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Plexiglass/Lexan zero clearance insert?

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Forum topic by adrianpglover posted 03-31-2014 07:09 PM 1700 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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adrianpglover

43 posts in 984 days


03-31-2014 07:09 PM

I currently have the store bough zci and I’m working on making a wooden one for my G1023RLWX and I got to thinking, would plexi work alright as a zci? I’m only asking because I just inherited 3 half inch sheets of 4×8 plexi from my work.

I’m wondering if this would work ok, or would I always be at risk of having the thing shatter on me? Plus it could just look cool.

Thoughts? Concerns?


12 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3980 posts in 2431 days


#1 posted 03-31-2014 07:58 PM

Plexi(glass) is acrylic plastic and is prone to shatter but it is harder and more clear than Lexan polycarbonate; which is very tough and almost impossible to shatter.

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

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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1554 days


#2 posted 03-31-2014 08:31 PM

You might be able to use Lexan as a zero clearance insert. if you do, make sure you cut the slot in the middle with a very high tooth blade.

I’ve been able to successfully cut Lexan (but NOT plexiglass) on my tale saw using a steel (i.e. no carbide teeth) blade with a lot of teeth (like 100+ teeth).

The concern I could see with cutting the slot is that if the kerf of the blade you eventually intend to use is thicker than that of the high tooth count steel blade than the regular blade might chew the heck out of the slot.

One way I can think of to test your ability to cut plexiglass (not Lexan) is if you have a miter saw. Stick the plastic cutting blade into the miter saw and try some test cuts on the plexigass. Please wear eye protection. If the plastic shatters you don’t want chunks of plexi hitting you in the face.

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NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2037 days


#3 posted 03-31-2014 08:53 PM

I’ve cut acrylic and polycarbonate on the table saw with the same 40 tooth general purpose blade I use for wood with no problems. Polycarbonate cuts much like wood.

I’d avoid acrylic as it can shatter. Polycarbonate should be ok, but make sure it won’t flex once cut to the size of the insert. I know the jigs I’ve made with 1/2” polycarbonate are pretty stiff.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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adrianpglover

43 posts in 984 days


#4 posted 04-01-2014 02:30 AM

I checked. Part of the plexi that I have still has the paper. It’s labeled as “Optix by Plaskolite”. Their site states that it is an acrylic.

I was more curious how well the stuff would work for this. I’ve gotten the wooden zci finished now, going to put it to the side until I actually need it. The only use I can see in my near future for the plexi is guards on jigs. I might use some of it one day if I end up building a playhouse for my daughter.

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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1554 days


#5 posted 04-01-2014 04:02 AM

Optix by Plastikote is the same stuff they sell at Home Depot as plexiglass/acrylic. I believe the manufacturer prefers it to be cut with a sharp knife. I’d be very careful about cutting it on the table saw. Lexan (polycarbonate) I find fairly easy to cut on the table saw on the many toothed blade.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5721 posts in 2828 days


#6 posted 04-01-2014 04:09 AM

I have a a Forrest WWII in my TS and have cut Plexiglas (up to 1/2”), other acylic plastics, Lexan (polycarbonate also up to 1/2”), ABS, and G 10 FR4 circuit boards (makes a real bad smell) without any issue.

I use my older blades when I cut the G 10 FR4 as it dulls blades real fast.

I typically cut part way through on each side of thick material and then finish cutting it.

I would get some 1/4” polyethelene or UHMW as these are but considerably more slippery than acrilyc or poly carbonates. UHMW sheets are available from a number of suppliers on the web.

From Wikepedia ” UHMWPE sheet has been used as synthetic ice in ice rinks where ambient temperatures or energy costs make it impractical to create and maintain normal ice. The material’s resistance to cutting and abrasion make it highly suitable for this application.”

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

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adrianpglover

43 posts in 984 days


#7 posted 04-01-2014 05:56 PM

I have to ask, what projects have you been doing out of FR4 on a TS?

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oldnovice

5721 posts in 2828 days


#8 posted 04-01-2014 07:53 PM

I used to make my own circuit boards a long time ago!
I didn’t have a drill press so I made one for my Dremel tool.
Today they CNC routers but I never used my router for that and I have stopped making any cktbds some time ago.

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

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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1554 days


#9 posted 04-01-2014 08:15 PM

Heh. I looked up that same article on artificial ice rinks on Wikipedia last night.

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1830 days


#10 posted 04-01-2014 08:26 PM

I’ve cut plexiglass with a circular saw and a Freud blade with a high tooth count. The plexi was also sandwiched between two clamped pieces of plywood. That’s the only way I could get it to cut cleanly and not shatter. So nah, I wouldn’t use it as an insert.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5721 posts in 2828 days


#11 posted 04-01-2014 08:34 PM

Ed I never did that, I just cut it as described in my post #6 above, scoring both sides before cutting through and have never, knock on wood, have one shatter.
But I agree, not for inserts.

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

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1830 days


#12 posted 04-01-2014 08:37 PM

Thanks for the info, I’ll have to keep that in mind, I will probably find myself needing to cut some at some point. I should have added that the plexi was an awkward shape, so I’ve never tried cutting it on the table saw.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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