A whole new ‘Perspex-tive’

How to achieve clean cuts through plexiglass

In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are now looking towards a new future of living with the virus, until a vaccine can be found. Centring their reopening’s on safety measures for both customers and employees, we are seeing a new normal emerging in many businesses and across multiple industries, of looking at life through plexiglass screens to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Known to many in the trade as Perspex, the strong plastic material, made of polymers is a great alternative to glass, making it one of the most widely used plastic materials, yet unlike glass, Perspex is shatterproof, flexible, and surprisingly more transparent.

With demand for plexiglass skyrocketing, we’ve put together this blog as a helpful tool to instruct you on how to achieve clean cuts through Perspex each time, saving you money, time and resources.

Cutting Perspex with a jigsaw blade

A jigsaw is one of the preferred tools for cutting plexiglass. With its straight blade and rapid up-down cutting function, its perfect for achieving precise results, namely in angular and curved cuts.

We recommend using the Starrett BU36T wood cutting jigsaw blades, with six teeth per inch (6 TPI) and ground teeth. The Starrett Bi Metal Unique™ Saw Technology features 170% more weld contact than standard bi metals blades through the Unique™ solid state diffusion bonding process. This guarantees exceptionally strong teeth, combined with multiple cutting edges and split chip advantage, ensuring these blades typically last 25% longer than competing products. Plus, as with all Starrett jigsaw blades, their Unified Shank™ makes them suitable for use in all jigsaw machines.

After installing the blade, clamping your Perspex and marking your desired cut, it is important to ensure that if your jigsaw machine has a pendulum, it is switched OFF. This will achieve an incredibly smooth, super easy and crisp, clean cut through the material, with no heat bonding - often the pitfall when using a jigsaw blade.

Cutting Perspex with a hole saw

Perhaps you need to cut some circular holes in your plexiglass countertop for customers to hear the cashier, or to allow wires to be fed through the barrier? After creating the screen, its now of critical importance to do the job right first time to save yourself from having to restart the whole project.

To achieve this, the hole saw Starrett recommends is our Tungsten Carbide Tipped Hole Saw range (CT Hole Saw). Every tooth within the CT range has a carbide tip on it, making it ideal for penetrating acrylic. This saw is particularly suitable when there is a requirement for a high-quality finish on the entry and exit hole - its teeth offers outstanding cutting performance and durability. Plus ensuring you are not short of choice - within the CT range, Starrett offers hole saw diameters ranging from 19mm right up to 152mm.

Now once you’ve selected the appropriate arbor, installed your hole saw, marked your cut and clamped your Perspex, your cut should be fast, smooth and effortless, with the desired effect resulting in a smooth, clean-cut finish on the Perspex.

Why selecting the right blade is important?

  • It saves money and resources from damaged tools and ruined Perspex. Plus, Starrett products offer a longer product life than competitors.
  • It saves time by getting the job done right first time and not trying to make something work that’s impossible. Using Starrett’s recommended products will achieve fast cuts time-after-time.
  • It achieves a high-quality finish when using the recommended Starrett products and following recommended procedures, you are guaranteed superior, clean cuts.
  • It ensures the Perspex does not bond together during cutting – a down fall from not following advised procedures.

Top tips for achieving the best results

  • Ensure your Perspex is held firmly in place
  • Always mark your cuts
  • Use a non-flammable coolant to prevent overheating
  • A sharp blade and smooth feed is desirable
  • Turn off the pendulum on jigsaw machines
  • Leave the Perspex plastic overlay on
  • Don’t let your blade touch the Perspex, until you start your cut
  • Above all, stay safe

For further information on Starrett’s wood cutting jigsaw blades CLICK HERE.

For more information on Starrett’s Tungsten Carbide Tipped hole saws CLICK HERE.