What to cut a monolithic polycarbonate in the home conditions

Features and characteristics of monolithic polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is a solid, colorless material composed of carbonic acid and two atomic alcohols. In appearance it is similar to plastic, but has a very original set of characteristics. At absolute transparency and viscosity it is very strong and temperature resistant.

Due to the presence of such properties, polycarbonate is incredibly popular among builders and is most often used as a worthy alternative to glass. At home it is used mainly for the external design of greenhouses, gazebos and greenhouses.

Polycarbonate material is very lightweight and yet surprisingly strong. It is also quite flexible and resistant to adverse external factors, as well as chemicals. Presented in two types of products: a honeycomb and monolithic. The latter is characterized by great weight and is quite capable of withstanding considerable mechanical stress.

monolithic, polycarbonate, home, conditions

The main tools and methods of cutting cellular polycarbonate

The main advantage of this almost unique material is its impact strength, due to which it can be used for the following needs:

  • Construction of protective fences and awnings;
  • construction of roads and related infrastructure, such as transport stops;
  • the device billboards, etc.

Quality features include:

  • Transparency of monolithic polycarbonate. It is reached by the maximum light transmittance factor through the sheet of 90%, which almost exactly repeats the transparency properties of glass.
  • Providing excellent soundproofing.
  • Relatively light weight is almost half the weight of glass or aluminum.
  • Easy installation.
  • There are no difficulties in processing sheets that have the ability to bend both in cold and heated condition. Cutting this polycarbonate is also not very difficult.
  • Resistant to all weather conditions and even harmful environmental influences, which guarantees a long service life.
  • High thermal insulation qualities.
  • In addition to natural, natural effects, the ability to withstand exposure and most inorganic compounds and chemicals.
  • Fire and heat resistance, which allows the construction of monolithic polycarbonate light diffusers, lampshades for street lamps and lamps located indoors.

Tools for cutting

For cutting monolithic polycarbonate you can, in principle, use any tool designed to work with wood or metal. You can use one of the following tools:

  • A box cutter. A good model will help cut large sheets of polycarbonate very well, but it will take a lot of time. Perform the work quickly and efficiently will only work if the thickness of the material allows it. So, polycarbonate with a thickness of about 4-6 mm can be done even by beginners. If it has a thickness of about 8 mm, to work with it can only be a person with sufficient experience in construction.
  • Jigsaw. Suitable for complex work, such as giving the polycarbonate a beautiful decorative shape, roundings, etc. You can cut it properly with an electric jigsaw with a fine-toothed bit.
  • angle grinder. This is a simple and reliable tool. Even a small and inexpensive model will help you make a quality and fast cutting process. The only thing you need in order to properly cut polycarbonate is experience with an angle grinder. If you do not have enough experience with such a tool, it is better to practice with a piece of plastic beforehand.
  • Laser cutting. Perhaps one of the best tools for working with polymer materials due to the positive features: fast cutting speed, the highest quality and clear cut, exceptionally low probability of defects, ease of cutting the material.
  • Saws. Any circular saw is good for cutting polycarbonate. When working with the saw it is important to remember and observe some subtleties: the teeth should be small and wide, the material should be better fixed on the workbench, the protective polycarbonate coating should be removed after the end of the process of cutting the material.
  • Milling. Such equipment is only suitable for monolithic polycarbonate. With its help the speed of work becomes very high, and the cut can easily be made at any angle.

Attention! When using an electric jigsaw it is necessary to work with several sheets of polycarbonate at once. Under the material it is necessary to put a cardboard base: it will prevent the possibility of cracking.

Cutting polycarbonate at home

Recently, in many construction operations polycarbonate has replaced a heavy, fragile and relatively expensive silicate glass. This practical and affordable material is used for decorative glazing, the construction of elements of urban infrastructure, the construction of greenhouses and hothouses, the construction of the roof of pergolas, sheds or terraces. Durability and reliability of the construction depend on the observance of technology of processing and correctness of installation. A frequent reason for the rejection of the material during the work is improper cutting of the sheets, so inexperienced masters are part of the question of how and what to cut polycarbonate, so as not to damage the panel. In this article, we will tell you what tools can be used for processing, and how to use them correctly.

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angle grinder

The most effective tool with which you can cut a sheet of polycarbonate plastic is the usual angle grinder. Since this material, especially honeycomb, is quite easy to handle, even the cheapest Chinese models will cope with the cutting. Experienced craftsmen note that it is better to perform straight cuts of great length with an angle grinder. To cut polycarbonate with this tool on the curve is possible, but it requires a lot of experience. In order not to spoil the material when cutting, it is necessary to observe the following rules:

  • To cut sheets of this material, use an angle grinder with a cutting wheel for metal with sharp, frequent teeth.
  • When cutting sheets of polycarbonate plastic is better to use an angle grinder at low speed to get an even cut, and the edges of the material without burrs.
  • If you want to cut polycarbonate honeycomb, the cutting wheel of the angle grinder can be placed strictly between the ribs.

Note! Angle grinder refers to high-speed tools, to work with it without experience is difficult enough. In order to properly perform the cut and not to damage the material, you can practice on the remnants of polycarbonate.

How To Cut Polycarbonate Sheets, Cutting Twinwall Polycarbonate, Home D.I.Y

Jigsaw

Another tool that can be used to cut polycarbonate, is a household electric jigsaw. It is considered a universal device for sawing materials of different density and thickness. The jigsaw blade is fixed on one side only and can be used to cut holes and curved cuts in polycarbonate. To use this tool, a few rules must be followed:

  • To process sheets of polycarbonate plastic use a jigsaw, the cutting blades which have fine teeth.
  • To ensure that the edges of polycarbonate after sawing is flat, it is necessary to use a new, sharp cutting blade.
  • To obtain a smooth, neat cut, you can use a cutting blade for metal, which does not tear the polycarbonate, but cuts.
  • When processing thick monolithic plastic with the jigsaw a lot of chips are produced that must be promptly removed so they do not interfere with the sawing process.

Important! Professional craftsmen only make curved, curved cuts with an electric jigsaw, as it takes much longer to saw in a straight line than with an angle grinder.

Stationery knife

At home, polycarbonate can be cut with a regular office knife. With the help of this tool more often work the cellular plastic, which has a cellular structure. Monolithic polycarbonate is not cut with a knife, as it is too hard. To get a straight cut, it is best to adhere to the following technique:

  • To cut a sheet of polycarbonate plastic requires a high-quality, sharp office knife.
  • Polycarbonate with a clerks cut in 2 steps: first, make a small cut so that the tool will not slip, and then carefully finish cutting the material.
  • A clerical knife is used to cut polycarbonate honeycomb not more than 4-6 mm thick.

Please note that with a box cutter perform a shallow trim and fit sheets of plastic, as they make cuts of great lengths for a long time and inconveniently. An ordinary box cutter can quickly become blunt or break.

Cutting technology

When cutting polycarbonate plastic panels, it is easy to damage the material or spoil the edges of the sheet, violating the technology. Experienced craftsmen advise not to save on blades and cutting blades of the tool, as a blunt knife makes the cut uneven and sloppy. Cutting is carried out in the following sequence:

  • First of all, cleared the area where the sawing will be carried out. To make the surface flat, sheets of plywood or chipboard are laid on it.
  • Before cutting polycarbonate, the surface is marked with a marker and a long ruler.
  • Under the sheet of plastic on both sides of the planned mowing line underlay wooden bars with a thickness of at least 40 mm. A wide board, used for moving, is also laid on top along the marking.
  • Straight cuts are made with an angle grinder on low speed, and curved cuts with a jigsaw.
  • When the work is complete, the shavings are blown off the surface of the material with compressed air.

Please note! Cellular plastic with a thickness of up to 6 mm can be cut by stacking several sheets on top of each other and placing plywood under them. In industrial applications this material is machined with a laser, which is much faster and easier than using a hand tool.

How to properly cut?

After making the markings, you can start cutting polycarbonate. The cut of the cast board at home is not difficult to do. Much more seriously need to treat the processing of cellular polycarbonate. Today there are several ways of cutting polymer plastic, involving the use of different tools. Each option has certain advantages and disadvantages. That’s why before you start work, you need to get acquainted with each specific tool and choose the most appropriate way.

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Cutting with a knife

Many people are convinced that the office knife is the ideal tool for cutting polycarbonate at home. The main thing is that the blade should be as sharp as possible. It is recommended to make its replacement before the work.

Of course, cutting polycarbonate with a construction knife can not be called a simple job. Much easier to use an electric jigsaw or angle grinder. Another inconvenience. the knife can be used on small pieces of material.

Further it is offered to get acquainted with the step-by-step instruction of carrying out cutting works with the knife blade.

  • It is necessary to prepare the site, make a marking on the sheet.
  • Make a test cut on part of the polycarbonate sheet. In this way, the sharpness of the knife is checked.
  • A ruler or level is attached to the sawing line.
  • The blade is installed on the end side. The knife is introduced into the end part, creating a notch. Next, the blade is guided along the mowing line of the cut. It is strictly forbidden to hurry, otherwise the knife will go beyond the marking.

In practice it has been found that a construction knife is ideal for the cut. A cutter from a stationery store is also not bad, but it gets blunt very quickly.

Cutting with the electric jigsaw

The best analogue of the construction knife and angle grinder.

  • The process of cutting polycarbonate with an electric jigsaw begins with the standard preparation of the workplace. When inserting the jigsaw into the base of the jigsaw, make sure that it is securely fastened.
  • The device is plugged in, then brought to the end side of the polycarbonate sheet, according to the markings made. If it is necessary to create a wave-shaped mowing line, it is best to practice on other materials beforehand.
  • When you have finished, you need to unplug the jigsaw and get rid of the plastic shavings. If there are extra elements left on the edge of the polycarbonate, they should be cut off with a stationery knife.

Cutting with an angle grinder

Angle grinder. a handy tool that allows for a short period of time to cut the ends of a large sheet of polycarbonate. For work it is necessary to take a disk for metal. The power tool itself should operate at low speed, which minimizes the possibility of melting the plastic base material.

The following is an introduction to cutting technique with an angle grinder.

  • It is necessary to prepare the work surface. Place the scaffolding.
  • Then turn on the angle grinder, dial the necessary speed. Then the metal disk is brought to the marking. It is important to move the device carefully, constantly monitor the position of the disk, so it went straight ahead.
  • When you have finished cutting, it is necessary to unplug the angle grinder from the socket. If the cellular material was processed, plastic shavings should be shaken out of the voids.

Cutting with a hacksaw

To cut polycarbonate, you can use a hacksaw for metal. This tool helps to cut the material into parts of different shapes. The work process itself is largely similar to cutting with a construction knife, but you need to take into account some nuances:

  • the hacksaw must be at a 30 degree angle at all times;
  • To create more comfortable conditions for work, you should use a workbench that allows you to fix the sheet in a vise.

Laser cutting

This method of cutting is mainly used in industrial environment. Only a highly qualified specialist who knows the technology of the process can work with this tool. However, today you can buy laser equipment for home use.

Thanks to the combination of modern technology and software control precision cutting has a maximum error of 0.5 mm.

Therefore, the products are obtained ideal in size. But, unfortunately, not everyone can afford to purchase laser equipment. It is very expensive, and there is no point in spending such a large sum of money for one-time use. For this reason, users who need to make shaped cuts, give a sheet of polycarbonate and design a picture in a specialized workshop, where the professionals set up the equipment and translate the idea of the customer into reality.

The most important feature of laser cutting, which connoisseurs of fine beauty turn to, is the smooth lines and accurate reproduction of the designed image or ornament.

How to cut correctly?

Experts before you cut polycarbonate, preliminarily prepare the workplace well. Necessary:

  • Remove all foreign objects from the site: branches, pieces of strips and boards, even small stones. Ideally. the place should be clean. This is necessary to ensure that the cloth polycarbonate are not left with dents, scratches and other damages. The best way to pave the work site sheets of chipboard, fibreboard, or other suitable material for this purpose.
  • Use a marker and a long ruler or other object on the panels to mark. If you have to move on the boards during this work, it is necessary to lay a wide plank and walk only on it, so that no dents appear on the polymer surface.
  • Before you perform the cutting of polycarbonate to size, you must under both sides of the marker made marker boards, which should not be less than 4 × 10 × 220 cm. On top of the cloth in the same places are again laid planks and only then it is possible to move on them.
  • If the cut is made on a flat mowing line. you can work with an angle grinder, rounded details pass with an electric jigsaw, and if you need to make a slight trim. a stationery knife will do.
  • If the work is performed on the material with a laminated or mirrored surface, it is very important to place the cloth on the workplace correctly: laminated or mirrored coating should be turned upwards. What is better to saw polycarbonate of this type?The same tools as for other types of material, but it is not allowed to use a hacksaw: mirrored or laminated layers can peel off.
  • When working with honeycomb polymer plastic, if the cut is made along the length of the sheet, you can not perform marking: honeycomb will serve as a guide. Thanks to this it will be possible not even to walk on the surface of the material.
  • After completing the sawing work of the honeycomb panels it is necessary to blow out all the seams with compressed air to remove dust and chip material that got inside.
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And most importantly. before you cut polycarbonate with an electric jigsaw or angle grinder, you must wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from micro-particles and dust. And one more thing. you should always remember the folk wisdom that says that before you cut, you should measure seven times. this will help save both money and time.

We cut cellular polycarbonate only on a secure, solid and flat base that has only one slit. Its width should be 5.10 mm more than the width of the saw blade or saw. this is the main rule! No lattice decking, which is convenient, for example, when cutting steel sheet, can be used. Also required:

  • A sharp construction knife with a maximum depth of 1 2 mm more than the thickness of the polycarbonate sheet;
  • Vacuum cleaner, to remove residual material from the honeycomb;
  • Power tool (jigsaw, angle grinder);
  • A measuring ruler or a bar with a flat surface;
  • Reliable and heavy pressure with a smooth surface (otherwise you should put under it a sheet of cardboard, plywood or wattman).

What and how to cut. basic recommendations

Carrying out the cutting of polycarbonate, it is worth doing these actions:

  • The work area must be clean and free of any debris. This will avoid the appearance of cracks, dents and deformation. For convenience, you can put under a sheet of polycarbonate gypsum board, particle board or fiberboard.
  • Before you start cutting polycarbonate, you need to make a marker on the polycarbonate, which will be clearly visible.
  • In cases where in the future it will be necessary to move on the sheet polycarbonate, on top of it need to lay a board deck, which will allow you to distribute the load. Then no dents or cracks will appear on the material.
  • You have to cut from the laminated or mirror surfaces. Do not remove the protective film before completing the work as well.
  • After the cutting of the material is complete, from the surface of the sheet to remove waste and dust, as well as shake out the debris from the cells.

If you need to drill polycarbonate, you will need standard drill bits for metal. Even a beginner can do it.

Pay attention to only a few nuances:

  • You need to make holes in the gaps between the ribs;
  • From the edge of the sheet you need to step back at least 4 cm, so that a piece of plate does not break off.

The need for proper cutting of polycarbonate

In the process of any work is almost always necessary to cut the polycarbonate to fit it to the size of the structure. It is desirable to perform this procedure correctly the first time. this will save you time and effort in the first place.

If cut improperly, the material can be damaged, deformed, making it impossible to use in the future. And since the cheap polycarbonate can not be called by any means, the cost is very tangible.