How to cut Lexan using different tools (And which one is the best for this task)

If you need to cut Lexan, you can use any power tool to cut a piece of this plexiglass material to the size that you need. The best way to cut it is by using a laser cutter. But it’s very expensive for most of us DIYers. You’ll achieve very good results if you use a tool such as a circular saw or table saw as well. Use a blade with small teeth in order to achieve a smoother cut.

Continue reading for more interesting and helpful information!

But first, for those of you who never used this material before…

how to cut lexan

What is Lexan?

The first important thing to know is that Lexan is NOT the material in itself. Lexan is a brand name. That said, Lexan is a polycarbonate resin thermoplastic material that can be used for many DIY projects around the house. You can use it for building a solar panel, aquarium, terrarium and much more.

What is the best way to cut Lexan?

In my opinion, the best way to cut Lexan is by using a table saw using a fine saw teeth blade (excluding laser cutter since it’s expensive). Using other tools might work but the risk of breaking the Lexan it’s high.
Plus the cut will not be very accurate. Especially if you need to cut Lexan in a straight line.

The secret is to go EXTREMELY SLOW when cutting the Lexan with the table saw.

Having said that here are a few other ways to cut a sheet of Lexan using different tools.

Safety First: Tools and other gear you might need for this task

  • Safety Gear

    • Safety goggles
    • Safety gloves
    • Earing protection
    • Mask
  • Tools

    • Utility knife
    • Blades
    • Table saw
    • Fine teeth blade
    • Router
    • Router bit
    • Spray bottle
    • Fine grit sandpaper
    • Dremel
    • Dremel bit

Cut a sheet of Lexan using different tools


1. How to cut Lexan with a utility knife

a utility knife used to cut lexanIf you’re wondering how to cut a sheet of Lexan by hand, using a utility knife with a brand new blade can do the job. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. And how long the cuts are.

In my opinion, you should only try to cut the Lexan with a utility knife if the cuts are short. Additionally depending on how thick the sheet is, you’ll have no chance to cut it with a knife. It’s a very strong material.

  • Place the sheet of Lexan on a straight and sturdy surface. (a table or a bench)
  • Make sure you secure properly the Lexan sheet to the surface in order to avoid movements
  • Then start cutting the Lexan sheet along the scored line. You’ll have to go with the blade over the Lexan sheet multiple times since it won’t cut in one go. (make sure you have more than one blade. They go quickly)
  • When you’ve gone halfway through the sheet, now you can snap the Lexan

How to cut a thin Lexan sheet?

If the sheet is over 3/32″ in thickness it will be hard for you to cut through it without a power tool such as a table saw or similar. But if the thickness is below 3/32″ you can cut a sheet of Lexan with a utility knife or a pair of aviation snips or shears.

PROS:
  • You don’t need expensive tools

CONS:
  • It takes time and effort
  • The cut might not be very precise
  • Blades are going quickly


2. Can you cut Lexan with a router?

a router tool used to cut lexan

Yes. You can cut Lexan with a router. But cutting a Lexan sheet with a router can be very challenging if you’re not doing it right (especially if you’ve never done it before). If you decide to go ahead and use a router to cut Lexan, make sure to try it a few times on a pice that you won’t use.

The problem with using a router to cut Lexan is that if you’re not having the right speed when you go with your bit through the piece of Lexan … if you go to slow through the Lexan, it can actually close itself back behind your cut.

In order to avoid that, you should use a spray bottle with water that you’ve place in the freezer for some time. Don’t let it freeze. Just let it get ice cold.

How to cut the Lexan sheet with the router

    1. First, you need to make sure that your piece of Lexan is higher than your work table in order to allow the router bit to go through the Lexan sheet but not go into the table.
    2. Clamp the Lexan to the table to avoid movements.
    3. Draw a straight line on the Lexan sheet. That will be your guide to follow with the router.
    4. Time to set up the router. The blade we’re going to use it’s a 2 flute carbide router bit. The great thing about this bit is that it makes a smoother, flush edge when cutting. Additionally, it reduces vibration.
    5. Set up the router speed to the lowest possible. (Again, very important! Do this step a few times on a piece of Lexan that you won’t need) Speed is the secret here!
    6. Start moving your router nice and steady along the line you drew. Once you’re, moving doesn’t stop and spend too much time into one spot. We don’t want to heat up the material. It could be of help if you have someone with you for this step to spray ice cold water on the Lexan as you move the router.
    7. To achieve a good finish, once the Lexan has been cut according to your needs, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out the edges.
PROS:
  • Can achieve a good looking finish if done right
  • Good alternative to any power saw

CONS:
  • It could easily go wrong if you don’t get the speed of execution right


3. How to cut Lexan with a Dremel

a dremel used to cut lexanIf you’re wondering if you can cut Lexan with a Dremel, the answer is yes. You can. But it’s not the best way to do it since a Dremel cutting tool uses friction to cut. And wherever there’s friction, there is heat which is bad for the Lexan since it can melt.

And if you really have to cut Lexan with a Dremel, my suggestion is to cut off a bit more of your measurements and use some fine-grit sandpaper to reduce it to your exact measurements.

So here are a few simple steps to cut plexiglass with a Dremel

  1. Connect the right bit to your Dremel (cutting wheel)
  2. Mark your plexiglass with a permanent marker
  3. Start cutting at a 45-degree angle and go very slow

It’s as simple as that. Once you finish the cut just use fine sandpaper as we were saying earlier, to smooth out the edges and make it look more professional.

PROS:
  • A Dremel is cheap to buy

CONS:
  • It can melt the plexiglass easily and ruin your Lexan sheet


Conclusion on using tools to cut plexiglass

There are many other ways people have tried cutting Lexan. But the ones above are the most “famous” ones if you want.

To reiterate, the best way to cut Lexan is with a laser cutter. I’m sure you don’t have one lying around the house. Having said that, the best way to do it is to use a table saw or circular saw with a fine teethed blade.

Hello everyone. I’m Adrian, I’ve been working in the construction industry for the last 7 years or so … doing all sort of jobs from handyman to crane operating and everything in between :) I am a blogger as well at ninjaDIY.com … where I talk about anything related to construction, building, power tools, DIY home improvement and much more.

Your comments are welcome!

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