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What blade to use for cutting acrylic

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Forum topic by americancanuck posted 05-02-2012 03:05 PM 3075 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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americancanuck

139 posts in 1295 days


05-02-2012 03:05 PM

I have to cut some 4’ x 8’ sheets of 1/4” acrylic for museum disply cases I am making. these cuts will have to be made with my circular saw and I was wondering what tooth count blade I should use, or even if I should be making my cuts with my variable speed jig saw. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2904 days


#1 posted 05-02-2012 03:09 PM

I have cut acrylic on my table saw with a regular combination blade. The edge isn’t perfect, but good enough to go into a frame where the very edge will be hidden. I would suspect that a plywood blade would give a better cut.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View joebloe's profile

joebloe

157 posts in 979 days


#2 posted 05-02-2012 03:53 PM

I have used a plywood blade on my circular saw ,with a straight edge and have got good results.just don’t force the saw threw,cut slow and WEAR SAFETY GLASSES,you don’t want this stuff in your eyes.

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1041 posts in 971 days


#3 posted 05-02-2012 03:58 PM

TCG blade for acrylic sheet. I knew it was a triple chip grind but here is an article with the specifics of hook and rake and why.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6619/is_12_54/ai_n28718616/

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

4813 posts in 978 days


#4 posted 05-02-2012 04:02 PM

That link Charlie provided is an excellent resource. It covers pretty much everything I was going to suggest. Good find Charlie.

Edit:
Also, I’ve often used masking tape when I’m cutting acrylic with my hand coping saw as well. Never tried it with jigsaw or circular saw though, so I’m not sure if it’d help much or not.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 950 days


#5 posted 05-02-2012 04:03 PM

Like Charlie says, triple chip design with between 5 and 10° rake with roughly 60 teeth. Make sure the teeth are all the same height. Cover your table with a soft material or use a sled. A zero clearance insert will help.

One more tip, make sure the blade is about 1/2-1” higher than the top of the piece.

If you feed too slowly or the piece binds, you’ll either melt the plastic, have it kick back, or, worst yet, have it shatters AND get fired back at you.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View handmade24's profile

handmade24

30 posts in 902 days


#6 posted 05-02-2012 04:17 PM

I have used a plastic knife with good results for my piggy banks—-score the plastic on one side and snap like glass.
wide jaw pliers help too.

-- The price of the project can be found in the smiles of those who receive it. Some things are priceless.

View TrBlu's profile

TrBlu

361 posts in 1311 days


#7 posted 05-02-2012 04:23 PM

I use a plywood blade with my circular saw. I usually allow a 1/16 to 1/8 inch outside my cut line, the sand a smooth edge, for a finished edge. Passing the sanded edge through a flame will add a polished look to the edge.

If the edge is going to be hidden in a frame or dado, I cut to the line.

I have not had much luck cutting with a jigsaw. It seems to want to catch and break the plexi.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View MichaelR's profile

MichaelR

42 posts in 1114 days


#8 posted 05-02-2012 04:33 PM

I began using my crosscut hand saw after cracking too many pieces with other approaches. Slow and smooth strokes and it leaves clean cut. Finding a good support for a 4×8 sheet may be the biggest problem.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5512 posts in 2061 days


#9 posted 05-02-2012 04:47 PM

Forrest and others make a no-melt style blade that has more generous side clearance geometry to reduce heat. The TCG is a durable choice for brittle materials in general, but it’s the special side grinds that are the most beneficial for this type of material. If you opt to use another type of blade, keeping the blade slightly higher (deeper in the case of a circular saw) can help reduce heat.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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