Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-02-2009, 11:23 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


I am replacing 20 florescent light diffuser panels that I need to cut to size. Bought the diffuser panels at Home Depot but they do not cut them. I bought the hand cutting tool (sort of like an exacto knife) that was recommended to use to cut them but I am having trouble getting a smooth cut and keeping them from cracking and breaking. The panels keep cracking and breaking along and across the cut line rendering them useless The instructions said to score the line first, which I did. Does anyone have any experiences with cutting these panels? I know their must be an easier, more appealing method. The one I cut which fit took forever to cut and the sides, which are hidden are really a rough cut. I really would appreciate any help or suggestions. The ones in which I am replacing have nice smooth cut sides.

theseeker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2009, 06:44 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 719
Rewards Points: 500
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


Make sure its a nice flat surface put a metal straight edge at the cut line score, score, score, score, score a lot put pressure at the metal straight edge and snap like drywall it should be good.
The heck with the rough edges as long as they are covered by the fixture trim.

Remember keep scoring maybe even score both sides.

SULTINI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2009, 06:57 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


I use a blade for my skil saw for alum/plastics (marked that way too)
It has 150 teeth
I also sandwich it between boards
The problem is the plastic will chatter up & down & cause breaks
If a detail cut I will cover w/tape 1st
Go slow, might end up w/sharp edges as plastic melts
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Scuba_Dave For This Useful Post:
plummen (03-21-2012)
Old 08-03-2009, 08:36 AM   #4
My License Ain't 4 Sale..
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, Ga/Hamilton, Al
Posts: 1,813
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


I have marked them at both ends then tightly clamped the whole stack between two 1x4's. Placed a 1x4 under the waste side so it wouldn't flop around, and cut the whole stack slowly with a fine blade in my sawzall. You have to find the best speed, but it worked fine.
InPhase277 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2009, 12:33 AM   #5
" Euro " electrician
 
frenchelectrican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WI & France { in France for now }
Posts: 5,369
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


This what I do is reverse the saw blades the reason why I say reverse it due it will just ride it instead of tearing up the panel.

That one of few items I will run the saw blade in reverse the same thing with larger and thicker plexiglass.

Merci,Marc
frenchelectrican is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to frenchelectrican For This Useful Post:
gmaint (07-19-2014), MTN REMODEL LLC (07-19-2014)
Old 08-04-2009, 06:47 AM   #6
Member
 
RippySkippy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ames, Iowa
Posts: 1,233
Rewards Points: 500
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


try a hand saw, the Japanese type that cut on the pull stroke...with a light touch, they work very well. Sandwich the panel between 1x4 for support and cut away. I love these saws...
__________________
when it comes to breakfast, the chicken is dedicated, the pig is committed.
LMASD
RippySkippy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2009, 12:02 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,508
Rewards Points: 2,004
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


I have always used a utility knife with new blade. Clamp a straight edge along the line and pull the knife towards you until you go almost through, or all the way through. It will snap just as a piece of drywall will snap. Takes a little elbow grease and patience.

I use this method for lexan and similar products.
J. V. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2009, 07:08 PM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


Dremel has a new tool on the market, the mult-max which has an oscillating action. I put the panels on a plywood surface and used the drywall blade. I worked great and can cut curvy lines if you want !! Beats my old method with the carbide laminate cutter.
Yellow Gaigin is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Yellow Gaigin For This Useful Post:
Lakersguy4ever (08-19-2010)
Old 09-12-2010, 08:24 AM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Thumbs up

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


Tried the razor blade approach on ice crystal diffuser panel , had trouble keeping the blade in the same groove, and cracked the edges. Pulled out the multi-function power tool from Harbor Freight and used the circular serated edge blade. Used a long thin straight edge as a guide, only a few back-and-forth moves and the panel was cut. Since the power tool occilates at 11,000 cycles, this process will melt the acrylic if the blade is moved too slowly. Worked out well, cutting the full length of a 2x4 ft panel in less than 60 seconds. Had to clean some burrs off

Cautions:
-use gloves to clean up the burrs
-when the blade cuts through the acrylic, the cutting does not stop, so
a smooth but does-not-matter backing board is needed.
- did not clamp the straight edge, still got a clean straight cutline.
Other: Played around a bit with the scrapped piece, found that
- can cut freeform, meaning curves and circles.
- can cut/remove almost any width of trim, as tried cutting 1/4 inch the length of the piece, worked pretty good.
- can remove a triangular piece say the length of the piece, the trim being removed started at 5/16", going down to 0.0"...


(p/n 67256 or http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog...multi+function )
Dougs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2010, 09:31 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nashua, NH, USA
Posts: 6,965
Rewards Points: 2,026
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


Don't cut too fast or the plastic may melt and become gooey and gum up the saw. It is okay to do short bursts of high speed sawing with waits to let it cool down.

When scoring with a knife, be sure the score goes through all hills and dales, not just across the high points.
__________________
Forget super sized fries. The Washington Redskins could promote healthy eating with First Lady Obama by choosing a (red skinned) turnip for a mascot.
AllanJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2011, 04:37 PM   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


I used a combination of techniques from this thread and it worked great. I sandwiched the plastic between 2-1x4's and screwed them together to keep the plastic held tightly. Then I turned the blade around on my table saw so it cut with the back side of the saw teeth. That resulted in nice cuts of both pieces with a small burr, probably from a little melting of the plastic. The only blade I had was a combination blade, very coarse, which caused much chipping when running forward.
bluene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 04:37 PM   #12
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


After running into the same problems described here, like the jagged edges or big cracks, I tried masking tape. I taped the edges I wanted to cut with masking tape on both sides of the panel. I then used a utility knife along a straight edge to cut through the panels to fit my light. No clamping, just cut straight through with light cuts until your all the way through the panel. This technique worked great and was quick for me, especially if your careful. On the last few panels I was rushing it and had a few more burrs and cracks, but over all this method worked well.

Here is what I used:

Utility knife
masking tape
plaskolite 2'x4' sheets (home depot)

Hope this helps
bpage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2012, 12:27 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1
Rewards Points: 10
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


I just had very good luck using a 1/4 straight bit in a laminate trim router
RiverPaPaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2012, 08:52 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Michigan
Posts: 843
Rewards Points: 500
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


I use one of these Red Devel scoring tool, I have cut a lot plexie glass and light panels. Use a straight edge and score several times.


Writer’s information is for discussion purpose only and should be confirmed by an independent source.
I am not an expert and don’t claim to be, these are just my views and opinions.
Attached Images
 
Hardway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2012, 07:12 AM   #15
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,556
Rewards Points: 2,020
Default

How to cut acrylic light diffuser panels


Many years ago while on summer break, I helped out in a building where my uncle worked. One job they had me replacing the 2x4 diffuser panels for hundreds of light fixtures.

The one maintenance guy at the building made a contraption for easily cutting them.

I believe he took apart a space heater with a wire filament heating element, and set it up on a table in a way where I would slide the diffuser panel under the wire, turn on power to the element which was stretched, then use the element to melt the panels where they needed to be trimmed.

I know this is a little much for doing 20 panels but the question brought back an idea.


Last edited by hammerlane; 03-22-2012 at 07:14 AM.
hammerlane is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cuting plastic, cutting diffuser, cutting thing acrylic, diffuser, light panels


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ceiling Fan with Light kit - Light not working aadams Electrical 12 11-03-2010 06:32 PM
Decorative acrylic cabinet door panels..... SandyK General DIY Discussions 1 02-20-2009 03:00 PM
Marmoleum and Nail Polish Remover AnotherDiyNovice Flooring 9 12-28-2008 02:24 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.