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Can You Cut Plexiglass with a Jigsaw? (Read This First!)

Glasses are commonly used on the windows, skylights and different panels of the house to allow light to enter into our house as well as provide us with a view to the outside. 

However, due to the brittle nature of the glass – it is often replaced with plexiglass, which provides the same features but at a much higher strength. In this extract below, you will learn how to handle a plexiglass.

Can you cut plexiglass with a jigsaw?

You can easily cut plexiglass with a jigsaw blade to give it a professional looking cut. In order to do so, you would need an uncoated, fine-toothed sheet metal jigsaw blade to cut the plexiglass. With the help of a clamp-on guide, run the blade on the plexiglass to give the shape that you desire.

Plexiglass is a transparent thermoplastic material that is manufactured in sheet form. Despite being lightweight, it is tough and can withstand impacts at a much greater strength compared to glass. 

It also has a higher environmental stability compared to other plastics – making it suitable for use outdoors. 

Besides that, its transparency and durability makes it an amazing alternative to glass – which made it a prime candidate for a wide range of applications and used as a component for many sophisticated devices and architectures. 

Its transparency allowed it to be used as a substitute for glass and are often used in large aquariums where the water pressure is immense, as well as in submarine viewports where there is a great pressure difference between the interior and the exterior.

Even police riot control vehicles use plexiglass due to its high impact tolerance. 

Apart from these, plexiglass is also commonly used in aircraft windows, lenses in lighthouses and even in the medical sector in sophisticated medical equipment.

But from an architectural perspective, plexiglass is commonly used in windows and skylights due to their transparency, strength and resistance to harsh weather conditions. 

They are also used in many locations around the house, such as in bathroom shower frames and in furniture – such as shelves or tabletops.

Since plexiglass is such a useful material, it is an ideal choice for making furniture or other structures as well. In order to do so, you need to give it the desired shape with the help of a jigsaw blade. 

An uncoated, fine-toothed jigsaw blade can help you cut the plexiglass in a shape and size that you desire without much complications – jigsaw blades such as DeWalt’s 32 TPI are a good choice for such work.

What kind of jigsaw blade do you use to cut plexiglass?

It is important that you choose the right kind of jigsaw blade, otherwise the plexiglass structure could be ruined and you will end up with an unsatisfactory result.  

If the jigsaw blade has lower Teeth-per-inch (TPI), then the blade will only chew up the plexiglass and fail to produce a fine cut. A fine and shallow blade is the perfect choice for you to achieve a smooth cut on the plexiglass.

A jigsaw blade with a TPI around 10 is good enough to get the job done well. 

And if you choose to opt for other options, you can use sharp hollow ground wood blades as well – but make sure that your blade teeths are not too fine as it may cause the plexiglass to melt and the teeth to get clogged.

2 reasons why you can cut plexiglass with a jigsaw

Since there is a narrow specification as to which jigsaw you should use to cut a plexiglass, it is vital that you know the reason why they are suitable for use:

The blade cuts within the temperature limit:

Plexiglasses have a melting point around 320 degrees, but you might wonder how is it connected to the blade selection? The answer is friction – blades generate heat as you cut any object, in this case – plexiglass. 

And the jigsaw blade does not generate enough heat to melt the plexiglass without having to compromise on its performance. 

The blade can cut both in straight and curved lines:

Besides the temperature factor, a blade must be versatile enough to give you precise results and shape that you desire – whether it be straight or curved. 

Therefore, the jigsaw blade has an edge in this case as it can be used to cut the plexiglass both in straight and curved lines regardless of their size.

Can I use a metal jigsaw blade to cut plexiglass?

There are many tools and options available out there which allows you to cut plexiglass in a shape that you desire – jigsaw blade is one of the popular tools that is often used to cut plexiglass. 

Compared to other tools, metal jigsaw blades work very efficiently and effectively to cut plexiglass because it doesn’t generate heat that is too much to melt.

When using a metal jigsaw blade, the blade heats up due to friction to reach high temperatures. 

But the temperature they reach is not high enough to cause plexiglass to melt, plexiglass has a melting temperature of 320 degrees but the heat from friction does not reach that high – so you can use a jigsaw blade to cut plexiglass. 

Jigsaw blade can also be used to cut plexiglass due to its versatility in cutting plexiglass in both curved and straight lines, 

What is the easiest way to cut plexiglass?

There are many ways to cut plexiglass with different types of tools such as utility knives or circular saw. 

Utility knives such as box cutters or glass cutters allows you to cut plexiglass with great control to make precise cuts where as circular saw such as saber saw, jigsaw or table saw give you a much powerful cut – allowing you to reshape plexiglass in a short duration.

It is easy to cut plexiglass with both methods but which tool is more appropriate depends on your specific demand. If your structure requires delicate and detailed designs, then you should choose utility knives to give you precise and detailed cuts. But if your structure is less defined and needs to be done quickly – circular saw is your best bet.

How to cut plexiglass with a jigsaw?

Follow the steps below to properly cut plexiglass with a jigsaw:

Prepare the plexiglass to be cut:

Before you start the cutting process, you need to prepare the plexiglass and place it firmly so that it does not wobble when you start cutting. Put the plexiglass sheet on a table or a workbench and then clip the sheet to the bench and make sure it does not move.

Do the measurement and mark:

Use a ruler or yardstick or any measurement tool that is convenient to measure the length of the plexiglass you wish to cut and use a grease pen to cut the outline of the shape. 

Next, use a painter’s tape to cover the cut line by sticking the tape directly over it and then remeasure to mark another cut line over the painter’s tape.

Cut the plexiglass with the jigsaw blade:

Once the markings are complete, place the jigsaw blade at the edge of the cutting line and turn it on. Start cutting the plexiglass slowly and after cutting through a few centimeters, the blade will cut through more smoothly so make sure you don’t press too hard.

How to cut a circle in plexiglass with a jigsaw?

Plexiglass can be cut in a circular shape as well with a jigsaw blade, the procedure of doing so is detailed below:

Clamp the plexiglass in place:

To ensure a precise and smooth cut out from the plexiglass, ensure its stability by placing it in a flat workbench and to hold it in place – sandwich the plexiglass between two pieces of wood or plywood and firmly tighten them with clamps.

Mark a circle with a cutter:

Next, take the measurement of the circle you wish to cut out and use a circular cutter to mark and cut a circular shape onto the plexiglass.

Cut along your marking:

Once the markings are done, hold the jigsaw blade against one edge and start the blade. Keep cutting the plexiglass till you have achieved an almost precise cut out.

Polish and smoothen:

Finally, use a sandpaper to smoothen the edges and make the cut out as circular as possible and make the surface smoothened and rounded.

Final Thoughts

A jigsaw blade may readily be used to cut plexiglass for a professional-looking cut. To cut the plexiglass, you’ll need an uncoated, fine-toothed sheet metal jigsaw blade. Run the blade along the plexiglass with the assistance of a clamp-on guide to create the desired shape.