The best way to cut acrylic sheets

Written by leah newman
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The best way to cut acrylic sheets
Table saws make the cleanest cuts on thicker acrylic. (coddy/iStock/Getty Images)

Acrylic sheets are used in framing, sign making and many craft projects. While you can buy pre-cut sheets of acrylic or have them cut by a professional at a DIY centre, it is sometimes necessary to cut your acrylic sheets at home. Acrylic sheets are likely to chip or break along the cut line if the cut is not properly completed. A clean cut is important in acrylic because acrylic glue doesn't simply bond the edges together, it melts the plastic into one solid piece, as in welding. In order for this process to create a strong, durable joint, the edges must be clean and flat.

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Things you need

  • Razor blade or sharp utility knife
  • Clamps
  • Table saw
  • Acrylic blade

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    Thin sheets

  1. 1

    Lay a ruler, board or other straight edge along the cut line of your acrylic sheet. Slowly score along the line with a razor blade or utility knife. Repeat this scoring six to eight times.

  2. 2

    Turn the acrylic sheet over, and score the opposite side of the cut line six to eight times.

  3. 3

    Arrange the acrylic sheet on the table so that the cut is directly over the table edge. Clamp the portion remaining on the table firmly.

  4. 4

    Use your hands to break the acrylic sheet by gripping the portion that is hanging off the table and swiftly pushing it straight down.

    Thick sheets

  1. 1

    Buy a blade made especially for cutting acrylic at your local hardware shop, and install it on your saw. Blades made for acrylic are fine-toothed and the teeth are 2 per cm (5 per inch) minimum.

  2. 2

    Set the blade no greater than 3 mm (1/8 inch) above the acrylic sheet, and turn the saw to its highest speed.

  3. 3

    Lay a wooden ruler, scrap timber or board on top of the acrylic sheet to act as a guide for the saw.

  4. 4

    Feed the acrylic sheet into the saw blade slowly and steadily until the cut is complete.

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