Cutting Plexiglass

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Forum topic by CanadaJeff posted 04-20-2009 03:09 AM 6237 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CanadaJeff's profile


207 posts in 3029 days

04-20-2009 03:09 AM

Hi everyone,
I am starting to make my own router table and have 3/8 inch plexiglass that I am going to cut for the table insert. I have never cut plexiglass and from searching online there seems to be a lot of different advice on how to cut it. Would a table saw or mitre saw work with 60 teeth?

Any help is appreciated

18 replies so far

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3180 days

#1 posted 04-20-2009 03:19 AM

Cutting plastic on the table saw is tricky because the stuff can melt due to high friction with the blade. On my shopsmith, I crank the blade speed down to around 2500 rpm to avoid this problem.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View FEDSAWDAVE's profile


293 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 04-20-2009 03:22 AM

Jeff, blades for cutting Acrylics, plexiglass and Lexan are referred to as “Non-Melt” blades. These blades are a Modified Triple-Chip Grind (MTCG) and in a 10” version usually 80T. A MTCG is a little differant that your standard Triple Chip in that the the flat raker tooth that follows the triple chip tooth is slightly modified in to a slight bevel on each side thereby creating a “MTCG.” With a 2 degree negative hook angle these blades will create a lot less heat that a standard blade and give you a very nice edge.

If you only have several feet to cut and do not need the expense of another blade, an 80T triple chip will work ok if you push the material through slowly. Very slowly.

These blades are also excellant on Solid Surface material.


-- David,

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1509 posts in 3544 days

#3 posted 04-20-2009 09:20 PM

This is also a good time to make sure that any dust collection you have is running full blast to pull those plastic chips away from the cutting so that they don’t stick on the blade and melt.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 2775 days

#4 posted 04-20-2009 09:44 PM

i agree with fedsawdave, An acrylic cutting blade is best but 8iowa right about a triple chip. If this is the route your gonna take, due to lack of need for another blade, my suggestion is to make a zero clearance skin for you table saw. You can use any 1/8 ” material. then raise the blade through. While cutting you want to go slow and keep the pressure on the work piece high. ANy chattering or bouncing will result in a chipped, blown out underside. good luck.

You can also use a router but make sure that the workpiece is secured well. and plunge it,

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3004 days

#5 posted 04-20-2009 09:48 PM

I use my standard blade 80 tooth and have no problem with it.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View rickf16's profile


386 posts in 3000 days

#6 posted 04-20-2009 10:05 PM

Jeff, I had to cut 1/4 plexi, once. I turned my saw blade around to reduce the friction, to no avail. Next time I have to do that, I will try my band saw.

-- Rick

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2506 posts in 2857 days

#7 posted 04-20-2009 10:16 PM

I used my router to cut the insert. Then I used the insert I just cut as a guage to clamp some slats in a square around the place I wanted the insert to be. Then I shallow cut the insert area and finally cut the hole with my sabersaw, leaving a rabbeted edge for the insert.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View CanadaJeff's profile


207 posts in 3029 days

#8 posted 04-21-2009 02:17 AM

Thanks everyone, I decided to use my 60 tooth blade and it worked great. No melting. I also used my router and it worked great too. The only melting I had was when I was drilling holes with spade bits. The friction from that caused some minor melting on the tip of the bit.

Thanks again, the only thing left to do is clean up the acrylic shavings that went flying everywhere. Although safety glasses should always be used, in this case, they are even more necessary, wow, the shavings went everywhere!

View  woodshaver (Tony)  's profile

woodshaver (Tony)

3938 posts in 2772 days

#9 posted 04-21-2009 03:00 AM

I used a Forstner bit to drill the holes in my Lexan insert. I found it made cleaner cuts. And your right, Plastic shavings and chip go everywhere!
Hope to see you router table Pic’s soon!

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View skottc's profile


5 posts in 2691 days

#10 posted 06-10-2009 05:43 PM

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 2945 days

#11 posted 06-10-2009 11:03 PM

CanadaJeff, Thanks! This has been a good topic!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3004 days

#12 posted 06-10-2009 11:08 PM

It’s true some plastics do chip easily when cutting so maybe you could check with a piece of scrap or ask the supplier exactly what you bought. as said I never had anytrouble with cutting plexiglass or perspex Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3304 days

#13 posted 06-11-2009 05:11 AM

I use a bandsaw.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View LesB's profile


1228 posts in 2862 days

#14 posted 06-11-2009 08:02 AM

Plenty of advise about cutting. I have just used my table or radial arm saw with no problems. Going slowly only increases the chance of heat build up and melting. Drilling is another matter. Be careful with twist drills. They will grab the plastic and tear the hole or twist the piece out of your hand so clamp it down and do it slowly on a drill press if you have one.

-- Les B, Oregon

View skottc's profile


5 posts in 2691 days

#15 posted 06-11-2009 06:23 PM

Onsrud(routers & drills) and General Saw(blades) make great tooling for plastic. Their sites have alot of good info on cutting plastics

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