How to cut Plexiglass: All Terrain Vehicles  -- Utility ATV Discussion Forum and Review How to cut Plexiglass: All Terrain Vehicles -- Utility ATV Discussion Forum

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 01-20-2007, 18:23 Post: 138959
RRagent



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 How to cut Plexiglass

I have got a piece of plexglass 4' x 8'by 1/2 inch thick,
I want to cut out a 2 piece windshield for my rtv,
Does anyone know the best way to cut this stuff?.

Thanks in Advance






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 01-20-2007, 18:39 Post: 138962
dsg

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 How to cut Plexiglass

Don't know how to cut it, but don't drill it for holes. Take a piece round metal the size of he hole you need and heat it red hot and melt the hole, only hold it there long enough to melt through and no longer. I know this isn't what you asked for but it is just my experience, and maybe you already know thisSmile

David






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 01-20-2007, 18:42 Post: 138963
kwschumm



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 How to cut Plexiglass

My guess is your best bet would be a band saw. Next would be a circular saw with the blade flipped around backwards (so the back side of the teeth strike the plastic). Either way if the edges will be visible you'll want to sand the edges smooth. For best appearance I've flame polished plastic (brush the edges lightly with a flame from a propane torch) but you might want to practice on scrap first (and make sure the edges are clean, otherwise any dirt will become a permanent part of the plastic). I've flame polished lexan and some other clear plastics but not plexiglass. I'm no plastics expert but have done this in various hobbies and home projects.






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 01-20-2007, 18:43 Post: 138964
greg_g



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 How to cut Plexiglass

Straight cut? or curved? Straight I do with masking tape, a straight edge, and a utility knife. Score the plexiglass agressively, then put the cut line over the edge of a table or bench. If it's small enough, you can put a dowel under the cut line. Exert enought downward pressure to snap it on the cut line.

Cutting curves is a bit more involved, for that I have a large (bigger than a Dremel) rotary tool. Masking tape still helps preserve the edges.

Masking tape on both sides lets you drill a clean hole too. Just go slow as not to generate enough heat to soften the plexiglass

//greg//






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 01-20-2007, 18:56 Post: 138967
greg_g



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 How to cut Plexiglass

Well, my rotary tool is a variable speed model, so I guess I never worried about heat. For your purposes though, tape and a sharp utility knife and a variable speed drill motor should do just fine. I find that I get cleaner holes (less chipping) with previously used bits than I do with sharp new ones.

//greg//






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 01-20-2007, 19:12 Post: 138971
RRagent



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 How to cut Plexiglass

Thanks gregg, I'll try it with rotary tool






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 01-20-2007, 20:13 Post: 138974
earthwrks

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 How to cut Plexiglass

For a short time I had a small plastics fabricating shop. For thin plastics like acrylics, yes a scoring action with the back of a utility knife is okay. Lexan can be cut with a sharp carbide circular saw. What breaks thin material is vibration from the blade. Cut it slow and it will cut great. Even the 1/2" plexi should be cut with carbide cicular saw (table works best). The edges can be sanded, filed, or gound. Or flame-polished. Just keep in mind ANY heat build up on the blade or the material will cause the blade to get sticky and ruin the cut. You can drill it with regular drills with no problem, like you would wood or metal. Just go slow and keep the heat down.

IMHO 1/2" is WAY too thick to use as a window, for a couple of reasons: Weight. The aperature to which you will mount the material (roll bar) will be under great stress from wracking, torquing and general vibration. Optical distortion is the other. Even standing vertically, you will get distortion---sort of like looking through a fish tank--or the thick security windows at the local bank--the objects will not be where you think they are, especially if the material is angled (think of a prism and its effect on bending light). 1/4" is the thickest you'd need to go IMHO.

Tip: A cracked piece of plastic can be slowed from cracking more by drilling a small hole (1/8 -1/4"Wink yeah right at the end of the crack. That hole disperses the crack to around the hole.






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 01-21-2007, 00:28 Post: 138978
bvance

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 How to cut Plexiglass

If you need just a straight line, a table saw works great. Just put duct tape on so it straddles both sides of the cut line on both side of the plexiglass and use a blade made for fine cuts.

If you need to round the corners, then repeat the tape and use a jig saw with a fine blade. Any roughness left on the edges can be smoothed with a flat stone that you would use to sharpen your knife.

Good Luck!

Brian






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 01-21-2007, 16:43 Post: 138981
praha4752

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 How to cut Plexiglass

half inch /lexan..?..you can drill, cut with reg. saw/small teeths/, drill bits.w/ no problem. Masking tape helps.






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 01-21-2007, 17:03 Post: 138982
JasonR



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 How to cut Plexiglass

I've done a lot of cutting with 3/8" and 1/4" lexan - circular saw blade works just fine. For some tough cuts I've used both and end mill and a scroll saw (normal metal blade). Holes are no issues with standard drill bits.

If you drop down to 1/4" though, be careful with hole drilling - as 1/4" lexan with holes easily starts to spider crack under light stress.

- Jason






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