheet and cause the plastic material to melt because of the heat.
- There is a proper way to cut plexiglass to get your desired result. You will need to start by marking the sheet with a marker. The marked line will act as a guide for you to follow. Always practice on a small piece of plexiglass before you begin. Practicing will allow you to get used to the feeling and prevent you from making any mistakes on the larger piece.
- The momentum and speed at which you approach the material are crucial to avoid any pressure breakage. Start the jigsaw before you begin cutting so that the tool can pick up speed. Otherwise, if you start the jigsaw when it is in contact with the plexiglass it is more likely to break.
- Make sure that the speed and momentum remain constant so that the finished edge is smooth like the rest of the cut. You can further smooth out the edges with the help of sandpaper.
How to Cut a Circle in Plexiglass with a Jigsaw
You can even cut a circle in plexiglass with a jigsaw. Before you begin, you will need to prepare the material following the same steps mentioned above.
This includes placing the piece on a stable surface and using masking tape to ensure that it does not fall off once you start cutting. You need to use a marker to draw a circle on the plexiglass which will essentially act as a guide for you to follow.
Once you have that covered, drill a ¼ inches hole right outside the perimeter of the scribed circle. The diameter should be big enough to fit the blade. Put the blade of the jigsaw tool through the hole and start cutting along the circumference of the circle.
Can You Cut Perspex with a Jigsaw?
Jigsaws can be used to cut acrylic sheets with a thickness of up to 6mm. As such, perspex can be cut with a jigsaw. The blade of the jigsaw will need to be fine and it needs to be operated at a slow speed.
If you start cutting at a fast speed the perspex is at risk of melting. For thicker acrylic sheets, it is recommended to use a circular saw.
Related reading: Why Does My Jigsaw Not Cut Straight?
Cutting plexiglass with a jigsaw is quite simple if you know the proper steps. It may seem intimidating at first when you begin with work with plexiglass or jigsaws. However, with practice and by following the steps, you will soon get the hang of it.