How To Cut Plexiglass With A Circular Saw

How to Cut Plexiglass With a Circular Saw

The most convenient and affordable out of all cutting tools to effectively cut plexiglass has to be a circular saw.

With the right blade attached, you can go through plexiglass with absolute ease. Still, there are a few basic principles you have to follow to ensure that you get the optimal results you desire.

With the intent of helping you, we have prepared a list of important precautions and tips on how to cut plexiglass with a circular saw.

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead and take a look.

How to Cut Acrylic With a Circular Saw?

When cutting acrylic sheets using a circular saw, I recommend putting a sheet of foam insulation over the material.

For bigger sheets and larger cuts, you want to make use of some plywood by sandwiching the plexiglass between the plywood.

Ideally, this will prevent the sheet from vibrating under the weight of a saw as your cut, which will deliver a much cleaner finish. You can also use some scrap MBF and a bar clamp which is another way to prevent chipping.

Apart from a circular saw, you’re also going to have to get your hands on a Diablo Ultra Fine Finish 60-tooth blade if you want a clean finish.

That said, there are a few basic things that you’ll need in order for the process to go smoothly and without the risk of injury.

Here’s everything you’ll need to cut plexiglass:

  • A cordless or corded circular saw
  • A Diablo ultra finish 60 teeth blade
  • A clear flat surface and or workbench
  • Clamps to fix it to the workbench
  • Measuring tape and straight edge
  • Safety goggles and gloves
  • Ear defenders and or earplugs
  • A Sharpie pen or scribing tool

Once you have prepared the equipment, you’ll need to follow these simple steps to cut plexiglass with a circular saw:

Step 1

Captain obvious here, grab whatever safety gear that is necessary and clear the floor or workstation where you’ll be cutting the plexiglass.

Step 2

Then, place the plexiglass on any flat surface (workbench or floor), and using a straight edge, measure and mark (or scribe) the cut you intend on making.

Step 3

Gather some scrap wood (plywood would be ideal) and place a piece of scrap beneath and on top of the plexiglass matching your cut line.

Step 4

Remove the power source from your saw, and attach your Diablo Ultra Fine Finish blade to your circular saw. Adequately tighten the blade to the arbor using an impact driver and turn the saw on.

Step 5

Next, if you have a saw with a laser sight, flick it on and start by making a cut on one end of the plexiglass and then follow through along your cut-line at a slow and steady pace.

And that’s about it. I’d recommend you practice on an offcut firsthand before attempting to cut a large sheet straight off of the bat.

Pro-tip, if you are on a workbench, you can clamp your scrap wood to the bench and sandwich some foam insulation between the plexiglass scrap when cutting thicker sheets.

What is the Best Tool for Cutting Plexiglass?

When it comes to cutting plexiglass, there are a number of tools that you can work with. Dollar for dollar, I’d go with a circular saw.

But if you’re going to be cutting a lot of plexiglass for a large project, either hiring or buying a digital laser cutter would be highly beneficial.

Really, the tool you intend on using depends on the amount of cutting. Soring and snapping a few sheets is a fine method, but it gets old super quick as you have to repeatedly sore acrylic (depending on the thickness) before snapping.

That said, here are a few other cutting tools and saws that I’d recommend besides a circular saw or laser cutter:

  • A jigsaw with a plexiglass blade
  • A contractors table saw
  • Portable or standard Band saw
  • A digital laser cutter
  • Scroll saw with table
  • An acrylic knife to score and snap
  • A Rotary or oscillating tool
  • Track saw for large sheets
  • A coping saw or hacksaw

Still, our personal recommendation is to use a circular saw due to the power tools’ versatility and budget price tag.

That said, the next best method to effectively cut acrylic, if you don’t own a circular saw, is by hand. Here’s a quick video breaking down the basics of how to cut acrylic by hand using a Dremel:

The Benefits of Plexiglass

First of all, it is cheaper and lighter than the traditional product, which is the main benefit that you are getting with it. Along with that, we all know that breaking glass is quite easy, and once that happens, people around are at risk of cutting themselves and sustaining severe injuries.

That is not the case with plexiglass as it is almost 50 times more resistant, featuring a longer life span and better flexibility, which is critical for different applications. 

At the end of the day, it offers great UV protection, and maybe the most important point – it comes in a number of colors and designs, which makes it great for home decoration.

Hence, while it does have problems with temperature resistance, there are more than a few benefits making it a great alternative to traditional glass.

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In Conclusion

If you need to cut plexiglass and you are trying to decide among multiple different power tools, we would recommend going with a circular saw.

If you are experienced with it, and you have adequate safety equipment, you will not have a problem.

Plexiglass is a beautiful material to work with, especially if you have a high-quality saw and a blade that will ensure precise cuts.