I generally use a bandsaw, but one can also scribe a line on the stuff
and bend at the line. It should break reasonably clean. Cutting thicker
plastic, particularly clear acrylics, is quite a bit like cutting glass.
But then, I have never been very good on cutting glass, so I don't use
that method very often.
Length of cut is important. If the sheet is not too big you can cut it
with a back saw.
I have used a table saw for bigger pieces but that is really tricky. You
must feed it at just the right speed to keep from burning. If it burns
it may stick and break the sheet.
At least with a bandsaw burning/sticking does not usually break the
sheet, but I don't get as straight an edge, either.
That's awfully heavy plastic for modeling but you didn't indicate what
scale or how big the structures are going to be.
Most modelers don't use anything thicker than 1/8" (0.125" or 3.5mm)
plastic as a base for structures. It's easier to layer other sizes of
plastic onto them to create depth and architectural features.
Cutting 1/8" and thicker material is best handled with a table saw and a
miter saw. Use a blade designed for plastic laminates or plastic
cutting. Most acrylic fabricators use a table saw with a plastic blade
for cutting. Thin kerf blades , about 3/64th's, are available from any
legitimate cabinetmaker supply shop.
You can do a "poor man's" version of a plastic blade by taking a STEEL
plywood blade, and mounting it backwards. It turns out the back side of
the blade is just about the right cutting angle for plastic.
Do not, under any circumstances, use carbide blades because you'll pull
the teeth off. Those teeth go flying in whichever direction at high
velocity. Extracting one from your body will require the assistance of a
surgeon, preferably assisted by an anesthesiologist.
Sorry Dave, wrong answer. Never ever run a carbide blade backwards. The
trick of cutting with a steel plywood blade reversed is used for cutting
thin sheet metal steel in a pinch. Really dulls the bald quickly.
I've used carbide blades for 35 years. Plastic will not pull a tooth off
a quality made blade. If you have teeth flying off your carbide blades,
its time to buy a better quality blade. If you use the wrong blade what
will happen is the teeth will get too hot and melt the plastic while
cutting. leaving a very messy edge. That is why I specifically said,
you must use a blade made to cut either plastic laminates or plastic. In
a pinch a good quality 10" ATB(alternate tooth bevel),negative rake,6o
tooth blade will work just fine. I have cut wood, plastic laminates,
acrylics as well as non-ferrous metals( they will nick a tooth
occasionally) with these blade. I can not remember ever having had a
tooth weld break loose. I usually break teeth when dropping a blade on
concrete. Alway use a replacement throat plate the has no space
between the blade and the plate. This will prevent the blade from
pulling the plastic down into the opening. I would also recommend a
feather board to help hold the sheet firmly to the table making it
easier to feed the piece through the saw.
If anyone is googling, the term for this throat plate is 'zero clearance'.
Usually made by raising the blade into a blank plate - normally wooden, but
sometimes 'plastic'. Make sure the plate is properly secured when you do
There's several different ways to get the stuff cut.
Scribe a line and walk up to it with a saw, keep on scribing a line until
you break through or can bend the plastic and break it, shears work with
some plastics and jobs
One thing to note is that it is wise to cut away from the desired edge by a
little bit and wak to the edge with a file or sandpaper as that will produce
a much better edge on the plastic as well as more guaranteeing that the job
rmay at nethere.com
http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay
http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
I'd be working out a cutting list and talking to my local laser cutter.
Most of those machines can handle mild steel up to 16mm thick, and its
accurate, repeatable and has very little wastage.
(the Aussie one)
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.