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Plexiglass is brittle and fragile, which makes it vulnerable to get scratches if you cut it using any random cutting tool. That’s where a jigsaw blade comes in, as you can cut plexiglass with a jigsaw safely and effectively.
But why is it effective? In this article, we’ll explain what makes it effective for plexiglass cutting. Also, we’ll explain how to cut plexiglass with a jigsaw in a few easy steps.
Related Read — Best Battery-Powered Jigsaws
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What is Plexiglass?
Plexiglass is more like transparent glass with different names like Lucie, Acrylite, Perspex, and plexiglass, and the most common name is acrylic glass.
As we’ve mentioned, this substance doesn’t get damaged easily but can get scratched if no scratch-resistant cover is applied. Most professionals suggest using a laser to cut plexiglass, as it imparts a clean cut compared to many other tools. Still, because of the laser’s unavailability, people go for other saws, such as jigsaw blades.
But is it really worth choosing to cut plexiglass? Let’s show you.
Why Should You Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw?
Plexiglass is a sturdy and durable substance; it only breaks into big pieces when extreme pressure is put on it. Using a jigsaw to cut plexiglass is an ideal option for many reasons.
The top reason is that welding machines or heated tools can melt plexiglass because it has poly-bending construction. The melting point of plexiglass is roughly 320 degrees; that’s why, in this scenario, a jigsaw can be a better option.
Furthermore, you can create artistic designs with a jigsaw, from nice curves and angles to basic minimalistic cuts. Nothing can beat a jigsaw to cut sensitive material for a smooth and satisfying cutting of edges and curves.
So, if you’re going to cut your plexiglass with a jigsaw (that’s why you’re here on this page), we’d say it’s a wise choice.
Related Read — Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw
How to Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw?
You can cut Plexiglass by following these super-easy-to-learn steps without harming the material’s entire shape or facing any injury. Choose a surface that is supportive enough for your plexiglass sheet while cutting it.
Dropping the sheet with a jigsaw in your hand not only can damage your project, but it’s dangerous too.
1. Pick your Jigsaw Blade
Selecting the correct jigsaw blade is important because a blade that is not good enough will only chide the Plexiglass. A very shallow and fine blade is the perfect way to get a smooth cut, as is commencing at full speed before drawing the material close.
Which Jigsaw Blades Should I Use?
Selecting the correct blade is a vital part of the cutting procedure.
We recommend cutting plexiglass with a jigsaw using a bi-metal jigsaw blade with a 10 TPI (Teeth Per Inch) or greater setting (more TPI means more accurate results)
One more suggested choice is a hollow ground wood blade.
Don’t use very fine metal blades because they can choke off during the cutting and melt the Plexiglass’s plastic.
2. Get your Plexiglass sheet Ready (Cutting Object)
Now that you know which jigsaw blade you should choose, It’s time to get your plexiglass ready. Follow these simple steps:
Mark the Point Where You Want to Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw
Before cutting a plexiglass, it’s a good practice to measure the length of the cut with measuring tape and mark it accordingly. Taking measurements beforehand will enable you to cut more accurately without messing up your plexiglass sheet.
We usually mark and tape the cutting area from behind so we can easily see the marking while cutting the glass from the front.
Drill a Hole In Plexiglass sheet for Jigsaw Blade
If you want to cut a circle on a plexiglass sheet, it would be difficult if you didn’t make a hole for the jigsaw blade to enter.
That’s where you’ll need a drill to make a hole in the sheet. You can have multiple holes, or just one would do the job. Make sure to mark the circle using a compass or a thread tied to the marker.
Is There a Particular Drill Bit for Plexiglass?
Traditional or regular modified drill bits can drill plexiglass with their high speed. To change standard bits, the small flats on the cutting edges of the bits are usually ground. This helps the bit scrape up the plexiglass as a contradiction to fragmenting and grabbing the material.
Mount your Plexiglass Sheet
While cutting your plexiglass sheet with a jigsaw blade, make sure to keep it stable. If your sheet is not stable, you’ll ruin your cut and get injured.
So, to keep your sheet stable, mount it on a sawhorse.
How to mount your plexiglass sheet: Place the sheet in a sawhorse, and use clamps to keep it stable. Make sure to tighten the clamps to ensure the safety of the glass. But not so tight, as it can crack or damage the sheet.
Related Read — How to Cut Plexiglass With a Circular Saw?
3. Practice on Tinier Acrylic Piece
Before getting straight to your glass sheet, we’d recommend practicing on a tinier piece first.
Take a small scrap of plexiglass before going for your first cut. This will let you get the hang of the plexiglass before the actual operation; take your time to get familiar with the tool. As a result, you’ll make fewer mistakes while cutting.
4. Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw
Now that you’re done with placing your sheet, getting your jigsaw ready, and practicing. It’s time to start the cutting process.
If you’re cutting a straight line, simply place your jigsaw at 90 degrees to the cutting line, and start cutting at a moderate speed. After 2-3 centimeters, you can increase your speed.
Speed matters a lot, and we’ll discuss later in this article (in safety precautions) how you can ensure safety at the right pace.
Cutting a Circle
If you’re cutting a circle, drill the hole in the sheet (like we did in step 2), and insert a jigsaw into the hole. Start cutting your sheet with a moderate speed.
Related Read — Router vs Jigsaw
5. Clean up the Edges
After cutting the plexiglass, you might see a few ragged edges or corners. Curved edges and sharp cuts can, at times, cause all this.
You can clean up these curves and make them smooth by sanding the areas with sandpaper. You can use a router as well for smooth edges.
Which sandpaper to use: To begin with, we’d recommend using rough sandpaper. But keep switching your sandpaper with finer grits while repeating the sanding process. The last sanding paper should be very smooth (around 100 grit).
Safety Precautions and Tips for Cutting a Plexiglass with a Jigsaw
Before heading directly toward the cutting procedure, we’d like you to know some safety precautions
We don’t want you to experience any trouble completing any project that demands the cutting of tender stuff.
You can ensure your safety by considering these precautions
Wear Safety Goggles – When you cut a plexiglass, you get glass particles everywhere. So, we’d recommend wearing glass to protect your eyes.
Wear a Facemask – Just like eyes, you should also cover your mouth and nose to avoid breathing in glass particles in the air.
Work on your Posture – As you’re dealing with a sharp jigsaw blade, we’d recommend checking your posture to avoid any cuts on your hand.
Unplug the Jigsaw When Not in Use – If you’re not using it in the middle of your project, make sure to unplug it to avoid any hazards.
Related Read — Band Saw Vs Jigsaw
These tips will help you avoid damaging your plexiglass and conduct your cutting process accurately.
Prevent Plexiglass from Melting and Breakage
As plexiglass is pure plastic, it is vulnerable to melting from heat and blade friction. Also, a little mistake in using a jigsaw may end up breaking the plexiglass
You can use several methods to avoid the melting and breakage of your plexiglass.
Cut at a consistent pace
If your speed is slow, it will give the jigsaw blade enough time to transfer heat to the material. However, the jigsaw won’t get at high enough temperatures to melt the whole piece of the plexiglass; It can soften the substance enough to close the project and make an odd cut.
If you cut steadily, it keeps the plexiglass cool, but don’t hurry, or you will risk breaking the material. A steady, careful, and moderate speed can help you earn the best results without melting and breakage.
If you are thinking that you should be cutting it not too fast and not too slow, you are totally right. This is the key to avoiding damage and cutting the plexiglass in the most refined shape, particularly angles and curves cut with a jigsaw.
Too slow can cause breakage or jamming, and too fast can cause melting and fracture. Try to balance it and be moderate.
Don’t Cease It
For the same reason, if you choose to cut slowly, it can be dangerous, so it pauses in the middle. Leaving the saw in a position for too long can heat the surrounding plexiglass, possibly damaging and melting your glass sheet.
As an out-of-the-way approach, this is the point where a perfect cordless jigsaw can help; as for that, you never have to bother about the cord getting in the way and must be stopped after the cut.
Another method to avoid temperature rise in your plexiglass sheet is pouring water over the area being cut with a jigsaw on plexiglass. It helps cool down the blade and the plexiglass.
As a result, you can cut accurately without jeopardizing your blade and melting or breaking your plexiglass.
We’ve explained the whole plexiglass cutting process with a jigsaw in easy steps. If you follow every step mentioned in this guide, it will be effortless and easier to cut the material cleanly and just the way you want. But make sure to take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
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