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Cutting Plexiglas on a SawStop - blade?

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Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 12-04-2012 08:41 PM 2268 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Elizabeth

811 posts in 1892 days


12-04-2012 08:41 PM

Hi all,

I may need to cut some acrylic sheets (aka Plexiglas, etc) for a furniture/modification project and I am wondering what type of blade I should get to ensure a smooth finish. I have a Sawstop; as far as I know I don’t have to bypass the safety features to cut, this since it’s nonconductive, but please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks!

(Edited to remove reference to Lexan, which is a different substance!)


24 replies so far

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

740 posts in 1185 days


#1 posted 12-04-2012 09:39 PM

Can’t comment on the sawstop issue. I cut plexiglass with my regular Frued combo blade and get a nice smooth cut.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 939 days


#2 posted 12-04-2012 09:40 PM

Doesnt the plexiglass melt onto the blade?

-- My terrible signature...

View bhog's profile

bhog

2177 posts in 1438 days


#3 posted 12-04-2012 09:43 PM

Cannot comment on the sawstop either but have cut it on a few saws.Slow feed rate and you will be fine.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

740 posts in 1185 days


#4 posted 12-04-2012 09:46 PM

Nope. At least not in my experience. I just feed it like I would a piece of 1/8 in. plywood and it seems to work fine.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View alan coon's profile

alan coon

113 posts in 2461 days


#5 posted 12-04-2012 09:46 PM

no prob. go slow there will be build up of melted Plexiglas under plex. so watch for it. carb. blade is ok. If the edges need to be clear dust them with a torch But be careful !!

-- Al, South E. Az., But it's a dry heat.

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1024 posts in 1439 days


#6 posted 12-04-2012 09:47 PM

The blade doesn’t matter too much, as long as it’s sharp. You’ll still have to sand the edges to get them smoooooth. A small amount will “melt” onto the blade but will also pop right off.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2981 posts in 1992 days


#7 posted 12-04-2012 09:51 PM

Most people I know use a fine tooth blade turned around so it runs backwards. I would also apply some masking tape on the cut line. This will help eliminate chipping. Make sure the plastic is held down tightly to the table and use a zero clearance insert. Another way would be to sandwich the plastic between two thin pieces of plywood and feed slowly.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

623 posts in 857 days


#8 posted 12-04-2012 09:54 PM

I cut lexan with a normal Freud blade, but in an abundance of caution I do it in two passes to prevent shattering. I raise blade height to half the thickness of the lexan, cut one side, then flip the workpiece and finish the other.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

811 posts in 1892 days


#9 posted 12-04-2012 10:01 PM

That’s a good idea, Dan. MrRon, I don’t have a zero clearance insert, but I could sandwich the plastic. Or maybe it’s time to get a zero clearance insert…

View JayCop's profile

JayCop

33 posts in 1182 days


#10 posted 12-04-2012 10:06 PM

Make sure your plexi is “cast.” otherwise it will melt on the blade.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

623 posts in 857 days


#11 posted 12-04-2012 10:15 PM

Oh yeah, I also use a ZCI.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3868 posts in 2116 days


#12 posted 12-04-2012 11:18 PM

I cut Plexiglas with my Forrest Woodworker II blade all the time. It does not melt the plex the but the chips are full of static and stick everywhere.

I have cut plex with other blades that required a score cut before a complete cut to eliminate chip out but my Forrest blade doesn’t require that!

Using my Forrest blade leaves the edges smooth enough that a progression of sandpaper to 400 W/D paper will clear them up. If I want it super clear edge I use the polishing compound Novus in its various grades!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1797 days


#13 posted 12-04-2012 11:30 PM

You have to be very careful cutting Plexiglas /Lexan on a TS.
I had multiple experiences of the Plexiglas shattering and sending shrapnels all over the place.
Now I wear a face shield when doing that

-- Bert

View Elizabeth's profile

Elizabeth

811 posts in 1892 days


#14 posted 12-04-2012 11:35 PM

Good to know, Bert, thanks – I’ll wear one!

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2966 posts in 1035 days


#15 posted 12-04-2012 11:43 PM

I hope you don’t have to cut a lot of that stuff, its toxic as heck. I’d use a plain old steel panel blade. Something with like 180 teeth cuts great and less risk of fracture. If its thicker than about 3/4 inch I’d go with a Freud thin kerf rip blade. I’ve cut this stuff before and it’s not fun. Be sure to wear a face shield.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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