cutting plexiglass

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Blog entry by BigTiny posted 09-05-2010 11:56 AM 2572 reads 0 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Greetings all.

I have a question. I’m building a table saw cross cut sled and intend using plexiglass as a top. What I need is some guidance in how to cut the stuff. I think it will work on the table saw, but not positive. If it can be done on the TS, what blade would be best?

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

25 comments so far

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3665 days

#1 posted 09-05-2010 12:06 PM

The one with the most teeth. I’ve found cutting plexiglass is easiest by using a jigsaw with a metal blade in it. But first taping up the edges of the cut so you don’t mar the plexi. You could try a crosscut blade in circular saw or TS again taping the cut so you don’t mar the surface. My experience, keep it from getting to hot don’t force it.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View swirt's profile


2107 posts in 2391 days

#2 posted 09-05-2010 12:08 PM

I usually cut it by hand with a scoring knife like this one

If it it thick though, it doesn’t work as well. I think a bandsaw or handheld jig saw might give better results than a table saw.

Lots of replies with interesting info here
and some tidbits here

-- Galootish log blog,

View canadianchips's profile


2307 posts in 2416 days

#3 posted 09-05-2010 01:23 PM

I use a sharp fine tooth panel blade. Do a test cut first.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 3132 days

#4 posted 09-05-2010 01:54 PM

I have a new 10” Freud, 30 tooth, glue line blade, does a great job on plexiglass. Don’t push through too fast.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3116 days

#5 posted 09-05-2010 02:38 PM

Like Mike said and raise your saw just enough so you’re just a hair over the plex.
You don’t really cut it you burn it.
I have a scoring knife to cut it but after the cut I have to go over the jointer to get a nice smooth cut.
Cut it a bit larger then use the jointer to smooth it.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3116 days

#6 posted 09-05-2010 02:46 PM

Tiny make sure it is not Lexan because it will split on you as soon as the saw touches it.
Lexan is more expensive than plex.
If I have leftover of Lean I mark it with blue tape at one time I cut a small piece of lean with my mitre saw and it spit so bad that it broke the back fence in two.

View mafe's profile


11061 posts in 2508 days

#7 posted 09-05-2010 02:47 PM

I have also fine experience with plexiglass on the TS, I use a 42 teeth on my Festool saw, and feed slowly, to avoid melting.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2405 days

#8 posted 09-05-2010 02:55 PM

I’ll agree – a metal-cutting blade is generally best. Lots of teeth, feed it slow. Also – expect a really awful smell. If you can do it outside, or at the very least with every possible window and door open… Melting plastic is a smell like no other.

If you need to clean up the edges a little when you are done, a small propane torch does the job nicely. Start far away and go slowly towards the plastic, you’ll see where the sweet spot is. Great way to soften any edges (they can be SHARP!) if this is something that is going to get handled (sounds like it is)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View DocK16's profile


1178 posts in 3506 days

#9 posted 09-05-2010 03:04 PM

I susually finish the edges on a router table with a small half round bit, makes a nice smooth edge.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2402 days

#10 posted 09-05-2010 03:05 PM

I’m going to go against the grain here. I found from my experiences I had better luck using a dull blade fine tooth, whether you use a table saw, jig saw or band saw. As stated on the table saw the teeth should just come above the Plexiglas.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View davyj's profile


33 posts in 2269 days

#11 posted 09-05-2010 03:24 PM

table saw and Miter saw blades work best, just don’t cram. Almost with out fail the “Sawdust” from plexi-glas,corian type materials and plastics will recast in the kerf. ofcourse then you can get the peices apart it they didn’t come apart and the recast dust can be removed in several ways. To me the miter saw works really good if its short cuts because the saw dust is coming out in front of the teeth when you can go from out to in to the fence. scribe lines and breaking is a nak and more time consuming. so if one don’t have to use thin band saw/scroll saw blades, don’t , recast is worse

-- retired GM/Delphi , Retired USN/USAFR

View BertFlores58's profile


1684 posts in 2341 days

#12 posted 09-05-2010 03:28 PM

The best blade to be used for plexiglass are those used for Aluminum. The teeth are pointed to avoid big cut on the side. Teeth are pointed. It does not destroy the plexiglass. I had cut several times using my sliding miter compound saw with Alluminum blade 10 inches with 100 teeth. The burn will happen if you stay long in the same spot. Good to use miter because, I can raise the blade anytime.

-- Bert

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3116 days

#13 posted 09-05-2010 04:33 PM

The best way to get a good cut is if you know exactly what you need get your dealer to cut it for you then you have no waste and a clean cut.

View William's profile


9906 posts in 2261 days

#14 posted 09-05-2010 05:01 PM

I cut my plexiglass on a scroll saw. Tape both sides with masking tape, mark what you want cut, use the a whatever blade you have with the most TPI, and cut slow.


View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2390 days

#15 posted 09-05-2010 05:33 PM

Wait a minute. Someone here said “make sure it’s plexiglass and not Lexan”. I thought Lexan and Plexiglass were brand names for polycarbonate sheet. The cheap stuff is acrylic sheet. Also, my experience is exactly the opposite. Acrylic shatters and splits at the drop of a hat, but Lexan or Plexiglass are much tougher.

In my experience I have found the best blade to cut most plastic, if it’s not glass filled, is a hollow ground plywood blade I have had for years; very fine teeth. My next choice is a very fine toothed crosscut carbide tipped blade, like the Freud 84 tooth 10”. If I have to cut curves the metal blades work in a jig saw and so do the very fine toothed Bosch blades, like the T101A0.

The band saw works well also. Probably the least chance of splitting of all methods; short of using a hot wire.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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