Best way of cutting a square hole in Styrene?

nick daring

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've only used the score and snap technique for all my styrene building needs but a current project requires and 4"x4" square hole in a sheet of styrene about 1-2mm thick. The outside border around the "hole" is about 1/2" wide. This ends up piece would get a bit wobbly once getting close to completion making sanding the inside edge tough.

I tried building the shape out of strips of styrene but it still not as clean and seamless as I want the part to be.

If it was wood I'd just drill four holes and jigsaw out the middle piece and clean up the edges and corners with a file but I can't helpe but imagine there's a more precise "expert modeler" way to approach this.

What's the best and cleanest way to approach this simple thing?

Nick
 

BornKilr

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I work at a print shop with a vinyl plotter. I often run thin sheets of styrene thru it and score the vinyl into the shapes I want, like perfect circles, etc. and then 'snap' them out. You might check with local sign shops and see if they would do it for you. Also, tell them to duplicate the vector image 2-3 times and cut at high pressure so it makes a better cut.
 

nick daring

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Interesting thought about having it done on a vinyl cutter.

I thought about just having it laser cut but I thought it would be cool to do all the styrene stuff by hand. Learning new skills and whatnot.

For instance, how would one go about removing by hand the square hole and the rectangular inset in an accurate fashion like in this example I found online-
Porter5.jpg


Nick
 

robn1

Master Member
I'd do it by scribing with a hobby knife and a straight edge. Go very lightly, it may take 20 or more passes but it will cut through. Clean up the edge with a file if needed.
 

JiminSTLouis

Sr Member
You should use a modelers scribe, available at all hobby shops. It will take material away with each pass and give you a great edge. A blade pretty much pushes material to the sides leaving you with a lip you will have to clean up.
 

JMChladek

Sr Member
You should use a modelers scribe, available at all hobby shops. It will take material away with each pass and give you a great edge. A blade pretty much pushes material to the sides leaving you with a lip you will have to clean up.

That is why if one uses an X-acto blade, you flip the knife blade upside down so that it removes material with each scribing pass.
 

Jaruemalak

Well-Known Member
First, lay down some thick masking tape at the edges of the square - this will help create a "stop" for your blade. Then, as suggested by others, either use a modelers scribe, or, as I do, use an X-acto knife turned upside down, so the cutting edge is toward the ceiling. I always use an older blade, with the sharp tip broken off. This works far better, for me, than a new tip. Use a metal rule or a straight-edge to make your scribes, and don't try to do too much in one shot! Robn1 said, it may take a lot of cuts to go through, but if you try to rush it, you will screw it up and put a big gash in your plastic. You can clean up the hole with a hobby file.
 

Ray22

Sr Member
If your looking for someone to do Laser cutting contact "IEDBOUNTHUNTER" Al, who is a member here he is offering laser cutting services and he is located in Texas as you are he's good.
 

madmikeee

Sr Member
you can have punches made as well. Basically a poor mans die cutter.

Have a metal shop make you a sheetmetal shape of what you want, sharpen it slightly then just use a block of wood and a rubber mallett to cut your shapes
 
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