How to Properly Cut Plexiglass With a Jigsaw

Cody
| Last Updated: April 12, 2021

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Plexiglass is a type of reinforced plastic that is also known as acrylic. It's often used as a shatter-resistant alternative to glass in many construction projects. In the article below, we'll show you how to correctly and safely cut plexiglass with a jigsaw. 


Cutting Plexiglass With Your Jigsaw

As much as this material is durable, it can be incredibly brittle when being cut through. The following steps and advice can be used to cut plexiglass without fault. 

Use Masking Tape To Absorb The Vibration

After you've marked out your cutting direction, it's important to protect the plexiglass from shattering; this can easily be avoided by covering the cutting path with masking tape to dampen the vibration effects. 

This also makes the cut smoother than it would without tape. Plexiglass is a brittle material when being cut through; the vibrations literally shatter the plastic, and it can also be lifted by the teeth. 

Use A Workbench Or Saw Horse For Stability 

A workbench or multiple saw horses will provide you with the surface area needed to cut your plexiglass. It's also best to use a few clamps to hold the material down so that you don't have the plexiglass flying around when cutting.

It's also worth noting that you'd benefit from using three saw horses as you could place one in the area you're cutting to stop it falling once cut; this means you can pay full attention to the cut. 

Wear The Necessary Safety Gear 

Regardless of the material, you should be wearing safety equipment which includes protective eyewear for any rogue, flying shards. 

Earplugs are important when you're operating a jigsaw that creates more than 80 decibels, as this is the level at which it will cause long-lasting hearing damage if not properly protected. 

A dust mask is mandatory when cutting plexiglass as the particles can be inhaled, causing respiratory problems. 

Cut At a Slow But Steady Pace To Prevent Melting

Due to the material being a type of plastic, it can be melted at high temperatures created by the constant friction of the blade. The way to prevent this is to not apply too much pressure while cutting at a slow but steady pace. 

The more you cut, the faster it'll cut as the temperatures increase, a small amount of melting is inevitable, but it doesn't need to be visible. Don't stop during the cutting, as this will focus the heat of the blade on that particular area, increasing the chances of material deformities. 

Use A Tungsten Carbide Blade 

Tungsten carbide blades aren't made with teeth; they're made with an abrasive edge that cuts through the material. The abrasion will smoothly cut through the plexiglass; this lowers the risk of shattering the material as the teeth aren't repeatedly beating against the material's edge like they would in any other standard blade. 

Conclusion

Plexiglass is a great and useful material that can sometimes be tricky to cut. But, when you have all the information in front of you, you'll not have an issue. The article above includes everything you need to know to properly cut plexiglass with a jigsaw.