Acrylic glass is a fascinating and versatile material that can be used for many different crafting projects. Acrylic sheets are an excellent alternative to glass, especially when safety is a concern. This material can be cut, sanded, polished, and bent which makes it very versatile.
According to the report of MarketWatch, the global Acrylic Sheets market size is estimated to be worth USD 6011.9 million in 2022 and is forecast to a readjusted size of USD 7650.9 million by 2028 with a CAGR of 4.1% during this review period. Because colored acrylic comes in a variety of styles and clear acrylic sheets offer excellent optical clarity.
Also, working with acrylic sheets does not demand any specialized skills and techniques. If you choose a method that works best for you and your skill level, then cutting acrylic sheets is a relatively easy task to accomplish.
However, even though acrylic sheets are stronger than glass, they can still crack when cut or drilled into incorrectly. Here, I will show you how to cut acrylic glass sheet without cracking in seven simple ways, so you can choose the one that works best for your project.
And these sheets can be cut with standard workshop tools. Because of that, we have also shared the list of tools & materials needed to cut acrylic sheets in this article. You should choose the tool as per the requirement of your project.
So, let’s get started.
Tools & Materials Needed To Cut Acrylic Sheets
Acrylic sheets are actually easy to cut if you know what tools to use. There are a lot of tools available to cut acrylic sheets and you should choose them based on your requirement.
However, while working with these tools you should not forget your safety gear such as safety glasses and ear protection. Here are some required tools and materials.
- Acrylic Sheet: It is required in a larger size than your project.
- Scoring Knife: It is used to cut acrylic sheets by hand.
- Acrylic Jigsaw Blades: It will be required if you want to cut acrylic with a jigsaw.
- 10″ Plastic Cutting Saw Blade: It is used when you are cutting acrylic on a table saw.
- O Flute Up Spiral Plastic Cutting Bit: It will be used to cut acrylic with a router.
How To Cut Acrylic Glass Sheet Without Cracking
Before using any of these methods listed below to cut your acrylic glass sheet without cracking, you will need to determine the length and thickness of your sheets first as this will decide which method will work best for your project. Here are seven simple ways to cut acrylic sheets.
1. Cutting With Hand Saw
Most people generally prefer to cut acrylic sheets using a hand saw. However, when compared with electrical saws such as a jigsaw or band saw, this method demands more concentration and effort.
If you want to achieve the best result, we would recommend you to use a saw that has uniform teeth.
In this process, you will need a fine-tooth hand saw which helps you to avoid jagged edges, a ruler and a marker pen, a solid and flat cutting surface, and a clamp if needed.
Now, you should start the process by creating a guide for yourself directly on the surface of the sheet with a marker pen. However, straight lines will be the easiest to cut cleanly.
Then, clamp your acrylic sheet into place to help stabilize the material and start the cutting process. You should ensure that you are not using a wood saw which can damage the material.
We strongly recommend you to use a fine-tooth hacksaw or similar tool. Also, try to keep the acrylic sheet as still as possible to avoid warping your cutting path.
2. Cut Acrylic Sheet With Scoring Knife
It is one of the easiest and simplest methods to cut acrylic sheets. In this process, the use of a power saw or any other heavy-duty electrical equipment is not required.
However, the process requires some simple steps. First, you should mark the area of the sheet you want to cut. Then, you need to use a scoring knife to cut a narrow groove in the acrylic sheet.
This scoring process mainly works on sheets with less than ¼” (6.35mm) thickness. So, apply pressure to the tool and let your guide direct the cut until it is 1/8th of an inch into the acrylic sheet.
This can take many passes to complete, so you need to be patient and precise. Now, place the acrylic sheet over a hard edge with groove-side up. Also, you can clamp the sheet if needed.
Then, you need to bend the overhang side of the sheet with a quick and even motion. As you bend the sheet, the groove will deepen as the crack propagates throughout the whole sheet.
Due to the bending, two pieces will be separated with relatively straight and clean edges. If the cut was deep enough into your sheet, a clean edge will be produced after cutting.
3. Use A Table Saw And Cut Acrylic Sheet
This is one of the most common methods to cut acrylic sheets. As saw blades are relatively easy to find, it can be a great option for everyone regardless of experience.
Also, in this method, you can cut multiple sheets at the same time by stacking them, which is the most important advantage of this process.
You should use a table saw with closely spaced teeth for the cutting. Because, if the blades are much wider, you have the risk of chipping your plastic sheet. In this process, you can use blades that are designed for wood.
However, there are also blades available in the market that are specifically designed for acrylic. These blades are best for frequent cutting projects.
Cutting acrylic sheets is different than cutting many other materials. Because here the dimensions need to be exact and accurate to ensure proper fitting with other pieces. If you cut acrylic sheets incorrectly, it can be a costly mistake.
Because then you need to sand down inches off the material to make sure its edges are even and unchipped. So, you should always use the sharpest blade possible.
4. Cutting Acrylic Sheet Using Router
Routers can be used to cut acrylic sheets for both curved and straight cuts. For best results, you should use another tool with the router to cut your acrylic roughly before getting a more exact finish with the router.
You should also ensure to use a compressor to keep the acrylic sheet in position to avoid chipping and more time needed to polish the cut.
Routers are like table saws, they can be easily found at your local hardware stores and are also quite versatile.
If it is your first time purchasing a router tool, we would recommend you an upcut bit if you want to have a vacuum connected to your router or if you are cutting slots.
Downcut bits are also great because they can throw the shavings down and away from your face and sheeting.
5. Using Jigsaw To Cut Acrylic Sheet
A jigsaw is a small handheld tool and one of the most preferred options for cutting acrylic sheets. Using a jigsaw has the benefit of efficiency over other cutting options.
It is quicker and easy to work with and also requires less concentration. It can cut the sheet with a straight blade by functioning up and down in fast motion.
However, if you want to cut acrylic sheets in a nonlinear fashion, a jigsaw can be the right option for you. It can help you to achieve precise and accurate results by cutting the edges into curves and angular forms.
In this process, you can also create more complicated cuts as it is easier to manipulate your tool. However, we would recommend you to experiment with the setting and positioning of the machine to determine desired results.
Clamping is very important in this process as it prevents the sheet from vibrating and moving around.
You should also put on your safety goggles in case any plastic particles are dislodged during the cutting process. When you are using electric saws, it is best to work quickly as they create extra heat that could easily bend or warp the acrylic sheet.
6. Cutting With Band Saw
A band saw can be the best option for you if you want to cut intricate shapes and curves. When you are using a band saw, you should carefully select the blade and feed rate of the machine which is very important to minimize the risk of melting or chipping the sheet.
A band saw generally works best when the thickness is greater than 0.472 inches. However, band saws are typically quite large pieces of machinery that you will mainly find in the workshops and on factory floors.
It also can help you to achieve clean and clear cut edges by retaining the sharpness of the material. You will need a bandsaw, marker pen, and safety goggles for this method. Now, begin the process by marking your sheet.
However, some high-tech band saws generally come with guides built into the machine. So, you can avoid this step in that case. Now, put on your safety goggles and turn on the bandsaw, and begin passing the plastic sheet through the blade.
There is a range of different blade widths available for band saws and you should choose blades depending on the plastic thickness and desired shape.
So, you can do your own research or check the manufacturer’s guide before cutting.
7. Laser Cutting of Acrylic Sheet
Laser systems are actually designed to achieve complicated and defined cutting of acrylic sheets. Because of that, laser cutting is one of the preferred options to cut acrylic to get the desired design.
The laser cutter is generally connected to a computer and works as a printer to translate the design or image onto the piece of acrylic sheet.
This system is probably the best option if you need to create complex, intricate, and creative shapes with acrylic. Laser cutters generally use a CAD program where the dimensions or design are entered into a computer and it operates the laser cutter or CNC router.
Laser cutters and CNC routing or milling machines are mainly used to create complex parts, components, and products with extremely tight tolerances. These are used in a wide range of different businesses and industries.
Wrap up on How To Cut Acrylic Glass Sheet Without Cracking
Acrylic sheets are becoming one of the constructors’ preferred options as it is so readily available.
If you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional builder and are finding it difficult to cut acrylic glass sheets, then you can definitely try these seven ways to cut acrylic without cracking to achieve the highest degree of precision.
You should put on safety glasses before doing any kind of cutting to protect your eyes from shattered acrylic pieces and wear ear plugs if you use an electric saw.
Also, it is very important to work with acrylic in a well-ventilated area. Because cutting acrylic sheets can release vapors that can irritate your respiratory system.
I hope this post was helpful for you. You should follow all the safety measures while working with acrylic sheets. Now that you know how to cut acrylic sheets, go make something creative with them.
If you need further advice on working with acrylic or have any problems or questions related to it, please let us know in the comments below!
FAQ: How To Cut Acrylic Glass Sheet Without Cracking
Over the years, many projects have used acrylic sheets to enhance their design and durability. Still, many of us have different questions related to it in our minds. Here, we have answered some of the most popular and relevant questions.
Q1. What is the best way to cut acrylic sheets?
Ans: A jigsaw is one of the most preferred tools to cut acrylic sheets. It is a small handheld tool that is used to cut the sheet with a straight blade by functioning up and down in fast motion. However, a jigsaw can be the right option for you, if you want to cut acrylic in a nonlinear fashion.
Q2. Can I cut the acrylic sheet with a cutter?
Ans: Many people generally use power saws or machine-enabled equipment to cut acrylic sheets which gives them an accurate cut. However, there is no reason why you can’t cut acrylic sheets at home using a knife or box cutter with some preparation and care. But, how and what you cut your plastic with mainly depends on your required shape and the thickness of the acrylic sheet.
Q3. Do you need a special blade to cut acrylic?
Ans: You will need a sharp blade and a smooth feed to cut acrylic. But, don’t force your cutting, as you are likely to generate heat that can melt the acrylic. Power saws such as jigsaws and carbide-tipped circular saws are the best choices for cutting acrylic. Jigsaws can be used to cut acrylic sheets up to 6mm thick.