September 24, 2021
One tool that you will find helpful in your woodworking is the Dremel rotary tool. You can use it when working with various materials, from wood and metals to plexiglass and fiberglass. It can handle any job easily and efficiently, cutting materials at a very high speed ranging from 10,000 RPM to 35,000 RPM. Hence, using the Dremel, you can quickly cut through plexiglass and still achieve a quality cut.
Plexiglass, of course, is a transparent acrylic sheet that you will often see nowadays in many applications and usages. Its original trademark name is Plexiglas. It was first commercialized in the 1930s and had grown in popularity afterward. So, as a woodworker, there will be instances when you must deal with plexiglass. Of course, one of your best options when cutting plexiglass is the Dremel rotary tools.
Proper Steps For Cutting Plexiglass Using Dremel
If it is your first time using Dremel to cut plexiglass, you may be at a loss as to how to do it. The Dremel is not a complicated tool to use when cutting. All you need to do is follow the following simple steps on how to cut plexiglass using Dremel:
Step 1: Install Cutting Bit
You need to unplug the Dremel before using it. You loosen then the collet and equip it with a 561 multipurpose cutting bit. Afterward, you tighten the collet using the wrench. Then, plug the tool onto the electrical outlet and set it aside for a while.
Step 2: marking the Cut Line on Pixelglass
Make your cut line on the plexiglass by marking it. If you are going to make a straight cut, you should use a straight edge to guide you. Clamp the straight edge to your workpiece to make it immobile. On the other hand, if you would like to cut freehand, you should refrain from using cutting guides.
Step 3: Start Cutting
Set the tool to 6 or 10, and start cutting. You should start with a 45° angle when you cut material. In this way, you can maximize the exposure of the blade to the material. You should complete the cut.
Step 4: Clean Up
Loosen the collet once again and remove the bit from the rotary tool. Clean the cuttings off the tool using an air compressor.
Is Dremel the Most Recommended Way to Cut Plexiglass? And What Are the Other Alternatives?
Many people haven’t even heard of the Dremel. Many also haven’t even used the Dremel to cut plexiglass. Nevertheless, if you know how to use Dremel, you will find it convenient to cut plexiglass. When cutting plexiglass, you can use other hand tools such as the hand saw, jigsaw, and scoring knife. You can likewise use the circular saw to cut plexiglass.
The hand saw is always the go-to tool when cutting plexiglass for many artisans. It is affordable and delivers the cuts you would need to achieve. You can also use the jigsaw to cut plexiglass. It is also an excellent option to avoid binding. However, there is a likelihood of melting when using the jigsaw.
Similarly, if you use the circular saw to cut plexiglass, there is a high likelihood of melting. You can also use a scoring knife to cut plexiglass. A scoring knife is a good option, especially if you are new to cutting plexiglass. It is also the easiest tool to use for such a cutting.
What Are the Safety Advice When Cutting Plexiglass With Dremel?
The plexiglass, of course, is easy to work with compared to other polymers. Despite the widespread usage of plexiglass, some are doubtful about its safety. Plexiglass is an acrylic material. It is different from fiberglass.
When you cut fiberglass, it leaves fiberglass shards that can be painful when these splinters hit you. Acrylic, however, is different from fiberglass because it doesn’t leave dangerous fragments that could be painful when they hit you.
How To Clean Rough Edges on Plexiglass?
Even if you are an experienced cutter, there will indeed come a time that you will end up with a rough edge when cutting plexiglass. Moreso, if you are a newbie. If this happens, you can still save the sheet by smoothening the rough edges.
To smoothen the rough edges, you can use 180-grit sandpaper to sand down the rough edges. Make use of long strokes when sanding and rinse the sandpaper with water when necessary. It will be best to sand down completely the edges to ensure that you even them up.
Once you’ve leveled out the edges, you can then transition to the use of higher-grade sandpaper. You can shift to the use, for example, of 260-grit sandpaper to achieve a polished look to the edges.
Once done with the sanding, you can rinse the edges. Then, feel the plexiglass edges using your finger to figure out if you did an excellent job smoothening the edges. If you’re not yet satisfied with the outcome, you can then redo the process.
When cutting using the Dremel, you will notice that the way you would cut is different from how you would cut using a saw. You need to develop some techniques that could make the cutting process easy and precise. Here are some tips that you can be mindful of when cutting plexiglass using Dremel:
- Before cutting using the Dremel, you should ensure that you secure the sheet to your tabletop or workbench. Measure it well and make sure that you make a highly visible cut line. Let the portion you would cut hang off the workbench side.
- When cutting, you should not exert too much force to drive the Dremel. If you force the issue, you may end up with bad cuts. Moreover, you may even end up cracking the sheet. Just let the Dremel do its thing and steer it lightly to achieve a straight cut.
- You should also check if there is a need to change the Dremel bit between cuts. You should change bits if you got a lot of cutting to do. Check if the bit has become blunt or dull, for a flat blade can become a safety hazard likewise.
- Make sure that you have water on standby. When cutting metal, there is no risk of melting when using the Dremel. But when cutting plexiglass, there is a likelihood of overheating and melting. So, you need to spray it regularly with water to keep the surface cool.
Dremel is an Australian company that Albert J. Dremel founded in 1932. In 1993, Robert Bosch Tool Corporation bought Dremel. However, at present, the company rolls out six rotary tools. As a tool, Dremel rotary tools rely heavily on high speed instead of high torque. By inserting a burr or an appropriate bit into the device, you can drill, grind, sharpen, cut, clean, sand, polish, and carve.
So, Dremel rotary tools are innovative tools that can come in handy for different woodworking applications. When cutting plexiglass using Dremel rotary tools, you only need to follow the abovementioned steps, and you are good to go. Likewise, you must follow the safety tips when using rotary tools like Dremel because any miscalculation can lead to nasty cuts and injuries.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.