The Dremel rotary tool fitted with a cut-off wheel is an effective combination for cutting sheet plastic under an inch in thickness. A rotary tool running at high speed makes a clean cut in most plastics, but the tool must be kept moving or you risk melting the edges or the dust from the cut. All plastic sheets must be supported and secured for the Dremel to work effectively, so hold the work piece in place before starting the cut.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Dremel rotary tool
- Cut-off wheel
- Marking pen
Match the diameter of a cut-off wheel to the thickness of the plastic you are cutting. The size must be greater than the thickness of the plastic in order to make a clean cut.
Remove the retaining screw in the end of the mandrel. Put the screw through the hole in the wheel and screw this assembly back into the mandrel. If you are using the EZ-Lock system, pull the spring clip on the top of the mandrel and place a new cut-off wheel over the shank. Twist the wheel counterclockwise until it locks in place, and then release the spring clip.
Insert the mandrel into the Dremel tool and tighten the chuck.
Hold down one end of the plastic sheeting. This can be done with heavy objects like bricks or scrap wood.
Mark the cut line with a marking pen while the sheeting rests on the work surface.
Support the cut area above the work surface. Place two lengths of scrap wood on the work surface a few inches apart beneath the cut line.
Stretch the plastic taut over the wood. Place heavy objects on the loose side to hold the plastic in place.
Mark the cut line with a marking pen with the plastic sheet resting on the work surface.
Secure one side of the plastic sheet to a work bench or table with a C-clamp. Plastic that is thick enough to be self-supporting should be secured with the cut line slightly over the edge of the work surface.
Support the fall-off side of the plastic with your hand during the cut.
Adjust the speed of the Dremel tool to the rpm level recommended for the cut-off wheel.
Hold the rotary tool so that the cut-off wheel is perpendicular to the surface, and start the cut by applying the wheel to one edge.
Move the tool along the cut line at a steady pace as the wheel cuts through the material. Do not allow it to stay in one place and melt the edge of the plastic. You must continually check the wear of the cut-off wheel, and replace it--if necessary--during a lengthy cut.
Tips and warnings
- Wear safety goggles while cutting the sheeting plastic.
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