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Old 11-24-2009, 01:21 AM   #1
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How do you cut plexiglass?


I bought a sheet of Plexiglas at HD. It is a little thicker than 1/8 inch. I forgot the thickness.

I need to cut two 7 inch circles out of the sheet. How do I go about doing this?

I think the sheet is 11 x 14 so the circles won't be exactly 7 inches in diameter all the way around. But that's OK. My plan is to drill 4 small holes in the Plexiglas and 4 in the aluminum reflector on my Alien Bee and mount it across the front with tie wraps. I will also cut a few holes for cooling.

The Plexiglas will function as a scattershield (for you old drag racers) in case the strobe bulb shatters during use when it is mounted either on a 13 foot light stand or on the top handrail of the bleachers in a high school gym. I'm using the strobes to shoot high school basketball, and previously, volleyball also.

Thanks
Mike

Gallery pics are available for viewing here. Just pick either the basketball or volleyball gallery.

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Old 11-24-2009, 05:58 AM   #2
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How do you cut plexiglass?


Ideally, plexiglass needs to be cut by scoring, but that does not work well with a circle. It can be sawed if you go slowly, but tends to melt around the blade. My usual method, using a string and a marking pen, draw your circle, then cut with a saber saw, slowly with a fine tooth blade and light pressure.

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Old 11-24-2009, 07:31 AM   #3
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How do you cut plexiglass?


A router with a straight bit will cut with much less chipping.
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Old 11-24-2009, 11:43 AM   #4
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How do you cut plexiglass?


If you need a perfect circle you may want to try and find a 7"hole saw.
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:57 PM   #5
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How do you cut plexiglass?


You can band saw it close(or jigsaw) and sand it on a disc or belt sander 'til it is closer to round. Bosch and others have jigsaw blades that work well for plastic.

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Old 11-24-2009, 11:44 PM   #6
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How do you cut plexiglass?


Thanks for the replies. I don't have a band saw, but do have a router and a jig saw...and a Roto tool.

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No. Thanks for asking. I have been shooting for MaxPreps and LSCSN.COM.
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Old 11-26-2009, 10:33 PM   #7
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How do you cut plexiglass?


how about a bandsaw. it seems that the big problem with plexi is the raking of the debris, it seems to cling to the teeth and then melt from the friction. it then prevents the cutting teeth from cutting. seems iv'e melted my way through plexi more than once. a band saw would rake away the debris better than anything, i guess. maybe call a glazier. they would know.
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:28 PM   #8
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How do you cut plexiglass?


You could try a 'jasper jig' with that router and run it slow rpm's with multiple passes ( tools must be dead sharp working with plastic).
I've used a hole saw with good luck in lexan, go slow don't let your chips build up.

I don't know if your plexiglas is acrylic or a polycarbonate ( lexan) as plexiglass is pretty loosely used to describe plastic.

I've worked with lexan a fair amount in the metal working trades ( machine guards ect.), very forgiving material.

Acrylic will crack so easily it isn't worth bothering with in my experience.

Last edited by High Gear; 11-30-2009 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:55 PM   #9
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How do you cut plexiglass?


not sure about cutting a circle, but if you flip your blade around on your saw it will cut through it like butter - and because the teeth are coming down curved side instead of the cutting head there isnt much tearing of the plastic or goo in your saw blade.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:09 AM   #10
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How do you cut plexiglass?


Use a Hole Pro adjustable hole cutter. They have 2-8" and a 2-12" models designed for use on a drill press that have high speed steel blades that cut smoothly through plastic. With routers it is easy to crack or chip the plastic and traditional bi-metal hole saws stop at 6" (and even large 1/2" 15 amp corded stud hand drills max out at 4-5/8" with hole saws cutting wood) and hole saws tend to melt plastic (and burn wood). With a drill press and a jig for the plastic you don't need to use the pilot bit and can easily cut out discs of whatever size is needed. The make a 2-17" version with a shield that I have used for speaker cabinets. Their design makes it possible to cut much larger holes than would be possible with an ordinary hole saw. I have cut 8" holes in 5/8" plywood with a 18 volt cordless drill.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:22 AM   #11
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How do you cut plexiglass?


We always used a band saw with a thin blade. But with you needing holes out of the center i would suggest a sroll saw because you can mark your circles off and drill a hole big enough for the small scroll saw blade to go through and cut the circles out that way. It may still melt a little around the blade but that's nothing major.

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