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Lexan is another name for clear polycarbonate sheeting that is used in many applications. While it is a common material, many people struggle to learn how to cut Lexan. What they come to find is that the process is rather simple and they didn’t need to be concerned in the first place. That’s why we created this step-by-step guide on how to cut Lexan.
Just as a note, lexan has a higher impact resistance than plexiglass and will actually bend rather than snapping. It is definitely the stronger of the two (although it will scratch more easily.) Plexiglass is also less costly, which is what makes it a very popular material to use.
What is Lexan?
Lexan is a common material used in many home or construction projects. You’ll find it around the
house in your aquarium or safety-windows. Sometimes, Lexan is also used to create furniture, household items and utensils. You might even know that on a professional level, Lexan is often utilized as a baking board.
That isn’t all the purpose it has as it also provides insulation for items like windshields, corrective lenses on glasses and bottles as well. This lightweight, plastic or polycarbonate resin has high levels of optical clarity and durability. On top of that, the material is cheap and less fragile than others.
How to Cut Lexan: Step-by-Step Guide
To maximize your usage of this versatile material, you want to learn how to cut Lexan. Cutting Lexan with most any saw is possible. Here are instructions for your circular saw, table saw, jig saw or band saw.
Circular Saw Instructions
Using your blade that is carbide-tipped, ensure that your tooth spacing is a half-inch or less when using a circular saw to cut Lexan. They should also have alternating 45-degree bevels in order to effectively reduce unnecessary chipping.
Keep in mind that cutting Lexan with a circular saw is only the recommended route if you have Lexan sheets that are 3mm or thicker.
Lay your Lexan sheet flat on your workbench. Place the off-cut over the edge. Score your cut line on the material with a knife. Make sure you use a straightedge to effectively guide your knife.
Start your circular saw and let it reach full speed. You don’t ever want to cut Lexan with the saw at lower speeds. Proceed to cut the line without forcing the saw. Working naturally lowers your risk of having large chunks gouged from the Lexan material.
Continue to make your cut until you reach the end of the sheet. Ensure that the off-cut falls freely.
Table Saw Instructions
If you choose to use a table saw, make sure it has a carbide-tipped blade as well. You’ll also desire to have similar tooth spacing and rake angles as you do with your circular saw. Push the Lexan sheet through the table saw at a moderately quick rate.
If you push it through too slowly, the blade could overheat and melt your plastic material.
Jig Saw or Band Saw Instructions
If you want to cut curves in the Lexan, use a jig saw or band saw. With either of these tools, you need to use a metal-cutting blade with a tooth spacing of two to four millimeters.
Remember to clamp down your sheet securely when you cut with a jig saw. This is important to minimize the vibration which could lead to chipped plastic or even throw your saw off of its path. It’s also best to operate your saw at its low or medium speed.
If you choose to use a band saw to cut, make sure you secure it properly as well. Clamp the Lexan to a wood piece to add stabilization if needed. Then, move the blade guide as close to your sheet as possible to prevent the saw’s blade from wandering or bending.
For more tips and tricks on how to cut Lexan, be sure to reference this informative video:
Tips for Painting Lexan
Those who are interested in learning how to cut Lexan also seem to want to learn the proper way to paint it. While this could be an article all by itself, here are a few quick tips to help you out.
- Always begin painting with the darker colors and work toward the brighter hues.
- Heat up your paint first. Warmer paints evaporate faster once they land on the surface. This reduces the risk of bleeding or running.
- Apply a fine layer of paint to seal your masking tape. Then, run along the critical edge of the tape with your thumbnail.
- Place the painted Lexan in an area that is warm. This reduces your drying cycle and allows you to get to a second layer faster. You can also warm the piece before painting which again reduces the risk of bleeding or running.
- If you have made a painting mistake, you can scratch a small portion off with an Exacto knife. Be aware that this area will be matte now, but that shouldn’t matter much if you are painting it.
- You can use a small paintbrush to do touchup work on Lexan. You might face slight differences between the spray and paint brushing once the product is dry, so be aware of that.
Whatever your purpose for using this versatile material, you now know how to cut Lexan effectively. Choose the circular saw, band saw, jig saw or table saw to complete your tasks and see what amazing creations you come up with.