How to cut plastic is often a difficult question to answer. We know tools for chopping wood, metal, or glass, but there is no special equipment designed specifically for acrylic and polycarbonate.
Besides, some of those materials melt when cut, making the job even more difficult.
However, it does not mean impossible. Using some tricky methods, it turns out that you can even use the materials you come across every day to get the cuts you want.
Besides that, there are also some other easy tips using ingredients you might not have thought before.
Table of Contents
1. How to Cut Plastic Sheet
The BobVilla page published a few things about how to cut plastic in some primary ways. The review shows how simple utensils can turn out to make thick plastic and tips.
However, of course, there are differences in techniques based on thickness levels.
Cutting the Thin Plastics
Acrylic or polycarbonate plastic will be thin if it has a maximum thickness of 0.125 inches. The cutting process is not too hard, and it is enough to use an ordinary cutter knife.
In general, here are the achievable steps to split it.
- First, attach the plastic sheet to a cutting plane with the help of tongs. Make sure you put it firmly so that it does not move during the process.
- Take measurements carefully before cutting. Mark the part to be split with a washable marker so you can erase it again.
- After the plastic is well installed, you can start cutting. Because the material is relatively thin, you can use an ordinary cutter or razor knife.
- The plastic may not cut immediately with one scratch. You need to test it several times until the material is completely separated. Use a ruler like that to keep the blade steady during cutting, and you get neat results.
- After several strokes, the plastic will split. Trim the edges, and you can start to use them on purpose.
That is one way of how to cut plastic without a saw. Because cutting media is quite easy to get, of course, you can easily do it.
Do this with care, as the razorblade is usually sharp enough to scratch unwanted spots.
Cutting the Thick Plastics
For acrylic and polycarbonate sheets that have a thickness above 0.125 inches, the cutting techniques are also different.
In addition to the sharpener used for the cutter, you also have to use a ‘No Melt’ blade so that the plastic does not get hot and damaged when cut.
For your information, most plastics melt when they receive heat reactions, including those from friction when cutting. Therefore, we need a tool that can help the cooling process.
It is how to cut hard plastic without breaking it:
- Like the steps taken with thin plastic put a mark on the part to cut with a washable marker.
- After that, place the plastic on the cutting plane. Pinch it firmly so that it does not move during the cutting process.
- Install the ‘No Melt’ blade on the table saw. Do not forget to read the instructions for using the cutter carefully because you have to make sure it works perfectly to cool the plastic.
- Use the saw on a plastic surface as if chopping wood. Do this carefully until the material is perfectly cut.
- After the plastic splitting, clean the sides and ready to use.
Using the ‘No Melt’ blade is an alternative of how to cut plastic without cracking. If you take the right steps when using the knife, the acrylic, and polycarbonate sheet will not melt, let alone until it breaks.
2. How to Cut Plastic in Curves
In the right way, you can even cut plastic in curved shapes. One way is to use a jigsaw, which can be used both on thin and thick materials.
Nevertheless, to do so, you may need special skills so that you need a lot of practice.
A jigsaw is a cutter designed for wood. The friction with the cut material creates heat that can melt the plastic. Therefore, you have to choose a speed and particular setting so as not to damage the materials.
As there is no definite formula, you need a lot of practice.
3. How to Cut Plastic Trim
Cutting plastic trim is another problem that is also difficult to solve. Apart from the hard coating, this material is also easily damaged by friction.
Using a saw is an option, but the process may cause it to melt. Hence, as is the case with thick plastic, you need to use the ‘No Melt’ blade.
However, the knife only reduces the risk of the plastic melting. Chainsaw friction is still very likely to leave marks that are less comfortable to see.
However, you can treat the streaks on the current trim with a restoring solution that can restore color and reduce visible scars.
4. How to Cut Plastic with Scissors
The cutting power of the scissors can be comparable to a razor blade or cutter, or even lower.
You may not be able to use it for thick plastic, but its ability is still possible to apply to the thin one though the results may not be optimal.
5. How to Cut Plastic with a Dremel
Apart from the various tools above, you can also use Dremel to cut thin and thick layers of plastic. This tool has a good performance in the cutting process.
Nevertheless, you also have to adjust it well so that the friction does not damage the acrylic and polycarbonate sheet.
6. How to Cut Plastic Container
Like plastic trim, containers are categorized as thick plastic. Therefore, you cannot use an ordinary knife to cut it. Besides, the chances of the material melting and scratching are very high.
Therefore, you are advised to use the most quality cutters.
Some tools that you can use are fine-toothed saws and jigsaws. Besides, the cutter used must also be a ‘No Melt’ blade to avoid the worst possibility during the cutting process.
Even though you use the best equipment, you have to keep making cuts very carefully to prevent damage.
Even though it sounds impossible at first, we finally can answer the question of how to cut plastic. You do not need to use expensive equipment to split and shape this material.
Just use a simple cutter, and you can do this job with one blink.