How to Cut Plexiglass With a Circular Saw

The correct method to cut plexiglass sheet using circular saw.

One of the most versatile materials ever made by humans is the plexiglass. The plexiglass comes in various colors, though it is transparent. First produced in 1928, the plexiglass was primarily used in submarine periscopes, airplane windscreens, and gun turrets during the Second World War. Nowadays, however, plexiglass is used almost everywhere. 

As a professional craftsman, you will surely deal with plexiglass in some of your woodworking projects. You will indeed cut plexiglass using your circular saw in some of your woodworking tasks. So, you need to know how to cut plexiglass properly using your circular saw to produce smooth and straight cuts on this material.

Steps on Cutting Plexiglass Using Circular Saw

If it is your first time cutting plexiglass using a circular saw, you may be a bit confused about how to do it. If you are desirous of doing it right, you can follow the following valuable steps on how to cut plexiglass using a circular saw:

Step 1: Choose the Right Blade and Prepare the Tools

When cutting plexiglass, you should first know the tools you would use in the cutting process aside from the circular saw. First, you will need to use clamps to affix the sheet to your workbench. You will also need a piece of straight wood, safety gear, and adhesive tape. If you already have these tools, you can then choose the right blade.

Choosing the right blade is crucial to the finish you would like to achieve. If you pick the wrong saw blade, you may end up overheating the saw blade and eventually melting the plastic. 

The ideal blade for plexiglass cutting is a 10″ blade with around 80 teeth. The teeth should have carbide tips. You should also ensure that you got a sharp blade. It should not have any broken teeth likewise. 

The saw blade should also not be bent; otherwise, it will cause binding and kickback. Moreover, you should know the blade’s rake angle. It should have a 5° to 10° rake angle. Make sure also that the blade’s teeth are of the same height. If the teeth show uneven height, you may end up with a rough cut.

Step 2: Ensure that You Use Safety Gear

When cutting plexiglass, the cutting process may generate a high level of noise that could irritate and damage your hearing. So, you need to wear your ear protection gear. Moreover, you must protect your eyes from small pieces and slugs. 

Safety gear will not cost you that much, but it will save you from lots of injuries. So, make sure that you wear your safety gear when you engage in cutting plexiglass.  

You should also check if the safety features of your circular saw are well in place. Ensure that the blade guard is well set and unplug the circular saw when changing the saw blade. You should also look for a circular saw with an electric blade brake feature for additional protection. 

Step 3: Set Up the Plexiglass Sheet on a Flat Surface

You need to set up the plexiglass sheet on a flat surface like a workbench or sawhorse. Ensure that the surface is devoid of dirt and other unnecessary things. You should also clean the plexiglass before cutting. To affix the plexiglass sheet on the workbench, you can use clamp-on vises. In this way, the sheet will not move while you cut.

You should ensure that you got a protective film on the plexiglass surface. Then, trace the cut line on the plexiglass using a marker. It will help to use a ruler for tracing the cut line. Let the waste edge hang freely on the waste edge side. 

Use adhesive tapes on the cut line to prevent splintering of the edges. You can also use a straight edge guide if you are going to cut long straight cuts. In this way, your circular saw will have a guide as it cuts.

Use adhesive tapes on the cut line to prevent splintering of the edges. You can also use a straight edge guide if you are going to cut long straight cuts. In this way, your circular saw will have a guide as it cuts.

Don’t remove the protective film from the plexiglass sheet. This film will protect the plexiglass from scratches. You can remove the protective film afterward by peeling it. You can use a coolant spray on your saw blade before starting to cut the plexiglass.

Step 4: Cutting the Plexiglass

To begin cutting the plexiglass, you can aim the circular saw blade at the plexiglass sheet until the saw gets to full speed. The ideal speed for cutting plexiglass is 3450 RPM. Make sure that the feeding rate is within that range. It should be a slow and smooth cut. Make sure your circular saw reached the 3450 RPM range before feeding it to the plexiglass.

If you push the saw more, it may cause chipping and damage to the plexiglass sheet, causing the chipping off of large pieces. Don’t stop the feeding and cutting; otherwise, the circular saw blade and plexiglass might heat up. If you got dimmer, you could use it to achieve more control over the blade’s speed. 

Make sure that the feeding rate is at 3″ per second. Don’t veer away from that rate to avoid chipping off the edges. If you go slow, the blade will generate excessive heat that may cause the sheet to crack.

Step 5: Refine the Edges After the Cut

Once done with the cutting process, you can apply additional coolant to the surface. Let the glass cool and adequately dry it before you go further. Use hand gloves when proceeding with the next step. Check if the edges of the cut have uneven surfaces. 

You can check for rough edges by turning off the lights. Then, use a high-focus light to check for rough edges. You can smoothen the rough edges by spraying more coolant on these rough edges. Then, use 120-grit sandpaper and wet it with water. Then, rub it on the uneven surface to smoothen it. 

You can also use 600-grit sandpaper for final smoothening. Once you’ve achieved the texture you want, you can use an electric drill and equip it with a buffer element to polish the edges thoroughly. Once done, you can remove the clamps and the vices and keep the plexiglass sheet safely in a suitable place.

Additional Tips When Cutting Plexiglass with a Circular Saw

Once you know the simple steps on how to cut plexiglass using a circular saw, it will also help if you are mindful of the following valuable tips when cutting plexiglass:

  • Do not push the circular saw too much, and don’t cut too slow. Ensure you are within the advisable feeding rate to ensure that no overheating or damage will happen to the plexiglass sheet. The ideal feeding rate is three inches per second. 
  • Ensure that you got a sharp blade that is not bent. It should not have broken teeth likewise. 
  • Ensure that you know the blade’s rake angle. It should be from 5 to 10 degrees.
  •  Don’t forget to use a coolant to prevent overheating. 
  • Avoid stopping while cutting, and don’t allow the blade to rest while in contact with the class. The saw blade may stick to the sheet. 
  • Use blades with even teeth height to avoid damage to the plexiglass sheet. 
  • Ensure that the blade reaches up to 1/2″ below the plexiglass sheet. 
  • You can stack sheets one over the other to cut them together. But make sure that you clamp them together firmly. Use coolant if you are going to cut them together before you cut. 
  • If you are desirous of making curve cuts, you should use a jigsaw instead. With the jigsaw, you can make a curve cut efficiently. 
  • You can cut more sheets of plexiglass at a time if you can stabilize the glass correctly.

Can I Cut Multiple Plexiglass Sheets at One Go?

Well, as mentioned above, you can stack together several sheets of plexiglass and cut them at the same time. You only need to firmly affix them together on a flat surface using clamp-on vises. After setting them up together using clamps, you should use a cooling agent on your blade so that it will not produce so much heat when you cut. You can follow the procedure above to get accurate and fine cuts out of a circular saw.


When cutting plexiglass, you need to ensure that you are working in a well-lit and well-ventilated room. The plexiglass has a protective layer of film. This film protects the plexiglass from scratches, so you don’t need to remove this film when cutting. But you should remove it after cutting. The feed rate is critical to the success of your cutting. So, make sure you stay within the ideal range of feed rate. 

Don’t get impatient when cutting the plexiglass but stick to this recommended feed rate to ensure that the saw blade will not damage the plexiglass. Being mindful of the abovementioned steps will also enable you to achieve a perfect cut along the way.

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