How to Cut Lexan

How to Cut Lexan

How to Cut Lexan

Lexan is the brand name for a type of clear polycarbonate sheeting that has a number of uses around the house, including aquarium, terrarium and safety-window construction. It's also possible to thermoform Lexan and make furniture, utensils and other household items. When you need to cut Lexan, you can essentially treat it as a sheet of plywood and cut it with any power saw you would use for that material. Make straight cuts with a circular saw or table saw, and curved ones with a band saw or jigsaw. You should use carbide-tipped blades with closely spaced teeth.

Step 1

Use a carbide-tipped blade with a tooth spacing of 1/2 inch or less when you cut Lexan with a circular saw. The teeth should have alternate 45-degree bevels to reduce chipping. The use of a circular saw is recommended only for sheets with a thickness of 3 mm or more.

Step 2

Lay the sheet flat on a workbench with the off-cut overhanging the edge. Mark the cut line by scoring the plastic with a knife. Use a straightedge to guide the knife.

Step 3

Start the cut only after the saw is running at full speed. Proceed along the cut line at a moderate speed -- don't force the saw, or it may gouge large chunks from the plastic. Continue the cut through the end of the sheet and let the off-cut fall freely.

Step 4

Use a carbide-tipped blade with similar tooth spacing and rake angle as the circular saw when you cut on a table saw. Push the sheet through moderately quickly -- if you go too slowly, the blade can overheat the plastic and melt it.

Step 5

Cut curves with a band saw or jigsaw. When using either tool, equip it with a metal-cutting blade that has a tooth spacing of 2 to 4 mm.

Step 6

Clamp the sheet securely to the work table when cutting with a jigsaw, to minimize vibrations that can chip the plastic or throw the saw off its path. Operate the saw at low to medium speed.

Step 7

Support the Lexan sheet securely when you feed it through a band saw, clamping it to a piece of wood to stabilize it, if necessary. Move the blade guide down so it is as close to the sheet as possible to prevent blade from bending and wandering.