Acrylic sheets are a popular material in the modern world. They’re used for everything from interior design to architectural projects. One downside of acrylic is how difficult it is to cut, especially with a jigsaw. But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide on how to cut acrylic sheets with a jigsaw:
Acrylic sheets are a tricky material to handle with power tools. They can chip or crack depending on the type of plastic you chose for your application, and they’re sensitive to heat too!
With the right blade and a bit of patience, you can cut acrylic sheets with your jigsaw.
If you’re looking to cut acrylic that’s thicker than 4mm (approx. 1/8″), then jigsaws will likely struggle, and it may be better to score and snap the sheet instead of cutting through cleanly with a blade like this one.
Things to need Cut Acrylic With A Jigsaw Blade.
With a bit of practice, I’ve found that the best speeds to cut acrylic with the best jigsaw blades are medium and low. You may find that different types of blades work better at varying speeds; for instance, you might need the high speed if your blade is dull or otherwise not working well.
Choosing A Right Blade:
Acrylic can be melted down by the heat and friction from a jigsaw blade. You might get a messy, semi-fused line instead of what you were expecting: an easy cut through the acrylic sheeting.
The real goal is to use a decent blade with 10 or more teeth, not a dull one. In order to achieve the best cut possible while still avoiding scratching and tearing of material you need some heat on your saw but it shouldn’t be too hot as this will make the blade less effective at cutting through any materials smoothly.
Acrylic and plastic can be difficult to cut through. A sharp blade with medium-sized teeth is the best option for efficient cutting at moderate speeds.
Jigsaw blade for acrylic with finer teeth needs to be used at lower speeds, as these will quickly heat up in just moments.
Carbide-edged blades might seem like the best choice to give you a fine cut, but they generate heat faster and aren’t always the most practical.
When cutting acrylic with jigsaw, it’s best to use blades designed for PVC and plastic. However, metal blades can also work pretty well too if they have about 14 – 21 teeth on them.
What Else Do I Need?
Instead of using a chattering jigsaw blade to make your cut, use clamps. Use the straightedge as one side and clamp it down on another piece of acrylic sheeting so there is no room for mistakes!
Measuring & Marking:
Since some acrylic sheets come with a paper backing that can take pencil marks, for others that have a film you will need a fine marker instead.
You will also need some tape to mask off the acrylic where you intend to make your cut. I prefer blue painter’s tape for this! The tape helps prevent chipping when cutting and can be used on a jigsaw’s metal shoe plate, preventing scratching against the plexiglass.
This is why eye protection should be worn at all times when working with hardened plastic materials like acrylic and plexiglass.
How to Cut Acrylic Sheet with a Jigsaw: Basic Guide
The first step of how to cut acrylic sheet with a jigsaw is to secure your workpiece on the workbench to keep vibration and chattering under control. At least hold down the two ends of the cut – more clamps will result in a better, cleaner cut.
Some helpful tips to keep in mind when clamping acrylic sheets are that you should sandwich the sheet between wood or MDF boards, and do not clamp it directly on your workbench. This will prevent any scratches from occurring as you use a jigsaw at some point during the project’s execution.
If you choose to remove the plastic film or paper from your acrylic sheet, make sure it doesn’t scratch! It’s good for a few things like making windows and art projects.
Mark the measurement that you need with two small lines and one large line. You will be using a measuring tape to mark how long or short your paper is, so make sure it’s oriented in an appropriate direction for this situation.
If you are using a jigsaw to cut long straight lines, it is helpful if the guide along one side of your cutting line guides your saw. This way, rather than measuring where the blade will be on each pass-through wood, just measure from the edge of the shoe and make two more reference points.
We can now place a piece of tape to cover the reference lines. Try placing the center as close to our two reference points so that we have more surface area for adhesive contact with another sheet.
With the measurement of your acrylic sheet, draw another line all across it with a marker.
To cut the board, attach a blade with more teeth on it. The lower number of teeth means that your jigsaw will run slower and thus be safer for you to use.
For the most part, speed won’t affect how well your blade cuts as long as you are using one that is appropriate for what you’re trying to cut. I typically prefer a medium-speed setting on my machine though.
The jigsaw must be placed on the cut so that its blade is aligned with a cutting line. The shoe should rest flat against the work surface, and it shouldn’t touch any material.
The jigsaw starts up and heat is created, making it difficult to control the movement. The acrylic sheet has to be pushed gently in order not to let too much of this heat build up while still getting through the material.
From an aesthetic standpoint, it is not necessary to use a coolant in most cases. However, you can squirt water or oil every now and then if desired for cooling purposes.
Be mindful of the pressure you place on your blade while cutting. If it is pushed too deep into a cut, heat will be generated very quickly which can potentially damage the blades’ edge and cause them to chip or break.
Follow the cutting line carefully and keep your cut cooled down. At the end of a cut, maintain a straight line even if it means slowing your pace on the job.
Making A Test Cut Can Be Very Helpful!
Before you start your cut, make a few practice cuts on some scrap pieces of acrylic. Take note of the blade and speed setting you are using as well as how it goes before working with the final piece itself.
Making an Interior Cut in An Acrylic Material:
When making an interior cut in acrylic with a jigsaw, it is important to first drill smaller starter holes. You can increase the size of your starting hole until you are able to fit the blade inside and continue cutting as normal.
While there isn’t always a need for such small bits, they provide added safety by preventing cracking on larger cuts that include more pressure from sawing motions; this will ensure maximum use out of all types of blades without any cracks or potential dangerous shavings.
A large drill bit may crack the acrylic sheet, and a plunge cut with a jigsaw is also dangerous. A smaller pilot hole is safer for cutting through interior walls of plastic materials like this one.
Carefully insert the jigsaw blade into one of the starter holes, and align it with your cutting line. Once you’re ready to cut, turn on your jigsaw at a moderate speed before gently guiding it along its path.
When cutting out shapes from an acrylic sheet, it’s important to drill a pilot hole first. This will ensure that the blade doesn’t break when you cut into the material and cause splintering or cracking in your final product. In addition, placing the tape on any lines where you’ll be using scissors can help prevent this too!
The same procedure goes for cutting out interior shapes as I stated in the above steps; however, instead of drilling holes as we did with exterior cuts.
The process simply requires us to make sure there is no dust left over before proceeding: place some masking tape along our line then lay down two strips of newspaper (or other thin paper) which should cover up all edges except yours leave these pieces intact while working.
Final Notes of how to cut acrylic sheet with a jigsaw:
This guide will help you how to cut acrylic sheet with a jigsaw and make your project (or DIY) go smoothly.
Acrylic sheet is an excellent material for interior design, but it can be hard to work with because of how difficult it is to cut. Don’t worry! We’ve created this comprehensive tutorial on how to use the power tools in order to get the job done as quickly as possible so you’ll have more time left over for finishing touches.
Check out our blog now for all the details about cutting acrylic sheets using a jigsaw and also check here for how to cut plexiglass with a jigsaw!