How To Cut Lexan

How To Cut Lexan

Lexan is a lightweight type of plastic or polycarbonate resin sheeting that is mostly used for home projects such as in an aquarium, safety window construction or terrarium. You could also thermoform it to make furnitures, utensils and other kind of household items. Apart from it being lightweight, it is also durable, very cheap and reflects high optical clarity. Compared to a cement board it is less fragile and this is one reason why it is important to learn how to cut Lexan with precision and accuracy. This will lead to maximum usage of your polycarbonate resin sheet. It is not just used for DIY home projects or for construction work but just like cement board, Lexan can be used as a backing board. You can even use it to provide insulation for your day-to-day items such as protective windshields, bottles, or even the corrective lenses for your glasses. Every time you feel the need to cut a Lexan, treat it as a sheet of plywood and then cut it with a power saw that will be used with the material.

How To Cut Lexan?

The technique of cutting Lexan is a lot similar to cutting cement board. The only exception to it is that rather than cutting through wood fibers or its particles, or even fiberglass mesh, you will cut through a lightweight polycarbonate or plastic. In this article, we will feature for you a step by step guide on how to cut Lexan. The best part about cutting a Lexan is that it is easier to cut it as compared to cement board. Since it is a type of lightweight plastic, the cuts come out to be clean. So let’s show you how a Lexan is cut with the right technique:

Step 1: Make Use Of A Good Blade

Use a blade whose tip is coated with carbide and also has good tooth space of ½ inch or even less when you cut the Lexan with the help of a circular saw. The teeth of the blade should have alternate bevels of 45 degrees so as to reduce chipping. This is why it is recommended that you use a circular saw for the Lexan sheet that has the thickness of 3mm or more.

Step 2: Ensure That The Lexan Sheet Is On A Stable And Flat Surface

Put the Lexan sheet flat on a surface or even a workbench in a way that the off-cut is overhanging the edge. Here on, mark the cut line of the sheet by scoring the plastic with the help of a knife. You can use a straightedge to guide the knife.

Step 3: Cut Through The Polycarbonate Sheet

Once you notice that the saw is running at a good speed, start cutting the Lexan sheet. Continue on the line being cut at a moderate speed and do not push the saw or else there could be a possibility that large chunks of plastic might gouge from it. Now continue on the same speed and cut till the end of the sheet and allow the off-cut part to fall freely.

Step 4: Use A Circular Saw If The Sheet Is Thicker Than 0.3175 cm

If you are using a circular saw, ensure that the blade is carbide tipped and has good enough tooth spacing and rake angle. Moderately push through the sheet and ensure that you are not going too slow with it as it could overheat the plastic sheet and make it melt.

Step 5: Cut Out The Curves

Make sure that you cut the curves with the help of a band saw or a jigsaw. Irrespective of which tool you are using, make sure that the metal cutting blade of the saw has a tooth spacing of 2 to 4 mm.

Step 6: Hold The Sheet Securely When Cutting

When you are cutting the sheet with a jigsaw make sure that you clamp the sheet securely against the table surface so that you can minimize any level of vibration which can push the saw off or make the plastic chip. For this reason, make sure that the saw is operating at a low or medium speed.

Step 7: Move The Blade Carefully

When you are clamping the sheet against the table top before it is cut with a band saw, ensure that the blade is down and as close to the sheet as possible so that the blade does not bend or wander.

Tips To Keep In Mind When Cutting A Lexan

  • Make sure the blade you use for cutting is as sharp as possible.
  • Once you have cut through the Lexan sheet, make sure that you use a medium-grit abrasive so as to remove the crumbs from the sheet that might still be stuck on the edges.
  • Polish the edges of the sheet with finer abrasives or you can also make use of a rotary tool which has sanding and other polishing accessories.
  • Wear safety glasses and a dust mask when you cut the Lexan sheet so that you do not breathe in the fumes that rise from the saw blade when you are cutting the sheet.

Conclusion

Before you begin with the work you need to understand the kind of project you will be working on so that you can determine the cutting equipment that you require in the process. For example, if you are wanting to design curves or other patterns, you should use a jigsaw so that it does not fall under angled or straight lines. Again, if the cut types are like a window that needs to be removed from the center of the sheet, then make sure that you use a table saw. So the thickness and purpose of your Lexan sheet will depend entirely on the shape or pattern you will be cutting.

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