Saw acrylic glass: That's how it works

Acrylic glass is much easier to handle than brittle glass. This includes the sawing of acrylic glass. Nevertheless, some peculiarities must be considered. Below you will find all important information about sawing acrylic glass.

Origin and material of acrylic glass

Acrylic glass is made of polymer methacrylate, PMMA for short. The most well-known acrylic glass is Plexiglas. Dr. Otto Röhm made the plastic glass ready for series production under the name "Plexiglas" and is now part of the Evonik Röhm GmbH.

Colloquially, the term "Plexiglas" has become synonymous with acrylic glass. High-quality acrylic glass such as Plexiglas is supplied with a protective film provided. Please also leave this protective film on most acrylic glass processing techniques - even when sawing. Acrylic glass can be purchased in many different forms and designs:

  • rectangular plates and blocks
  • cylindrical rods and rollers
  • circular plates and balls
  • Web plates or hollow chamber plates
  • clear, half and not transparent (milky clouded)
  • colored (including fluorescent colors)

Sawing versus cutting acrylic glass

The sawing of acrylic glass must be done by cutting, not cutting. Nevertheless, sawing acrylic glass is often referred to as "cutting", but means sawing (in exceptional cases, cutting with a Stanley knife). Many different saws are suitable for sawing acrylic glass. In particular, the correct selection of the saw blade is always of utmost importance.

Requirements for the saw blade when sawing PMMA

Under no circumstances may you use saw blades with laterally offset teeth (not restricted). In addition, it should be a fine toothing. Preferably, the saw blades have a special release for sawing plastics. Many multi-material saw blades are also suitable. The description of the saw blade, the data sheet of the manufacturer or a specialist dealer will inform you accordingly.

Suitable saws for acrylic

With regard to the saws used, these are especially high-speed machines that are well suited. The following saws are ideal for sawing acrylic or acrylic glass:

  • Table saw (circular saw)
  • Dip saw (circular saw)
  • Circular saw
  • Miter and chop saw
  • jigsaw
  • fine-toothed foxtail, fine-toothed fretsaw (thin plates) fine-toothed iron saw (handsaws)

Cutting acrylic glass with circular saws

The best sawing results can be achieved with a table saw or a dipping saw, as this is the best way to fix the acrylic glass here or evenly and with guidance. This is especially true for cutting double-wall sheets (hollow panels). When using a circular saw, screw clamps are recommended for fixing the workpiece made of acrylic glass.

In addition to the already mentioned properties of the saw blade and the speed of the circular saw is important. Always set this to the highest available speed whenever possible. When sawing, pull the saw quickly over the acrylic glass or push the plastic forward accordingly. But make sure that the pressure is not too high. Especially large batches can be processed quickly with a circular saw.

Saw acrylic glass with a jigsaw

Even with the jigsaw, the speed should be correspondingly high (2,000 to 3,000 rpm). In addition, jigsaws have the so-called pendulum stroke (a forward or backward oscillation of the saw blade). This pendulum stroke must necessarily be designed. Even when sawing with the jigsaw, the feed must be adapted to the sawing performance.

Never press too hard against the acrylic glass. With too much pressure and massive acrylic blocks otherwise arise chatter marks. You can follow perfectly shaped lines when sawing with a jigsaw. Sawing acrylic glass with a jigsaw is relatively time-consuming. Single pieces and smaller quantities of acrylic glass can be processed effortlessly.

Sawing acrylic glass with handsaws

Sawing acrylic glass with a hand saw is expensive. Especially with blocks and other large-volume cuts, there is the risk of wavy edges, ie a not exactly vertical cut. Simple acrylic sheets, on the other hand, can be sawed easily with a hand saw. Nevertheless, sawing by hand is only recommended for very small numbers of acrylic workpieces.

Tips & Tricks

Thin acrylic sheets (plain sheets, not sheets!) Can also be cut or torn with a cutter knife. You will need to repeat the cut several times to get enough depth. Then you can break the plates, but then have to grind and polish the acrylic glass. For polishing the acrylic glass you will find instructions here.

Acrylic glass has numerous other advantages over conventional glass. For example, the translucency of insulating glass is well below 90 percent, whereas acrylic glass has a light transmittance of 92 percent. Under "Acrylic glass versus glass" you will learn all important differences in the properties of both materials.

Video Board: Skillbuilder: Seven Tips for Working With Acrylic