How To Properly Cut Polycarbonate Sheets
Due to their strength, durability, and transparency, polycarbonate sheets are a popular material for various DIY projects, such as greenhouses, skylights, and safety shields. However, cutting polycarbonate sheets can be tricky if you are unfamiliar with the proper techniques. The five key steps of cutting polycarbonate sheets properly are: Choosing the right tools, Measuring and marking the sheet, Securing the sheet, Cutting the sheet and Cleaning the edges. Let's take a closer look at these critical steps in cutting polycarbonate.
1. Choose the right tools
The first step in cutting a polycarbonate sheet is to choose the right tools. You will need a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade, a jigsaw, a handsaw or a handheld cutter for thinner sheets like perspex. Ensure the blade is suitable for cutting plastics, as this will prevent the sheet from cracking or chipping during the cutting process. You will also need a straightedge, a tape measure, a marker, and a clamp.
2. Measure and mark the sheet
Before you start cutting, measure and mark the sheet where you want to cut. Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the sheet, and mark the cutting line with a marker. Make sure the line is straight and even, as this will ensure the cut is precise.
3. Secure the sheet
To prevent the sheet from moving while you are cutting, secure it to a work surface using clamps. Ensure the sheet is flat and stable, as this will prevent the blade from wobbling during the cutting process.
4. Cut the sheet
When cutting the sheet with a saw, ensure the blade is spinning at full speed before you start cutting. This will prevent the sheet from cracking or chipping during the cutting process. Slow and steady motion guides the saw along the cutting line. Do not apply too much pressure, which can cause the sheet to crack or chip. If you are using a jigsaw or handsaw, make sure to use a fine-toothed blade and follow the same process.
When using the handheld cutter, use the steel ruler to guide the blade as you run it down the sheet. Go over the line two or three times to create a definitive groove. Then use the table's edge as leverage to hold pressure on the sheet. It should make a clean break if cut correctly.
5. Clean the edges
After cutting the sheet, use a fine-grit sandpaper or a deburring tool to smooth the edges of the cut. This will remove any burrs or rough edges that can be dangerous and cause injury.
6. Clean the sheet
Once you have finished cutting and sanding the sheet, clean it with a soft cloth and a mild soap solution to remove any debris or dust. This will ensure that the sheet remains clear and transparent.
In conclusion, cutting a polycarbonate sheet requires the right tools, the proper technique, and a steady hand. Following these simple steps, you can ensure that your polycarbonate sheet is cut precisely and cleanly. Remember always to wear safety goggles and gloves when cutting polycarbonate sheets, as small pieces of plastic can fly off during the cutting process.
At Plastic Solutions, we offer a hand-held perspex cutter for 1mm to 10mm panels. Follow this link to the product and a video tutorial demonstrating how to use it.