Looking to cut polycarbonate sheets for your next project? In this blog post, we’ll show you how to do it quickly and easily
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Polycarbonate is a strong, shatter-resistant material that is often used in place of glass. It is available in sheets of varying thicknesses, and it can be cut with a number of different tools. In most cases, however, a power saw will be the best option for cutting polycarbonate sheets.
Tools and Materials Needed
-Circular saw with a fine-toothed blade
-High-speed steel (HSS) drill bit
-Pilot hole drill bit
-Jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade
Polycarbonate sheets are strong and durable, making them a great choice for everything from greenhouses to bulletproof windows. But because they’re so tough, they can be difficult to cut without the right tools and techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get the job done.
1. Measure your sheet. Use a tape measure to determine the length and width of the sheet. Then use a straightedge to mark your cutting lines.
2. Set up your circular saw. Attach a fine-toothed blade to your circular saw, and set the depth of the blade to half the thickness of the sheet. For example, if you’re using a 1/4″ thick sheet, set the depth of the blade to 1/8″.
3. Drill pilot holes. Use a high speed steel (HSS) drill bit to drill pilot holes along your cutting lines, spacing them about 6″ apart. Then use a pilot hole drill bit to enlarge the holes slightly so that your jigsaw blade can fit through them easily.
4. Cut along your lines. Carefully guide your jigsaw along your cutting lines, following the path of the pilot holes you drilled in step 3. Use slow, steady strokes, and don’t force the blade through the material—let it do the work for you.
The Cutting Process
Polycarbonate is a strong, lightweight plastic used in a variety of applications, including bulletproof windows, storm shelter doors and riot shields. The material is also frequently used in greenhouse construction and as an alternative to glass in skylights and automobile headlight lenses. Cutting polycarbonate sheets requires the use of power tools and several safety precautions should be taken to avoid injury.
1.Mark the area to be cut with a dry-erase marker or similar implement. Place the sheet on a level surface before marking to avoid uneven cuts.
2.Measure the thickness of the polycarbonate sheet and set the depth of cut on the power saw accordingly. The depth of cut should be equal to one-half the thickness of the sheet.
3.Put on eye protection, gloves and a dust mask before beginning to cut the polycarbonate sheet.
4.Securely clamp down the piece of polycarbonate to be cut. An assistant may be necessary to help hold larger pieces while cutting.
5.Cut along the marked line with a circular saw, jigsaw or similar power tool equipped with a fine-tooth blade designed for cutting plastics. Apply gentle pressure while cutting to avoid cracking or breaking the polycarbonate sheet.
After you have made your final cut, remove the protective sheeting from both sides of the polycarbonate. If your project requires tabs or slots for joining pieces together, use a sharp knife or rotary tool to cut them into the desired shape. Sand down any sharp edges with fine-grit sandpaper to avoid injury.