Let's Make Robots!

How to cut Plexiglas (Acrylic sheets)

Plexiglass / acrylic plastic sheets is a great material when building robots.

If you are having electronics and mecanics on each side of something, and want to pack cables, motors, sensors etc in a tight space, it is great to be able to look through your "base".

It is so much easier just to look where to drill than measuring etc.

Double-adhesive tape glues extremely well to this, and it is nice plane etc..

BUT! It is impossible to cut.

You should think it is easy, but it is not.

Either you crack it, or the wierdest thing happen; Just behind your blade, it melts back together.

I did not believe this was a problem untill I saw it with my own eyes.

If you look at the web (as this was not) - you find thousands of strange advice; Put spirit on the blade, go slowly, go fast, use fine tooth, use rough blades.. And I have tried it all and was about to give up.. untill i found this:

There are special blades for jig saws, made to cut acryllic. And they WORK! That´s it! :)


Transparency can be a bliss :)

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hmm, guess i'll be returning them tomorrow, maybe i should try on some scrap piece of plexiglas first, who knows...


thanks again :)

If they are for acryllic, they are, Curley or straight, I do not think that should be the difference!?!

Are they straight, or wavy? i got some, that supposedly are for acrylic, though i'm not sure if they are supposed to be wavy :S


thanks :-)

Hang on, I will go over and check :)

Mine are absolutely non-curly, but straight out flat as I !


I have found that spit (yes that stuff in your mouth) is probably the best cutting fluid you can use to get a clean cut.

Just about any liquid works well provided you keep the cutting area wet.

If you are drilling acrylic and wabt a crystal clear hole, spit on it keeping the bit wet all the way through.

I learnd this early on as a machinist.

It sure is an unorthodox method that reveals great results.

Obviously when cutting large amounts you face dehydration.

For edges I use a wood plane with the blade set for a very shallow depth of cut. Shallow depth prevents the blade from stopping in mid cut allowing for a long smooth clean finish, and yes you got it spitting on it makes it easier to cut and prevents galling and burning.

I also sometimes warm acrylic in hot water or in an oven set at around 150deg C to soften it then cut with a scissors. This method works best on the thin stuff and allows you to cut clean radii etc.

Just make sure to wash it before handing it over to anyone you like. Especially if you have a cold...

Yeah it sure sounds gross but it really works.

One place I worked there were 3 of us making devorative parts for a yacht.

It was about 120 mushroom shaped pole ends.

After a while your mouth starts drying out and we found that chewing some bubble gum got the spit cutting fluid flowing again :0

whenever i've cut plexiglass i've use a tool to score a line into it and then I just put it on the edge of a table and crack it.  it works really well.  you can really only get stright lines using this method but i've never had a need for a curved edge.  I've never tried using any sort of saw on it because i figured it would just crack. 
Where can I Find Plexiglass / acrylic plastic?