Plexiglass is often used for different purposes, but mainly as a substitute for glass. If you're contemplating how to cut it using your Dremel tools but are unsure which bit to use, we'll ease your frustrations. We've found credible information and guidelines after thorough research.
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To cut plexiglass, you can do this:
- Mark where you need to cut it.
- Insert a Dremel 561 multipurpose cutting bit.
- Turn the Dremel into six or eight and begin cutting.
- Use an air compressor to blow material cuttings.
It would help if you learned how to avoid cracks while cutting it, as it's vital, so we've also incorporated tips. Read more to make sure you get the desired results for your plexiglass.
Guide For Cutting Plexiglass With Dremel
Cutting plexiglass with Dremel may seem intimidating, especially if it's your first time doing it. But it's not that hard as long as you follow these steps:
- Mark where you need to cut it. You can use a straightedge as a guide if you need to cut it straight. Clump the straightedge to the plexiglass to ensure it doesn't move as you mark. On the other hand, you can also cut the plexiglass freehand if you're not going to cut it in a straight line.
- Insert a Dremel 561 multipurpose cutting bit. Before inserting the cutting bit, ensure that your Dremel is unplugged. Then, loosen the collet and insert the Dremel bit before tightening it with a wrench. You can then plug the Dremel rotary tool back in after the cutting bit is inserted.
- Turn the Dremel into six or eight and begin cutting. To maximize the exposure of the blade to the plexiglass, Dremel recommends that you start cutting at a 45-degree angle. If you have marked the plexiglass before cutting, follow this mark. But if you haven't, you can cut freehand.
- Use an air compressor to blow material cuttings. Don't forget to remove the cutting bit from the Dremel rotary tool and blow the material cuttings away from the Dremel using an air compressor.
Tips To Avoid Cracks On Plexiglass While Cutting
It isn't enough that you know the steps to cut plexiglass. It's also vital to learn to ensure that you don't cause any cracks or breaks in the material during the process. To help you, here are the tips you should consider:
Don't Remove The Plastic Film
Plexiglass comes with a plastic film. As you mark and cut the material, do not remove this plastic film to avoid light scratches on the plexiglass. This plastic film is specifically intended for this, so keeping it on is essential.
While cutting plexiglass with your tool, do not immediately break the material if you haven't attempted to score it as deep as you can. Additionally, check if your cutting bit or blades are sharp enough because dull ones may cause risks of an unnecessary crack in the material.
Keep Your Blade Or Cutting Bit Cool
During the cutting process, if your blade or cutting bit is overheated, it may result in several cracks or breaks on the material. Even though the plastic film protects your plexiglass from scratching at some point, it would not be able to do much if your tool overheats.
If your tool has too much heat, unplug it and let it cool before using it again. For additional lubrication for your plexiglass, add ample soapy water to the plastic film's lubrication.
Meanwhile, if you need to cut another piece of glass, read this post about where you can have an expert do it for you:
How To Polish Plexiglass Edges After Cutting
The plexiglass edges can look quite rough, opposite to the glossy appearance you might be aiming for. To polish the plexiglass, beginners must first sand it before using a cloth buffing towel.
Sanding Plexiglass Edges
Before sanding the plexiglass, check if the sandpapers (180, 320-360, and 600-grit) are the same size as your sanding block. Note that you should add an extra half an inch to the bottom of the outline so you can place it into the sanding block later.
Then proceed by following these directions:
- Insert your 180-grit sandpaper into the sanding block. Open the sanding block's bottom to create space for the extra sandpaper provided. Slide the paper in. Note that there shouldn't be any air space between the sanding block and the paper, as it should fit tightly.
- Using a spray bottle, spray the edges of the plexiglass. Ensure that you use lukewarm water and don't miss any part of the material. When you switch sandpapers, don't forget to respray the plexiglass later. The step is vital because you may damage the material if you fail to use water.
- With 180-grit sandpaper, smooth the plexiglass edges. Rub the sandpaper into the material. Use 180-grit sandpaper first to get the plexiglass ready for higher-grit sandpaper.
- Attach your 320-360 grit sandpaper to your sanding block and rub it onto the plexiglass. After you've changed the 180-grit sandpaper into the 320-360 grit, spray water before rubbing the paper onto the plexiglass.
- Change into the 600-grit sandpaper. The higher-grit sandpaper makes your plexiglass even shinier. Repeat the process like with other sandpapers to see a polished result.
Cloth Buffing Wheel For Plexiglass Edges
After sanding your plexiglass, polish it more with a cloth buffing wheel. Follow these directions to do so:
- Clamp the cloth buffing wheel with a small hand drill. It makes it easier to polish the plexiglass's large and curved surfaces.
- Put polishing wax on the cloth buffing wheel. If you have already used this tool, ensure it has no leftover wax. Then, apply the new polishing wax on its rotating disc.
- Set the drill speed. If your cloth buffing wheel has a large diameter, only set a low rotational speed on the drill. But, if it has a small diameter, set a high rotational speed.
- Polish the plexiglass. Move the cloth buffing wheel on your plexiglass with light pressure applied. Ensure that you don't press down the tool on just one spot for too long, as it may scratch or damage the material.
- Remove the wax on your plexiglass and cloth buffing wheel with a dry cloth.
Can You Join Two Pieces Of Plexiglass?
You can join two or more pieces of plexiglass together. Just follow this guide:
- Set the funnel on top of the hypo-applicator. Then, pour the acrylic cement until the hypo-applicator is about three-quarters tall. Check if the edges of the plexiglass are smooth and polished.
- Set the pieces together according to how you want them to be joined. Then, line up the combination square at the center of the vertical plexiglass piece to get a 90-degree angle between the two.
- Get your hypo-applicator and push its plunger to eliminate the remaining air.
- Set the needle of the hypo-applicator between the edges of the two plexiglass pieces and squeeze out the cement. Continue squeezing the product out along the length of the plexiglass.
- Hold the pieces together as you let them set. Lay them on an even surface and reapply the acrylic cement to their edges using a small brush. To stick them, press the pieces together for a few seconds.
Cutting plexiglass with Dremel isn't difficult as long as you religiously follow the directions mentioned. Mark where you need to cut, attach the required cutting bit to the Dremel, and turn it to begin cutting. Lastly, blow off the remaining material cuttings with an air compressor.
Even though cutting plexiglass isn't complex, you may still cause cracks, scratches, or breaks. Ensure that you use the tips provided to prevent this.
Read this post about other tools you can use for different home projects for more information: