How to Cut Polycarbonate at Home
Cloths of polymer plastic, more familiar to everyone under the name polycarbonate, are becoming more and more popular every day. And not by accident: the relative cheapness and excellent properties of the material brought it to one of the first places in sales. Of great importance is the fact that almost anyone can work with him, would be a desire. But since this is a relatively new material, not everyone knows how and what to cut polycarbonate at home in order to get a high-quality cut and not spoil the material.
The very first tool that almost everyone has that can work with polycarbonate is an angle grinder. Over, it is not necessary to use an expensive tool: even an inexpensive and small angle grinder will do all the work perfectly. To make even cuts, you need to install a circle 125, designed for metal. The only thing you need to pay attention to is experience, because the tool has high revolutions, and if you didn’t have to work with it before, it is advisable to cut the polycarbonate before cutting it out of this material. Where to get them? Contact the craftsmen who manufacture polycarbonate structures.
It perfectly cuts polymer plastic canvas and stationery knife. Over, even beginners can cope with this. The main thing is that the knife is of good quality, and the work is not done in a hurry. The blade of such tools is very sharp and you can not only make the wrong cut, but also get hurt. A stationery knife is suitable for 4-6 mm thick honeycomb sheets, but working with 8 mm sheets is already quite difficult. On thicker sheets, cutting polycarbonate is almost impossible, therefore, experts recommend using the knife only where it is necessary to trim the material, and even then, on sheets up to 10 mm.
A household, the most ordinary electric jigsaw is also quite suitable for working with polycarbonate sheets, only you need to install a nail file with small teeth on it, otherwise the material will tear, not cut. This tool, like the angle grinder, is quite simple to use, but in order to be completely sure of the quality of work, it is also advisable to practice in advance. An electric jigsaw is very popular especially when you have to perform cutting of monolithic polycarbonate of complex decorative shapes or make roundings.
On a note: If you have to cut thin sheets, then experts recommend folding sheets of 10-12 pieces, and lay a layer of cardboard under them and then cut everything at the same time.
When you need to cut only one sheet. The risk of cracking increases significantly. To prevent damage to the material, you need to work only with a very well sharpened tool. There are craftsmen who use scissors when working with polycarbonate. This is also quite acceptable. The main thing is that the tool used does not violate the structure of the paintings.
Beginners are usually interested in: is it possible to cut and how to cut cellular polycarbonate with a hacksaw or a hand saw? In the case when there is no experience, it is advisable not to use these tools: the blades along the cuts can crack. Work best with power tools. But for beginners and experienced professionals, it is imperative that the polycarbonate sheets be well fixed to prevent vibration and stress in the material, which is also fraught with bad consequences.
In addition to the above methods, you can perform cutting with a laser. But, to work with a laser installation, you need to have the appropriate skills. In addition, not every master has such a tool, so laser cutting of polycarbonate is available only to those who professionally handle polycarbonate. But, if it is possible to perform laser work, you must definitely use it, as this guarantees:
- High speed of work;
- Lack of defects;
- Excellent cutting quality;
- Cutting accuracy: when working with a laser, dimensional accuracy is observed up to 0.05 mm;
- When working, you do not need to fix the sheets.
Any cutting material intended for work on metal or wood, even a standard cutter for metal, can be applied to canvases of monolithic polycarbonate.
How to cut?
Before cutting polycarbonate, specialists prepare the workplace well first. It is necessary:
- Remove all foreign objects from the site: branches, pieces of planks and boards, even small pebbles. Ideally, the place should be clean. This is necessary so that dents, scratches and other damage remain on the polycarbonate sheets. It is best to pave the work site with sheets of chipboard, fiberboard or other material suitable for this purpose.
- Using a marker and a long ruler or other object on the panels, you need to markup. If you have to move around the canvases during this, you need to lay a wide board and walk only on it so that dents do not appear on the surface of the polymer.
- Before cutting polycarbonate in size, it is necessary to place boards on both sides of the marking marked with a marker, the size of which should not be less than 4 × 10 × 220 cm. Boards are placed again on top of the canvas in the same places, and only then will move on them.
- If the cut is carried out in a straight line. You can work the angle grinder, the rounded parts pass with an electric jigsaw, and if you need to perform a slight fit. A clerical knife is also suitable.
- If the work is performed on a material with a laminated or mirror surface, it is very important to correctly place the canvas in the workplace: the laminated or mirror coating should be turned up. What is the best way to cut this type of polycarbonate? With the same tools as other types of material, but using a hacksaw is not permissible: the mirror or laminated layers can peel off.
- When working with canvases of polymer honeycomb plastic, if the incision is made along the length of the sheet, marking can be omitted: the honeycombs themselves will serve as a guide. Thanks to this, it will turn out not even to walk on the surface of the material.
- After completion of the sawing work of cellular webs, it is necessary to blow all the seams with compressed air to remove dust and particle material that has got inside.
And most importantly. Before cutting polycarbonate with an electric jigsaw or angle grinder, you need to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from microparticles and dust. And one more thing. You always need to remember the popular wisdom, which says that before you cut it off, you need to measure seven times. This will help save both money and time.