How To Cut Polycarbonate Correctly
“How to cut polycarbonate without assistance”
This will show you how to cut polycarbonate without assistance.
To trim cellular polycarbonate up to 6 mm thick at home, you can use a construction knife. The only and main condition is that the tool must be sharp, of high quality and have a sufficient number of spare blades.
The incision is made in two stages:
- Place the tip of the knife at the starting point, and click on it to make a notch. Make a small cut along the line markings slowly and accurately.
- Along the cut, the knife is repeated, gently inserting the material inside and cutting it. In this case, the blade must be strictly perpendicular to the plane of the sheet.
Work requires special attention without haste and fuss.
When you may need to cut polycarbonate
In terms of technical parameters, polycarbonate surpasses glass in hardness. At the same time, it is safe (it does not crumble into fragments if damaged), much cheaper, lighter and more durable than glass. It was these characteristics that allowed polycarbonate to successfully replace glass.
Its scope is varied:
- Glazing of urban infrastructure (bus stops, posters, street lamps, billboards, etc.);
- Office partitions;
- As a roof for summer cottages, terraces;
- Showers in sports clubs;
- When dividing the common space of an apartment into zones;
- When constructing greenhouses and greenhouses made of polycarbonate.
Depending on the area of application, this modern material is available in two types:
- Cellular (cellular). Lightweight, flexible, durable;
- Monolithic polycarbonate, which differs from the first in that it has a greater weight, but at the same time is able to withstand heavy loads.
How and what is better to cut polycarbonate at home
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The angle grinder is convenient for sawing large lengths of polycarbonate sheets. We recommend using cutting wheels for metal (better for working with aluminum). On the desktop, place several wooden supports along the edges, put a sheet on them.
Angle grinder is perfect for cutting long polycarbonate sheets
Rules for working with an angle grinder:
- Before starting to cut, test the tool on a small, unnecessary piece of polycarbonate. This “rehearsal” is especially needed for beginners.
- Don’t forget about personal protective equipment.
- Turn on the machine at the minimum rotation speed and align the cut-off wheel with the start of cutting at the edge of the sheet.
- Slowly and confidently start the circle forward on the intended mowing line. Do not be distracted while cutting and constantly check the alignment of the mowing line with the markings.
- Turn off the angle grinder after cutting. Sand the edges of the cellular polycarbonate with sandpaper, then blow with a vacuum cleaner to remove dust. Remove the protective film by gluing the ends with tape.
Polycarbonate also differs in that it is very convenient and easy to work with. Even a beginner at home can handle cutting this material. Here are some tips to help you cope with cutting correctly and without loss:
- When making small straight cuts of a 4–6 mm thick blade, a sharp construction knife will do. It is better to cut on straight long lines with an angle grinder. Rounded parts are cut with a jigsaw.
- Always wear personal protective equipment when working with power tools. Wear goggles to protect your eyes from fine dust. Rubber gloves protect against accidental electric shock.
- If necessary, apply markings on large sheets of polycarbonate, lay long boards on top that extend beyond the sheet. You can move along them like on a bridge without causing damage in the form of dents.
- After finishing work, remove the protective film, blow with an electric pump all the processed seams on the received parts to get rid of dust, and cover them with special protective profiles. Do not remove the film from the polycarbonate sheets while cutting
What is cut polycarbonate
A feature of polycarbonate is the fact that in order to cut it at home, you can use any construction tool.
In this case, the following is perfect:
- Clerical or construction knife;
- Electric jigsaw;
- Angle grinder (angle grinder);
- A circular saw;
- Hacksaw designed for metal work.
If we consider industrial equipment, then you can use a milling machine, which has numerical control and a special laser of several types.
It is worth considering the fact that there are a number of construction tools with which, in no case, should you cut polycarbonate. This is due to the fact that there is a high probability of damage to the sheet, as a result of which the quality will suffer greatly.
Many experts recommend refraining from using:
- A hacksaw designed for woodworking. As you know, such a model has rather large teeth, so that the material is not cut, but torn during operation. Ultimately, the cut will have a large number of cracks, nicks and burrs.
- Construction scissors or metal scissors. This option is perfect for thin monolithic polycarbonate. Cellular polymer material will be deformed on both sides.
Choose the right tool before cutting polycarbonate.
How to cut polycarbonate at home
How to cut polycarbonate at home with a knife
Many people believe that it is better to cut polycarbonate with a knife, since this tool is considered the most affordable, while it is suitable for both honeycomb and monolithic material. Regardless of what type of knife will be used at home, in order to cut polycarbonate, the blade must be sharpened well in any case. It is important to take into account the fact that a dull knife will leave a large number of burrs and irregularities on the building material.
It should be understood that cutting material at home using a construction knife will be much more difficult and longer than using an electric jigsaw or an angle grinder. Also, the inconvenience lies in the fact that the knife is great for sheets of a small area and the polycarbonate should have a thickness of 6 to 8 mm, no more.
The step-by-step algorithm of the work carried out is as follows:
- The first step is to prepare a site for work at home. It is important to properly prepare the place and apply the markings.
- Many experts recommend trying the knife on that part of the polycarbonate that will not be used in the future for the construction of the structure. This is necessary in order to check how sharp the knife is and whether it is convenient for them to cut. If necessary, the blade can be replaced or sharpened.
- A thick ruler made of metal is applied to the applied mowing line of the cut. If this tool is absent, then you can use a building level or a flat wooden board.
- Attach a knife blade from the end of the cut line. If you plan to cut thick polycarbonate at home, then the tool should be in a perpendicular position relative to the plane of the sheet. For thin materials, the angle of inclination can vary from 30 to 45 degrees. A knife is inserted as accurately as possible into the end of the sheet, thereby making a notch.
- The knife must be guided from the left notch along the cut mowing line. In order not to disturb the cutting, it is recommended to use a ruler when working at home.
It is important to keep the cutting speed as low as possible. In this case, the most important thing is to be accurate. The knife should not go beyond the line outlined with a marker, otherwise it will not work perfectly to cut the sheet. Do not be afraid to leave too much, if necessary, all this can be cut off quite easily.
How to properly cut polycarbonate with a hacksaw
Very often, in order to cut polycarbonate, a hacksaw is used, designed for working on metal and having small and frequent teeth. This option allows you to cut the building material into square or rectangular pieces. If we compare the process of work, then it is necessary to cut polycarbonate according to the same step-by-step algorithm as when working with a construction knife.
Before you start cutting polycarbonate sheets at home, many experts recommend that you first take into account some of the nuances, among which the following points should be noted:
- When cutting, the hacksaw should be located at an angle of 30 degrees;
- If there is a workbench or a clamp, it is recommended to securely fix the polycarbonate sheets, which will greatly facilitate the cutting process.
It is worth cutting the material as carefully as possible so as not only not to damage the sheet, but also not to injure yourself.
How to cut solid polycarbonate
If necessary, you can carry out the process of cutting monolithic polycarbonate at home. A circular saw with small teeth is perfect for these purposes. In order not only to cut polymeric material, but also to achieve the best possible result, many experts recommend giving preference to teeth that are equipped with special solid inserts. Thanks to this approach, it is possible to prevent unwanted material heating. If you plan to cut a sheet with a thickness of up to 2 mm, then in this case it is recommended to cut from 10 polycarbonate sheets at the same time. As practice shows, cutting several sheets at the same time is much easier and more convenient than one.
It is important to understand that if you cut a single polycarbonate sheet of small thickness, then the material may crack during operation. In this case, it is best to use a guillotine cutter, but this method also has a significant drawback. The cut edges will turn out to be rough. If necessary, you can use a band saw up to 2 cm wide.
Laser cutting of polycarbonate
If there is an urgent need to cut polycarbonate to size, then in this case you can use a laser. As practice shows, thanks to the use of an industrial laser, it is possible to cut polycarbonate sheets as quickly, accurately and efficiently as possible at home. If you combine modern technology and numerical control, the cutting accuracy will be carried out up to 0.5 mm.
However, it is important to understand that such convenience of working at home, in addition to high technical characteristics, also has a high cost, as a result of which not everyone can afford this equipment. It is impractical to use expensive professional equipment at a time. It is a completely different matter if you plan to open a workshop that will specialize in the manufacture of polycarbonate greenhouses, roofs, fences and lightweight canopies. In addition, if work experience and certain skills were not required in the previous versions, then in this case it is impossible to do without it, besides, self-study at home will not be crowned with success.
In addition to the listed methods, you can also cut with a laser. But, to work with a laser machine, you need to have the appropriate skills. In addition, not every craftsman has such a tool, therefore, laser cutting of polycarbonate is available only to those who deal with polycarbonate professionally. But, if there is an opportunity to perform the work with a laser, you must definitely use it, since this guarantees:
- High speed of work;
- Lack of defects;
- Excellent cutting quality;
- Cutting accuracy: when working with a laser, the dimensional accuracy is maintained up to 0.05 mm;
- No need to fix sheets during work.
Any cutting material intended for work on metal or wood can be applied to the blades of solid polycarbonate, even a standard cutter for metal.
Beginners are usually interested in: is it possible to cut and how to cut honeycomb polycarbonate with a hacksaw or a hand saw? Work best with power tools. But both beginners and experienced professionals must definitely fix polycarbonate sheets well in order to prevent vibration and stress in the material, which is also fraught with bad consequences.
A household, most ordinary electric jigsaw is also quite suitable for working with polycarbonate sheets, only you need to install a file with fine teeth on it, otherwise the material will tear, not cut. This tool, like the angle grinder, is quite easy to use, but to be completely confident in the quality of work, it is advisable to also practice in advance. An electric jigsaw is very much in demand, especially when you have to cut monolithic polycarbonate of complex decorative shapes or make roundings.
When it is necessary 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 perfectly acceptable. The main thing is that the tool used does not violate the structure of the canvases.
The very first tool that almost everyone has and that can work with polycarbonate is an angle grinder. over, it is not at all 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 set the circle 125, intended for metal. The only thing you need to pay attention to is experience, since the tool is distinguished by high revolutions, and if you did not have to work with it before, it is advisable to practice on scraps from this material before cutting polycarbonate. Where can I get them? Contact the craftsmen who are engaged in the manufacture of polycarbonate structures.
Perfectly cuts polymer plastic canvases and a 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 carried out in a hurry. The blade of such tools is very sharp and you can not only make an incorrect cut, but also hurt yourself. The stationery knife is suitable for honeycomb sheets with a thickness of 4-6 mm, but with 8 mm it is already quite difficult to work with. On thicker sheets, cutting polycarbonate is almost impossible, so experts recommend using a knife only where you need to trim the material, and even then, on sheets up to 10 mm.
And the third tool that I often use is a stationery knife, preferably of good quality. With him, I think, any beginner in this business can handle. The main thing is not to rush when working with a knife, since the blades of this tool are very sharp and you can easily get hurt.
With a stationery knife, of course, you can easily cut cellular polycarbonates 4-6 mm, slightly more difficult polycarbonate 8 mm. By the way, I would not recommend cutting thick polycarbonate with a knife. There is a good chance that the panels could be damaged. Perhaps, I use a knife in cases where it is necessary to cut a small section of the sheet, so to speak, adjust it to size.
Saw or scissors
Some craftsmen, as a rule, also use a file and scissors. Perhaps you can use this improvised inventory for cutting polycarbonate. If only it does not violate the structure of polycarbonate and does not affect the correctness of the technology of its installation.
So, than cutting polycarbonate, I think we figured it out, let’s now look at how to do it.
The best way to cut polycarbonate. How to cut polycarbonate and how to do it correctly
How and how to cut polycarbonate? This question is asked by almost every second visitor to our site. Let’s take a look at what tools and skills are needed for this.
Over the years working with a beautiful material called polycarbonate, I have certainly tried different tools to cut it. And today I would like to highlight a few of them especially valuable and frequently used.
Earlier I already wrote about how to cut a sheet of polycarbonate. And at the time of this writing, I used exactly the tools that I indicated in it. But time, like technology, does not stand still. Of course, I had to try quite a few tools. And today, I will tell you about more reliable tools and methods for cutting polycarbonate.
Cut polycarbonate with a jigsaw?
The second tool is a jigsaw. The most common household jigsaw. The file on it should be with fine teeth, so that the carbonate is cut and not torn. This tool is easy to use and does not require special training skills. But still, for greater confidence, you can also pre-train. They can cut polycarbonate in places where the angle grinder will be difficult to do.
For example, using a jigsaw is very convenient to cut fillets or cut complex decorative shapes. For even cuts, I do not recommend using a jigsaw as it takes more time to cut than an angle grinder.
So, the first tool is an angle grinder. Yes, yes, this is not a typo. Of course, I use an angle grinder, under the 125th circle for metal, in order to cut polycarbonate evenly. That is, in order to make any even cut, I recommend using a small angle grinder. Even the cheapest will do. It withstands the load on sawing sheets with interest.
The only thing that is required is a little skill in working with this tool, since it is a highly revolving tool and if you use it inexperienced, you can ruin the sheet. It is advisable to pre-train on some polycarbonate waste. You can find waste from any master who is engaged in the installation of polycarbonate.