How to Cut Plexiglass With a Table Saw? -Do It Yourself

Last modified on September 17, 2022
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cutting plexiglass with a table saw

For plexiglass, how to cut it can be a matter of equipment you’ve got at hand. If what you have is a circular saw, that’s what you’re going to use. However, if you just have access to a table saw, using the instrument is maybe the simplest, most secure way to cut plexiglass.

Plexiglass is a clear acrylic material that is an affordable alternative to glass, but at some stage you’re faced with the possibility of getting to see a sheet of plexiglass of a size that may be problematic. Plexiglass is vulnerable to cracking as you cut it.

So, would you use a table saw to cut plexiglass? Yeah, a table saw can be used to cut plexiglass if a right plexiglass saw blade is used and the right technique is used.

A table saw is one of the simplest ways to cut through plexiglass or other acrylic material, but needs some special handling. Keep reading to learn more about the materials you need and the method you need to use while cutting plexiglass.

Supplies Needed For Cutting Plexiglass With Table Saw

Cutting plexiglass with a table saw needs a few additional tools, which you typically wouldn’t use to cut timber. The key one being a plexiglass cutting saw blade that can cut through plastics. 

Not all acrylic are the same, but be sure you have a plexiglass to cut, since some acrylic sheets can’t be cut on a table without a substantial melting.

Three kinds of acrylic sheets are available:

  • Cast
  • Extruded
  • Polycarbonate

These are the cast acrylic sheets that people think about as they think of plexiglass. They are strong and can normally be cut with a table saw without melt, if the correct saw blade is used. 

Another type of acrylic is extruded acrylic, which appear to be weaker and have far lower melting points, and as such should not be cut at all with power tools. 

Third type of plastic sheeting that you can purchase is polycarbonate acrylic sheets. You can cut polycarbonate sheets with power tools like your table saw as long as you take extra care. They are softer than plexiglass and will take some experimenting before the blade is placed and how easily you feed the sheets into your table saw.

Before you run it into your table saw, make sure you know what you are going to cut is plexiglass, as long and narrow as it is. You may also be looking for strength when purchasing plexiglass, there are several alternatives to plexiglass, but you’ll want to make sure you’re using the actual plexiglass brand.

How To Cut Plexiglass With A Table Saw

The general method of cutting a sheet of plexiglass is not so distinct from chopping wood, but in order to maximize the consistency of the final product and to keep you safe, there are some minor details to remember.

Step 1 – Plexiglass Measurement

Before you do some cutting, weigh the plexiglass with your tape. Using a table saw can be ineffective if the plexiglass is small, since you might seriously chip it. Thin plexiglass can be scored, rather than cut, with a utility knife and split in two. With a table saw, it is safe to cut a 1⁄4 inch thick plexiglass and up.

Step 2 – Pick The Perfect Plexiglass Saw Blade

There are hard and smooth types of Plexiglass. It is easier to melt softer plexiglass, so it is best to use a blade with less teeth to provide less overall pressure when it slices. On the other hand, to keep chipping to a minimum, harder plexiglass should be cut with a blade with more teeth.

Try doing all the rough cuts at once if you have multiple forms of plexiglass to cut. Do all the soft cuts at once once when you’re done making the rough cuts. You’ll only have to change the blade once or twice that way.

Step 3 – Measure The Cut Size

Measure and mark on the plexiglass the size you wish to cut. Please remember to compensate for the thickness of the blade when setting the fence on the table saw.  Lock the fence in place.

Step 4 – Safety Glasses Is A Must

When using a table saw, safety glasses are always necessary, but particularly when cutting plexiglass. Small plastic shards will go off, and you don’t want your eyes to end up with it.

Step 5 – Make the Cut

Switch the saw on and steadily feed the plexiglass thru the blade, holding one end to the fence. Be sure to use a wooden safety guide for very thin strips of plexiglass to keep your hands a safe distance from the blade. Stop the cutting and move the blade to one with even more teeth if chipping happens. Slow down to reduce the heat if melting happens.

Step 6 – Smooth The Edges

The tip would definitely be rough when you cut the plastic, or it may even be partially glazed from the heat of the blade. You will need to sand the edge in order to fix this.

Lay 120 or 180 grit paper on a sanding block.   As the flexi plexiglass becomes softer and cleaner, you should turn to fine grain sandpaper.

A 600-grit sandpaper can be the final sandpaper, and it will give a very smooth finish. If you want an extra smooth finish, you can buff it out with an electric drill with a buffing pad attached.

Other Methods of Cutting Plexiglass

It’s a decent choice to cut plexiglass with a table saw, but it can be over-killed, and in some situations acrylic sheets are too thin, or they’re a form not able to cope with the heat of the blade.

Generally, thinner plexiglass sheets should be cut using other tools, most of them for protection, since thin plexiglass sheets is known to have good resistant to a table saw which is not enjoyable.

Here Are Few Ways Of Cutting Plexiglass Without Your Table Saw

Knife or Utility Knife For Plexiglass

This is the safest way to work with plexiglass sheets up to around an 8th of an inch.

Make 8 to 10 knife passes for a decent scoreline, and then snap the plexiglass down the marker line. This is the same as snapping and scoring plasterboards.

How To Cut Thick Plexiglass With A Circular Saw

Well, a circular saw looks pretty much like a table saw. But you need a blade for cutting plexiglass, the choice of a blade is significant.

The advantage of a circular saw is portability when it comes to cutting a sheet of plexiglass. For thicker sheets of plexiglass, cut with any saw be it a circular saw or table saw. No matter the sort of saw you pick for the job, use the correct blade is critically necessary.

To cut anything but a straight line, select a jigsaw. Special blades are specifically made for acrylic. Measure and mark the plexiglass after preparing your instrument, then cut as you would any other material.  If the blade overheats, the material will chip or break. Then continue to cool the blade with water or pause the job for a couple of minutes.

How To Cut Plexiglass With Dremel

A Dremel grinder with a cutting wheel can easily cut through thin pieces of plexiglass if you need to make an arbitrary cut (i.e. not straight) into your plexiglass sheet.

How To Cut Plexiglass With A Jigsaw

You may make straight, loops, or irregular shaped cuts with a jigsaw at all thicknesses of plexiglass.

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