Cutting Polycarbonate
#11
  
I am considering using some polycarbonate for windows in a chicken coop.

Can it be cut with a table saw and/or a rail saw and if yes what would be the best type of blade to use?
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#12
  Re: Cutting Polycarbonate by sroxberg (I am considering usi...)
I cut 6 (1/4") and 8mm (5/16") polycarbonate all the time, using a plain old combination blade, on tablesaw, bandsaw, even using a handheld jigsaw.
In my experience, polycarbonate doesn't get hot and melt as easily as acrylic, but I always keep a firm grip, and keep it moving, just be on the safe side.
There are blades and drills made special, but I'm not cutting it all day long, like a commercial plastic supplier.
BTW, if you need to polish the edges, MEK, on a rag, wiped on the edge, will give it a nice look. Just wear gloves, MEK is nasty stuff.
Good luck
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#13
  Re: Cutting Polycarbonate by sroxberg (I am considering usi...)
Just last week I cut down a 1/4" x 4' x 8' sheet of plexiglass on the table saw. I used a 40 tooth combo blade and put masking tape on both sides of the cut. The cut came out nice, with no chips or cracks. I first used a jigsaw to cut the sheet down to manageable size. 48 x 48. Then down to the needed size on the table saw.
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#14
  Re: Cutting Polycarbonate by sroxberg (I am considering usi...)
1/4" polycarbonate cuts easily on the table saw.  I used that was in my saw, which was a Freud 30 tooth GLR blade.  Worked just fine.
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#15
  Re: Cutting Polycarbonate by sroxberg (I am considering usi...)
  • I have had good luck using a (carbide tipped) 7 1/4 inch circ saw blade in the table saw.  Supporting the material with some MDF can make life easier as well. 
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#16
  Re: Cutting Polycarbonate by sroxberg (I am considering usi...)
Single strength (0.100" thick) acrylic can easily be cut by making deep scores with a utility knife on both sides and snapping it. 

You would not need anything thicker for that application, even though it might feel flimsy.

Avoid polystyrene sheets as they shatter easily and scratch really easily.

You can find acrylic glazing in smaller sizes at very good prices for the picture framing industry.  You can find it pre-cut to 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 and some sources will have up to 16 x 20.

If the smaller sizes work you might not have to do any cutting at all.  They generally ship in lots of 10 or more.

Shop around because there are some bargain vendors:  https://www.google.com/search?client=fir...plexiglass
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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#17
  Re: Cutting Polycarbonate by sroxberg (I am considering usi...)
I recommend a "triple chip grind" for cutting polycarbonate. For drilling, take a twist drill and flatten the cutting edge to give a neutral cutting angle otherwise it might grab as it breaks thru and crack the material.
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#18
  Re: Cutting Polycarbonate by sroxberg (I am considering usi...)
I cut plastic siding using a plywood blade (all steel) with the blade mounted backwards.  It made very clean cuts with no chipping. 

I have not tried this on plexiglass however.

I rode in a New York City taxi and the barrier between the driver and the passenger compartment was clearly cut using a milling machine or a router and a template.  The slight rippling of the surface was a giveaway.

A router may spin too fast for this however and may cause melting if the feed rate is not fast enough.
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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#19
  Re: RE: Cutting Polycarbonate by Cooler (I cut plastic siding...)
Acrylic (Plexiglass) is not the same as polycarbonate.  It's like the difference between basswood and hickory. 

Pat Warner, who is gone now, used to cut and machine these beautifully, and someone here may recall his recommendations for blade and routing procedures.  They used to be on his website, but it's gone now too.
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#20
  Re: RE: Cutting Polycarbonate by Alan S (Acrylic (Plexiglass)...)
(04-22-2020, 09:04 AM)Alan S Wrote: Acrylic (Plexiglass) is not the same as polycarbonate. 
I agree.  The linked article gives details on the differences.

https://www.acplasticsinc.com/informatio...ycarbonate

Acrylic and polycarbonate sheeting have a number of differing characteristics. These two types of plastics are oftentimes compared to one another because they are similar in appearance and the most frequently utilized see-through plastic materials on the market. Both have benefits and drawbacks. Generally speaking, acrylic sheeting is shinier and polycarbonate sheet is stronger. Acrylic and polycarbonate both weigh less than half of what a comparably sized piece of glass weighs yet they are both much stronger than glass. Both materials are also very easy to clean.

Below, we break down the pros and cons of each and provide some common applications for each type of plastic.


Key differences:

Acrylic plastic properties include:
  • Less expensive than glass and polycarbonate
Polycarbonate plastic qualities include:
  • 250x the impact resistance of glass and 30x stronger than acrylic
I would note that Perspex and Plexiglas (acrylics) were used for plane windshields in WWII until the advent of polycarbonate.  So it is pretty strong.
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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