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How to cut Perspex® Cast Acrylic

The three most common ways to cut Perspex® cast acrylic to shape and size are known as sawing, scribe-breaking and laser cutting. 

Preparing to cut Perspex® Cast Acylic

When preparing to cut a Perspex® cast acrylic sheet it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a brittle material. The material should therefore be fed slowly through the machine and only light machining cuts must be taken to avoid cracks or breakages. The masking film that is on the Perspex® cast acrylic sheet when purchased can be left on whilst cutting to avoid scratches, and it also allows you to draw cutting marks on the film which can later be removed.  

“Stress-Cracking” is due to the heat build-up that is produced from drilling, cutting or machining which generates stress in the finished product. There are numerous solutions that can be used to cool the Perspex® cast acrylic sheeting, these include water, water/air mists, soluble oils and compressed air. To avoid “stress-cracking” soluble oils must be oil-in-water emulsions and they mustn’t contain solvents.

Types of tools to cut Perspex® Cast Acrylic

To accomplish the finest quality, finished edge whilst cutting Perspex® Cast Acrylic, ensure that all of your all cutting tools are sharp before you begin. Perspex® Cast Acrylic can be cut by most of the tools that are generally used for wood and soft metals. The exceptions being laminate cutters, guillotines and blanking dies that are not suitable. However, if required you will be able to use these tools as long as the Perspex® cast acrylic sheet has been heated to a minimum of 50°.  To attain a sharp cut finish most power tools and HSS tool bits are appropriate.

If you need to cut numerous sheets over a long duration, we would recommend using tungsten carbide tipped blades and tool bits. They will last longer than standard cutting tools. Where an accurate and precise degree of finish is required use diamond-tipped tools.  

Different cutting techniques for cutting Perspex® Cast Acrylic

  1. Sawing:

  • Ideal for smaller projects.

  • Electric saws that have blades with alternative beveled teeth are particularly recommended.

  • Or use a fine-toothed hand saw (such as fret Saws & hack saws), a band saw or a jig saw.

  • Fix the material securely and apply light pressure.

  1. Scribe–Breaking:

  • Scribe-Breaking is a technique used to cut Perspex® Cast Acrylic in a straight line.

  • This technique can cut sheets up to 4mm thick.

  • Use a sharp, metal scriber to etch a deep line in the Perspex® cast acrylic sheet numerous times.

  • Clamp the Perspex® cast acrylic sheet tightly with etched line facing upwards on a bench.

  • Quickly press down on the edge of the Perspex® cast acrylic sheet to snap it along the line.

  1.  Laser Cutting:

  • Ideal for cutting very multifaceted and difficult shapes out of Perspex® Cast Acrylic.

  • This technique can cut sheets up to 25mm thick.

  • NB* To achieve the finest quality of your finished edge after 12mm some testing will be required.  

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