How to Cut a Thin Plexiglass Sheet

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Plexiglass is a transparent material made from acrylic. Although it mimics regular glass, it is significantly more mailable and affordable. Because of its malleability, it is often crafted into different shapes, like typical glass. Many people find that when cutting plexiglass, it tends to chip or melt. With a few simple instructions, as well as the right tools, you'll be cutting plexiglass like a pro.

Things You'll Need

  • Thin sheet of plexiglass
  • Flat table surface
  • T-square
  • Magic marker
  • Work gloves
  • Goggles
  • 2 work benches
  • 2 vice grips
  • Circular saw
  • Cold water
  • Manual sanding device

How to Cut a Thin Sheet of Plexiglass

  • Place the sheet of plexiglass on a flat table surface. Make sure the surface is clear of debris before you put the plexiglass sheet down, as it scratches very easily.

  • Mark the location of your cut. Position a T-square so that the top part of the "T" is flush with the side of the sheet that you wish to begin cutting. Draw a line from that side of the sheet, to the other side, following the ruler part of the T-square, with a magic marker. If your T-square is not long enough, simply make up the difference with a yard stick, or ruler.

  • Put on work gloves and protective goggles.

  • Cut the line with a saw. Position two work benches (with vices already attached), very close together, about twice or three times the width of your saw. They need to be close, so that the sheet does not bend when you cut it. Put one side of the sheet into the jaws of the vice, and turn the vice's crank until the sheet is stable and will not move around. Repeat this procedure with the other side of the sheet. Stand at beginning of the line, so that it is perpendicular to the width of your body, and extends outward from it. Position the saw at the beginning of the line that's closest to your body, press the button to activate the saw and start cutting. Slowly move the saw along the line, making sure not to veer off course. Have an assistant pour the occasional glass of cold water over the plexiglass as you cut, so that the material does not melt. Follow the line with the saw, until it is fully cut.

  • Sand the newly-cut edge with sandpaper or sanding blocks.

Tips & Warnings

  • The saw you use to cut your sheet all depends on its thickness. However, what is often used is a medium-duty model with an arbor of 5/8 to 1 inch diameter, and powered by a 1.5 to 5hp motor. It is also important to have a blade that has many small teeth. This will help prevent the sheet from cracking. The faster the saw, the easier it is to cut the glass without creating cracks, so make sure your saw blade rotates at around 3,450 rpm.

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