How To Cut Cellular Polycarbonate

Angle Grinder

The angle grinder is convenient for sawing large lengths of polycarbonate sheets. We recommend using cutting wheels for metal (better for working with aluminum). On the desktop, place several wooden supports along the edges, put a sheet on them.

How To Cut Cellular Polycarbonate

The angle grinder is ideal for cutting long polycarbonate sheets

Rules for working with an angle grinder:

  • Before starting to cut, test the tool on a small, unnecessary piece of polycarbonate. This "rehearsal" is especially needed for beginners.
  • Don’t forget about personal protective equipment.
  • Turn on the machine at the minimum rotation speed and align the cut-off wheel with the start of cutting at the edge of the sheet.
  • Slowly and confidently start the circle forward on the intended mowing line. Do not be distracted while cutting and constantly check the alignment of the mowing line with the markings.
  • Turn off the angle grinder after cutting. Sand the edges of the cellular polycarbonate with sandpaper, then blow with a vacuum cleaner to remove dust. Remove the protective film by gluing the ends with tape.

Jigsaw

The jigsaw will do an excellent job of cutting straight lines as well as other complex configurations. The main challenge is to choose the right file for cutting:

  • For cutting cellular polycarbonate, it is better to purchase a file with straight teeth. It is able to crumble less material and makes the cut as smooth as possible.
  • Choose files with fine and fine teeth. For cutting cellular polycarbonate, files with TP marking (from 9 or more teeth per 1 inch) are suitable.
  • Give preference to the canvas that is of high quality and suitable for working with metal-plastic.

Sawing polycarbonate sheets with a jigsaw requires experience, practice on small sheets of material

The basic rules when working with a jigsaw are as follows (before work, we advise you to practice on the remnants of the material):

  • The work table is ready for use, the corresponding blade is inserted and securely fixed in the jigsaw. For convenience, make a small notch on the polycarbonate sheet with a knife.
  • Turn on the tool, wait until it picks up speed, and bring the blade to the notch, slowly guiding the clipper forward. While pressing the tool, make sure that the polycarbonate sheet does not bend.
  • When working with large sheets of material, it is better to use the services of an assistant. It will hold the polycarbonate in place, preventing the sheet from vibrating. Working with long canvases can be divided into two stages: first, go through the cut to the middle, and then repeat the movement towards the opposite side.
  • After finishing work with the jigsaw, do all the steps that are described above when working with an angle grinder.

Construction knife

To trim cellular polycarbonate up to 6 mm thick at home, you can use a construction knife. The only and main condition is that the tool must be sharp, of high quality and have a sufficient number of spare blades.

The incision is made in two stages:

  • Place the tip of the knife at the starting point, and click on it to make a notch. Make a small cut along the line markings slowly and accurately.
  • Along the cut, the knife is repeated, gently inserting the material inside and cutting it. In this case, the blade must be strictly perpendicular to the plane of the sheet.

Work requires special attention without haste and fuss.

When you may need to cut polycarbonate

In terms of technical parameters, polycarbonate surpasses glass in hardness. At the same time, it is safe (it does not crumble into fragments if damaged), much cheaper, lighter and more durable than glass. It was these characteristics that allowed polycarbonate to successfully replace glass.

Its scope is varied:

  • Glazing of urban infrastructure (transport stops, posters, lights, billboards, etc.);
  • Office partitions;
  • As a roof for summer cottages, terraces;
  • Shower equipment in sports clubs;
  • When dividing the common space of an apartment into zones;
  • When constructing greenhouses and greenhouses made of polycarbonate.

Depending on the area of ​​application, this modern material is available in two types:

  • Cellular (cellular). lightweight, flexible, durable;
  • Monolithic polycarbonate, which differs from the first in that it has a greater weight, but at the same time is able to withstand heavy loads.

Hacksaw

Beginners should do a lot of practice before using a hacksaw to cut polycarbonate. Without experience, sheets tend to crack along the mowing line of the cut and lead to large losses of material. Here it is important to correctly and competently fasten the sheet, avoiding excessive stress and vibration.

Sawing polycarbonate sheets with a hacksaw is a very difficult task, since it has a number of nuances

Training

Layout and cutting of polycarbonate sheet begins with preparation of the workplace. It is important that the working surface is perfectly clean, as the surface of the canvas can damage and scratch even a tiny pebble. Then follow these simple rules:

  • Do not remove the protective film from the sheets ahead of time. On it with a marker or felt-tip pen, mowing lines are easily marked. The film will protect the surface from mechanical stress during operation.
  • Putting the sheet on the work surface, use a marker to transfer the dimensions of the required part to it according to the drawing.
  • After applying the markings, once again make sure that it is applied correctly and use the tool of your choice to start cutting the sheet.
  • When cutting with a power tool, the panel must be securely fastened to avoid vibration. Before starting cutting polycarbonate, prepare the workplace

How to cut polycarbonate at home

How to cut polycarbonate at home with a knife

Many people believe that it is better to cut polycarbonate with a knife, since this tool is considered the most affordable, while it is suitable for both honeycomb and monolithic material. Regardless of what type of knife will be used at home, in order to cut polycarbonate, the blade must be sharpened well in any case. It is important to take into account the fact that a dull knife will leave a large number of burrs and irregularities on the building material.

It should be understood that cutting material at home using a construction knife will be much more difficult and longer than using an electric jigsaw or an angle grinder. Also, the inconvenience lies in the fact that the knife is great for sheets of a small area and the polycarbonate should have a thickness of 6 to 8 mm, no more.

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The step-by-step algorithm of the work carried out is as follows:

  • The first step is to prepare a site for work at home. It is important to properly prepare the place and apply the markings.
  • Many experts recommend trying the knife on that part of the polycarbonate that will not be used in the future for the construction of the structure. This is necessary in order to check how sharp the knife is and whether it is convenient for them to cut. If necessary, the blade can be replaced or sharpened.
  • A thick ruler made of metal is applied to the applied mowing line of the cut. If this tool is absent, then you can use a building level or a flat wooden board.
  • Attach a knife blade from the end of the cut line. If you plan to cut thick polycarbonate at home, then the tool should be in a perpendicular position relative to the plane of the sheet. For thin materials, the angle of inclination can vary from 30 to 45 degrees. A knife is inserted as accurately as possible into the end of the sheet, thereby making a notch.
  • The knife must be guided from the left notch along the cut mowing line. In order not to disturb the cutting, it is recommended to use a ruler when working at home.

It is important to keep the cutting speed as low as possible. In this case, the most important thing is to be accurate. The knife should not go beyond the line outlined with a marker, otherwise it will not work perfectly to cut the sheet. Do not be afraid to leave too much, if necessary, all this can be cut off quite easily.

What is cut polycarbonate

A feature of polycarbonate is the fact that in order to cut it at home, you can use any construction tool.

In this case, the following is perfect:

  • Stationery or construction knife;
  • Electric jigsaw;
  • Angle grinder (angle grinder);
  • A circular saw;
  • A hacksaw designed for metal work.

If we consider industrial equipment, then you can use a milling machine, which has numerical control and a special laser of several types.

It is worth considering the fact that there are a number of construction tools with which, in no case, should you cut polycarbonate. This is due to the fact that there is a high probability of damage to the sheet, as a result of which the quality will suffer greatly.

Many experts recommend refraining from using:

  • A hacksaw designed for woodworking. as you know, such a model has rather large teeth, so that the material is not cut, but torn during operation. Ultimately, the cut will have a large number of cracks, nicks and burrs.
  • Construction scissors or metal scissors. this option is perfect for thin monolithic polycarbonate. Cellular polymer material will be deformed on both sides.

Choose the right tool before cutting polycarbonate.

Tips & Tricks

When cutting solid or cellular polycarbonate, it is necessary to adhere to some very important recommendations, as a result of which the finished result will surpass all expectations:

  • Before you start cutting building material at home, it is recommended to first prepare the surface on which all work will be carried out. this is due to the fact that if the material lies on a foreign object or debris, then there is a high probability that it will be damaged;
  • When using electrical tools, it is always worth remembering personal safety measures, as a result of which protective glasses must be used and certain skills in working with the device must be available;
  • Using a jigsaw or an angle grinder requires a special support that is placed under the polycarbonate sheets;
  • For convenience, appropriate markings are made on the material and only after that it is cut.

It is worth doing the work according to a step-by-step algorithm.

If necessary, you can see exactly how the process of cutting polycarbonate on.

Preparation and marking of sheets

Before you start cutting polycarbonate for a greenhouse or any other structure, you must first carry out preparatory work and make the appropriate markings on the material.

The first step is to completely clean the place where you plan to cut the polymer material. All debris and unnecessary items must be removed. This is necessary not for reasons of cleanliness, but so that during work nothing distracts from the process. After the surface is prepared, it is necessary to put a sheet of plywood or fiberboard on it. Only then can the cutting place be considered as flat as possible.

It is worth putting a sheet of polycarbonate on the workplace. In the event that the material has a laminated surface, a mirror or a special coating, then this side should look up. Until the material is cut, the protective film must remain in place.

The preliminary marking should initially be applied to a blank sheet of paper as a diagram with respect to scale. After that, you will need to transfer all the markup from the paper sheet to polycarbonate. For measurements at home, it is best to use a tape measure or a metal ruler. For marking, use a black marker. If you plan to work with large polycarbonate, then many experts recommend putting a board on the polymer material with a width of 10 cm and moving only along it. This approach will eliminate damage to polycarbonate.

In the place where it is planned to cut the sheet, it is required to put wooden boards about 4 cm high and 10 cm wide on the right and left sides of the cut mowing line.In this case, the ends of the boards must necessarily look out from both sides of the polymer material.

Movement should be carried out on the board in the same way as at the time of drawing the corresponding markings. This is the only way not to damage the material, carrying out all the work at home.

Laser cutting of polycarbonate

If there is an urgent need to cut polycarbonate to size, then in this case you can use a laser. As practice shows, thanks to the use of an industrial laser, it is possible to cut polycarbonate sheets as quickly, accurately and efficiently as possible at home. If you combine modern technology and numerical control, the cutting accuracy will be carried out up to 0.5 mm.

However, it is important to understand that such convenience of working at home, in addition to high technical characteristics, also has a high cost, as a result of which not everyone can afford this equipment. It is impractical to use expensive professional equipment at a time. It is a completely different matter if you plan to open a workshop that will specialize in the manufacture of polycarbonate greenhouses, roofs, fences and lightweight canopies. In addition, if work experience and certain skills were not required in the previous versions, then in this case it is impossible to do without it, besides, self-study at home will not be crowned with success.

Stationery knife

Perfectly cuts polymer plastic canvases and a stationery knife. over, even beginners can cope with this. The main thing is that the knife is of good quality, and the work is not carried out in a hurry. the blade of such tools is very sharp and you can not only make an incorrect cut, but also hurt yourself. The stationery knife is suitable for honeycomb sheets with a thickness of 4-6 mm, but with 8 mm it is already quite difficult to work with. On thicker sheets, cutting polycarbonate is almost impossible, so experts recommend using a knife only where you need to trim the material, and even then, on sheets up to 10 mm.

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Hacksaw

Beginners are usually interested in: is it possible to cut and how to cut honeycomb polycarbonate with a hacksaw or a hand saw? Work best with power tools. But both beginners and experienced professionals must definitely fix polycarbonate sheets well in order to prevent vibration and stress in the material, which is also fraught with bad consequences.

Angle Grinder

The very first tool that almost everyone has and that can work with polycarbonate is an angle grinder. over, it is not at all necessary to use an expensive tool: even an inexpensive and small angle grinder will do all the work perfectly. To make even cuts, you need to set the circle 125, intended for metal. The only thing you need to pay attention to is experience, since the tool is distinguished by high revolutions, and if you did not have to work with it before, it is advisable to practice on scraps from this material before cutting polycarbonate. Where can I get them? Contact the craftsmen who are engaged in the manufacture of polycarbonate structures.

How and how to cut polycarbonate at home?

Cloths of polymer plastic, more familiar to everyone under the name polycarbonate, are becoming more and more popular every day. And it is no coincidence: the relative cheapness and excellent properties of the material brought it to one of the first places in sales. It is also of great importance that almost anyone can work with it, if there is a desire. But since this is a relatively new material, not everyone knows how to correctly and how to cut polycarbonate at home in order to get a high-quality cut and not spoil the material.

Electric jigsaw

A household, most ordinary electric jigsaw is also quite suitable for working with polycarbonate sheets, only you need to install a file with fine teeth on it, otherwise the material will tear, not cut. This tool, like the angle grinder, is quite easy to use, but to be completely confident in the quality of work, it is advisable to also practice in advance. An electric jigsaw is very much in demand, especially when you have to cut monolithic polycarbonate of complex decorative shapes or make roundings.

When it is necessary to cut only one sheet, the risk of cracking increases significantly. To prevent damage to the material, you need to work only with a very well sharpened tool. There are craftsmen who use scissors when working with polycarbonate. This is also perfectly acceptable. The main thing is that the tool used does not violate the structure of the canvases.

Instruments

Preparatory stage

First of all, you should prepare a design project by calculating the dimensions of each glazing element. It is recommended to take into account the dimensions of the material (they are standard) to minimize the amount of waste. If the elements are curved, prepare the appropriate patterns from thick paper or cardboard. When preparing material for an arched greenhouse, special attention is paid to end elements with a semicircular top.

Preparation and markup:

  • The site where it is planned to cut polycarbonate plates is cleaned of debris, leveled, covered with sheet material. plywood, chipboard, etc.
  • A polycarbonate sheet is placed on a flat solid surface, if the material has a special layer that protects the material from aging under the influence of UV rays, pay attention to the side markings. the sheet should lie with a protective layer up. Material with a mirror or laminated coating is laid similarly. The film, which protects polycarbonate from mechanical stress during transportation and fastening, is not removed until the end of installation work. Protective film on the sheet
  • Marking is carried out according to the project, using a black marker and a metal (or wooden) ruler, tape measure, ready-made cardboard patterns.

In order not to damage a polycarbonate sheet of a large area during the marking, a board with a width of 100 mm and a length of about 2 thousand mm is laid on top, and only step on it. This eliminates the risk of material deformation, scratches on the surface.

For the convenience of cutting polycarbonate to size, and in order not to damage the surface of the material, on both sides of the mowing line, two parallel boards 40 × 100 × 2200 mm are placed under the polycarbonate. they should raise the panel in the area where it will be cut. Using a board backing

Circular saw application

The circular saw must be equipped with a fine-toothed working blade. use blades that are designed to work with plastic or metal. To cut a solid or honeycomb panel, proceed in the same way as with an angle grinder. First let the tool speed up, then cut the panel raised with the two boards, moving the tool away from you. Press the tool base plate against the sheet. this will help to more accurately cut the material along the drawn contour.

How and how to cut cellular and monolithic polycarbonate at home

Polycarbonate is widely used as a reliable and practical translucent material for decorative glazing of construction sites and other structures, for installing canopies and roofs, arranging greenhouses and greenhouses. Monolithic and honeycomb material lends itself to processing with ordinary tools, which increases its popularity among owners of estates and summer cottages. Before building a carport, gazebo roof or greenhouse, it is important to figure out how to cut polycarbonate at home so as not to damage the material.

Cutting Tools for Polycarbonate Sheets

Jigsaw cutting

The most suitable tool for cutting polycarbonate into elements of complex shapes is an electric jigsaw. A tool equipped with a thin file is safer and more convenient to use in comparison with an angle grinder and circular saw, while the speed and labor intensity of cutting is significantly different for the better relative to working with a knife. It is allowed to cut monolithic and cellular polycarbonate with an electric jigsaw.

Using a jigsaw for cutting

When choosing a file, pay attention to the shape of the teeth. The set tines are for wood, they will tear the polycarbonate, making the cut edges defective. To make cuts with smooth edges without burrs or cracks, use a file with fine, straight or wavy teeth.

For cutting a monolith or a honeycomb panel made of polycarbonate, a file for metal, plexiglass or plastic with a TPI (number of teeth per inch of length) of at least 9. Best of all. from 13 or more is ideal. The more teeth, the better the cut quality.

Acrylic file for working with polycarbonate

For work, a sharp new blade is required. It must be properly seated in the tool and adjusted, otherwise there will be a lot of burrs and notches around the edges when cutting the material.

  • The jigsaw is connected to the network and brought to the start of cutting at the end of the sheet. Previously, a notch is made there with a sharp knife.
  • The base plate of the power tool is lowered onto the sheet and pressed. In this case, you must not press hard, bending the material. It is recommended to pre-rigidly fix the cut panel with clamps or invite assistants to fix the polycarbonate, dampen its vibration during cutting.
  • The jigsaw is turned on, the file is given the desired speed. Then carefully guide the tool away from you along the cut line. It is important to proceed slowly, especially carefully when cutting the panel in curved sections. It is recommended to practice in advance on unnecessary material in order to confidently perform curved cuts.
  • At the end of the cut, the tool is turned off and unplugged. The cut-off element is cleaned with a construction knife from irregularities, chips and dust are removed.
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Cutting angle grinder

To cut polycarbonate with an angle grinder, use circles designed for cutting metal. An angle grinder, without fear of melting the edges of the polymer material, will help to cut the panel:

  • The use of a cut-off wheel for working with aluminum (it heats up less with friction);
  • Using an angle grinder with a speed controller (work should be carried out at low speeds, this also reduces the risk of burrs).

Cutting disc for aluminum Ø 125 mm

It is convenient to cut monolithic polycarbonate and honeycomb panels with an angle grinder, including along a curved path. When working, be sure to use safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying chips.

After turning on the power tool, you should wait until it picks up the required rotation speed. Cut the sheet material by moving the angle grinder away from you on the mowing line to be cut. When cutting the panel along the ribs, hold the tool so that the blade runs in a straight line without touching the stiffeners.

Cutting polycarbonate with an angle grinder (angle grinder)

At the end of the work, check the evenness of the cuts, remove the chips and dust trapped in the cells using a blower or vacuum cleaner.

Using a knife

For cutting polycarbonate, a clerical knife is used, in which the blade consists of breakable segments. A construction knife is also suitable, it is more convenient to use thanks to the ergonomic handle. A boot knife can also be used.

This tool is not suitable for solid polycarbonate, because the material is too hard and the work will take a lot of time and effort. It is convenient to cut honeycomb sheets of small thickness with a knife. no more than 6-8 mm.

Check the sharpness of the blade on unnecessary cuttings before opening the panels. If necessary, sharpen the boot knife or remove the blunt elements of the retractable blade. Use a straight cutter or metal ruler to cut straight mowing lines. The knife blade should be at an angle to the surface. the thicker the material, the closer the angle to the right.

Cut polycarbonate with a knife

First, an incision is made at the end, then, without removing the blade from the notch, they slowly lead it along the mowing line of the marking towards themselves. Irregularities and random extra fragments are removed after the element is cut from the slab. If the polycarbonate material is not cut in one go, repeat the process in the same way. It is impossible to bend, break the sheet, otherwise its edges will be severely deformed.

If you need to cut sheets of a large area, it is better to choose a tool that will provide higher productivity. In this case, a knife will be required in any case to remove burrs and trim irregularities, adjusting the glazing element exactly to the specified dimensions.

How to cut polycarbonate and how to do it correctly

How and how to cut polycarbonate? This question is asked by almost every second visitor to our site. Let’s take a look at what tools and skills are needed for this.

Over the years working with a beautiful material called polycarbonate, I have certainly tried different tools to cut it. And today I would like to highlight a few of them especially valuable and frequently used.

Earlier I already wrote about how to cut a sheet of polycarbonate. And at the time of this writing, I used exactly the tools that I indicated in it. But time, like technology, does not stand still. Of course, I had to try quite a few tools. And today, I will tell you about more reliable tools and methods for cutting polycarbonate.

What is the best way to cut polycarbonate

Angle Grinder

So, the first tool is an angle grinder. Yes, yes, this is not a typo. Of course, I use an angle grinder, under the 125th circle for metal, in order to cut polycarbonate evenly. That is, in order to make any even cut, I recommend using a small angle grinder. Even the cheapest will do. It withstands the load on sawing sheets with interest.

The only thing that is required is a little skill in working with this tool, since it is a highly revolving tool and if you use it inexperienced, you can ruin the sheet. It is advisable to pre-train on some polycarbonate waste. You can find waste from any master who is engaged in the installation of polycarbonate.

Cut polycarbonate with a jigsaw?

The second tool is a jigsaw. The most common household jigsaw. The file on it should be with fine teeth, so that the carbonate is cut and not torn. This tool is easy to use and does not require special training skills. But still, for greater confidence, you can also pre-train. They can cut polycarbonate in places where the angle grinder will be difficult to do.

For example, using a jigsaw is very convenient to cut fillets or cut complex decorative shapes. For even cuts, I do not recommend using a jigsaw as it takes more time to cut than an angle grinder.

Stationery knife

And the third tool that I often use is a stationery knife, preferably of good quality. With him, I think, any beginner in this business can handle. The main thing is not to rush when working with a knife, since the blades of this tool are very sharp and you can easily get hurt.

With a stationery knife, of course, you can easily cut cellular polycarbonates 4-6 mm, slightly more difficult polycarbonate 8 mm. By the way, I would not recommend cutting thick polycarbonate with a knife. There is a good chance that the panels could be damaged. Perhaps, I use a knife in cases where it is necessary to cut a small section of the sheet, so to speak, adjust it to size.

Saw or scissors

Some craftsmen, as a rule, also use a file and scissors. Perhaps you can use this improvised inventory for cutting polycarbonate. If only it does not violate the structure of polycarbonate and does not affect the correctness of the technology of its installation.

So, than cutting polycarbonate, I think we figured it out, let’s now look at how to do it.