Cutting acrylic

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by starbuckcylon, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. starbuckcylon

    starbuckcylon Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    816
    I have a project I have to cut a bunch of acrylic circles. Any time I cut this stuff with a jigsaw it melts back together. What is the best type of blade to buy? Or could I use maybe Dremel on a string with a router bit?

    And what is the best way to give the edge the professional look?


    Thanks for looking,
    Jim
     
  2. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,682
    It's because the jigsaw is running too fast and generating heat at the blade. Does it have speed control? If so, slow it down.
    A dremel will work but if you run it too fast you'll have the same problem, keep the revs down.
    Emery the edges, 240-600-1200. Do it wet (Soak the emery).

    SAS
     
  3. SurferGeek

    SurferGeek Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,246
    Here's a nice guide on working acrylic. It's from a company that has a brand of acrylic they call Acrylite but it's acrylic and the guide has some good info.

    http://www.americanplastics.net/technical_guide1.htm

    After sanding you can also "flame" the edges to make them water clear again. Just be very careful as you can blister or crack the edges if you put too much heat to them.
     
  4. hydin

    hydin Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,305
    also, if you can, use something to "lube" the blade or acrylic. water, dial soap, something to just cut the friction.

    if you are having to pushing the acrylic through when you are cutting it, itll melt back together even if you have the speed control set low.

    chris
     
  5. ytt1300

    ytt1300 New Member

    Trophy Points:
    16
    i keep a squirt bottle with some soapy water handy, when I cut acrylic on my band saw, works like a charm, as well as lowering the speed of the blade...[as others have suggested]

    -K
     
  6. motman241

    motman241 Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    931
    The other thing that is at work here, is that a bandsaw and a Rotozip (what I use) throw the cut plastic pieces from the work area. A jigsaw just cuts up and down - it doesn't really get rid of the freshly cut pieces like the others.
     
  7. knightdriver2001

    knightdriver2001 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    1,781
    Hey Jim,

    What size are the circles and how thick is the acrylic?
     
  8. Boba Frett

    Boba Frett Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,671
    If they are big pieces you can use a table saw with the blade reversed , also works with plexiglass , styrene and other plastics.
     
  9. wynnstudio

    wynnstudio Active Member

    Trophy Points:
    360
    Laser cut is the answer. :angel Drop me a line if you want.

    Thomas
     
  10. Eaglewood

    Eaglewood Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,476

    You go Tom...


    PM me about the Constantine Plaques

    Machina Artium
     
  11. knightdriver2001

    knightdriver2001 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    1,781
    Thats why I asked about the size and thickness. I can do laser cutting up to
    certain sizes and thickness's as well. Nice clean edges.
     
  12. starbuckcylon

    starbuckcylon Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    816
    [​IMG]

    I’m doing a project for company that makes pipes and seals. Last year they had a movie theme for their trade show. I made this robot out of rubber seals and their blue gaskets. They come in a bunch of sizes for 4” to 22”. This year they want a light bulb for an “Innovation” theme. So I thought I could take a thread rod as a center. And have plexi glass plates that the rubber rings can sit on and make an out line of a bulb. I’m also going to try yellow tool dip and see if that will stick to the rings. So I have to cut a bunch of rings and didn’t much luck in the past. It sounds like a slower cut and the correct blade will help out a lot.

    As for laser cutting I wanted to do some pages for the book of the dead from the Mummy and a cut out holes for leds for the over head console in my kitt car. IÂ’ll send you a PM.

    Jim
    www.wegottafindearth.com
     
  13. msmjr2003

    msmjr2003 New Member

    Trophy Points:
    3
    This is a common problem with materials like this; matter of fact, it's something that folks in the US Air Force deal with by having saws with carbide tips, should they have to cut into a canopy to extricate a pilot.

    Perhaps carbide tipped blades aren't that rare of a thing....I know I've seen them in the civilian sector at places like Sears and such....
     
  14. Jedirick

    Jedirick Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,145
    I love passing the sanded edge through a propane torch flame and watching it turn clear as glass. Kind of like watching resin kick. Never get tired of it. :)
     
  15. tk5163

    tk5163 New Member

    Trophy Points:
    2
    You could give your friendly neighborhood dentist or orthodontist a call. They have special blades for cutting acrylic that will work for a dremel tool. You just have to put in a smaller collet. Be careful though, watch your fingers and wear eye protection.
     
  16. hydin

    hydin Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

    Trophy Points:
    2,305
    also... this works out kinda well.

    try taping a few layers (like 5 or 10) of freezer tape or masking tape. itll help the acrylic stay cooler and seperated, not to mention help it not to crack. i used this method when i cut my tubing down for my superman display.

    chris
     
  17. kimncris

    kimncris Well-Known Member

    Trophy Points:
    931

    What do you mean "with the blade reversed" ?

    -cris
     
  18. Boba Frett

    Boba Frett Sr Member

    Trophy Points:
    1,671
    backwards, I do this all the time , if you try it the other way it will just chip and crack the plastic. This was the easiest way to cut 4x8 plastic when I had my vac-uform table.
     

Share This Page