How can i cut acrylic lighting panels and get a clean edge?
Dlominac, good question, and one that I get asked at my store all the time. I'm Ray the Hammer and I am also a blacksmith. What does that have to do with acrylic light panels you ask? Well, I've made some lamps and wall sconces that have used acrylic panels in them instead of glass. Getting a clean cut requires more than just scoring the acrylic and trying to snap it off, that does work, but the failure rate is pretty high.
Investing in some new tools is going to be necessary, and I'll give you three options.
First, I would look at a jig saw, there are many available in several price ranges, so you can get one that won't break the bank and will still do the job, since it is the blade that is more important. Get a fine tooth metal blade with the correct shank for your saw (T or U, it will tell you somewhere in the manual), start the saw and slowly work your way along your cut line. Let the saw do the work and take your time, there is no need to force the cut, and you'll get a nice clean cut. You will need to figure out the best way to hold or place the acrylic, maybe over the edge of the table, and have a friend hold the piece with you. One more trick is to put masking tape where you are cutting, this will help avoid breaking at the cut line, and on the bottom of the saw to avoid scratching the surface. Now, why a metal cutting blade? It has more teeth and you'll get a nice, smooth cut with no tear-out on the backside.
Dremel offers two tools that will make this a simple task, but they are up around the hundred dollar range. One is the Dremel Trio. It comes with a plunge cut "blade" that looks like a drill bit. You simply plunge the bit into the acrylic, like a drill, and follow your line, this is nice for curves also. The Dremel 4000 is the other option. It comes with the attachments you need in the kit to make it a plunge cut saw, just like the Trio, only you hold it differently. You can buy a cheaper Dremel kit, but you will then need to purchase the plunge cut attachment separately, making the price come up to the 4000's price by the time your done. Go into a Home Depot near you and someone in the hardware dept. can show you the new toys I've told you about here, and answer any other questions,
or you can ask them on our forum. I've put some pictures below as a reference
I hope this has helped you out
Ray the Hammer
This sounds doable even by a nocive like me. However, just in case I can't manage it - does Home Depot custom cut acrylic lighting panels. I need a weird size (3 x 4).