Polycarbonate is a light plastic material that is resistant to heat and electricity. It is characterized by excellent optical transparency and remains stable regardless of the configuration. Polycarbonate is used as an insulator in high-end electrical and electronic installations, in protective windshields, as prescription lenses, to build containers and bottles, for durable and low-cost medical instrumentation. This material is also found on the DVD and CD, as well as in the cases themselves. Knowing how to cut polycarbonate will allow you to use it creatively and innovatively.
Method 1 of 5: With a Sharp Utility Knife
Step 1. Use a sharp blade when processing thin polycarbonate sheets and when accuracy is not important
Some polycarbonate sheets are as thin as paper and are great for covering and protecting areas of the garden
Step 2. Use strong adhesive tape to attach the polycarbonate to a flat surface, do not put the polycarbonate under tension otherwise it will alter the line of the cut
Step 3. Take your measurements and draw the line where you want to cut
You can use masking tape to locate the cut line
Step 4. Cut along the line with the utility knife
Method 2 of 5: With Manual Shears
If the polycarbonate is stiff, brittle, and less than 0.3 cm thick, you can use this method.
Step 1. Use shears in one continuous motion and cut completely along the line you outlined
Step 2. Take your measurements and mark the references on the transparent film that protects the polycarbonate sheet, so you will avoid scratching and damaging it
Method 3 of 5: With the Circular Saw
Step 1. Use a fine notched circular saw to cut polycarbonate thicker than 0.3cm but no further than 1.27cm
Step 2. Have the material rest on a sturdy surface on both sides of the cutting line
Step 3. Measure and mark the cut references
Step 4. Use strong masking tape to outline the cut line
Step 5. Secure the foil to the supporting surface with “C” clamps
Step 6. Let the saw do its job without adding force or pressure
Step 7. Complete all the cut before stopping
Method 4 of 5: With a hacksaw
Step 1. A hacksaw with metal foil allows you to make curved or artistic cuts
Step 2. Secure the polycarbonate to the support surface with “C” clamps
Step 3. Let the blade slide without adding force or pressure
Step 4. Complete the cut before stopping
Method 5 of 5: With the Bench Saw
Step 1. A bench power saw allows you to cut polycarbonate sheets thicker than 1.27 cm
Step 2. Measure and draw the cutting line
Step 3. Outline the cut area with strips of masking tape
Step 4. Fit a fine tooth blade
Step 5. Push the polycarbonate sheet along the cutting table with a firm, continuous motion
If you put too much pressure (or too little) you risk chipping the plastic
Step 6. Complete the cut before stopping
- Fine-toothed blades should avoid rough edges, so always keep them sharp and replace them if necessary; sand the edges with very fine-grained files.
- Polycarbonate sheets are usually covered with a thin film of plastic or paper; do not remove this protection, or you risk that the surface will be damaged by the cutting tools.
- Moisten the blades with light machine oil, in this way they will flow better.
- A fine-toothed hacksaw can cut polycarbonate sheets at least 0.6 cm thick smoothly and accurately if you don't have power tools at your disposal.