How to Cut Hard Plastic Without Breaking It

Do you have a project that involves cutting plastic? Then you are in the right place. Plastic is a popular and versatile material in most households. Therefore, whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, you need to have the skills to achieve clean and precise cuts from the plastic materials.

It is frustrating how easy it is to break hard plastic when you are only trying to cut it. Cutting it is not much different from cutting any other material like wood. However, with plastic, you risk melting it when using high-speed tools. Making high-quality cuts depends on the proper tools and techniques.

Furthermore, the best way of cutting hard plastic depends on the type and size of plastic you need to cut. Besides, it also depends on the kind of cuts you want to make. It does not matter how creative you are or your preference for doing work. Achieving a clean-cut requires you to follow the right procedure, failure to which you risk ruining your entire project. Here is a guideline to help you cut hard plastic without breaking it.

Sawing Plastic

The use of saw is a good option when you are tackling thick plastic. There are various types of saw that can cut the material without breaking it. However, avoid using large-toothed saws as they might chip the plastic and make rough edges. Use fine-toothed blades for smooth cuts. The type of saw you can use include; circular saw, hacksaw and jigsaw.

The hacksaw

This tool being lightweight and small, it is easy to use with only one hand. It is a good option since it does not use any power that can melt the plastic. Here are the steps to follow:

  • First, place a new plastic blade on the hacksaw and secure it properly.
  • Put your plastic on a stable work table and use clamps to firmly hold it down. This will prevent it from moving when you are cutting it.
  • Using your dominant hand, hold the hacksaw. Use your other hand for guiding the saw towards the right direction
  • Start by making small cuts, though it might be difficult at first due to the slippery nature of plastic. Use back and forth motion to cut the plastic.

Tip: Using fine small teeth blades make clean and precise cuts without too much work. Also, use eye protection when cutting plastic material.

Circular saw

It is the most versatile saw in its uses.

  • The first step is to replace the wood cutting blade with a plastic cutting circular blade.
  • Place your plastic sheet on a stable workbench and tightly secure it.
  • Next, connect the saw to a power source and wait for it to gain speed.
  • Then push your material slowly towards the blade. Continue pushing until the plastic is all cut.

Note: Because the blade uses high speed, it produces excess heat that can quickly melt the plastic. Therefore, use a non-melt blade to prevent your material from melting down.

Cutting with a jigsaw

It is one easy and effective way of cutting hard plastic without breaking it. It is best for cutting heavy-duty plastic. All you need for this is a sharp blade and clamp to provide a firm grip on the plastic. A c-clamp is preferable in this activity.

  • Start by holding down your work piece with the c-clamp.
  • Next, squeeze the trigger to start the jigsaw.
  • Wait for the saw to reach high speed, with a steady hand, press the blade against the plastic and start cutting.

Drilling The Hard Plastic

Although drill cannot indeed cut plastic, it creates holes, thereby enabling you to cut it. You will need the following tools for the work: an electrical training, a small drill bit and a utility knife. With all the tools at hand, let’s begin.

  • Attach the small drill bit to the drill
  • Secure your plastic sheet with clamps on a stable table.
  • Make a straight line to guide you get a clean straight line.
  • Plug your drill to a power source and switch it on
  • Drill the plastic by following the line you made earlier. Create the holes as close as possible to make the structure of the plastic weak. The end product will look like dots that need to be connected.
  • This is where a sharp knife comes to play. Connect the dots by using a knife to cut the remaining parts between the drilled holes.

Although the process is time-consuming, it gets the work done precisely without breaking the plastic. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the blade.

Slicing with String

So, what do you do when you lack saws or drill? We’ve got you covered. Even though it is a primitive method, it is possible to cut plastic using a polyester or woolen string.

  • First, you will need to test the strength of your thread by pulling both ends towards opposite directions. If it does not snap, then it will do the job. You will need a 2-feet long thread to cut through the plastic.
  • Place your material between your knees and hold tightly. You need two hands to work the string.
  • Although you can use a c-clamp to hold it, you risk breaking the plastic due to too much pressure before even getting to cut it.
  • Slowly, begin moving the string in a back and forth motion. Continue with the process until you create a tiny cut on the plastic.
  • Place the thread in the tiny cut and continue with the back and forth movement. It is a long process; therefore, you need to be patient to cut through the plastic.

Tip: Replace the thread with a new one once you notice it wearing out. A worn-out thread is likely to snap during the process. Use a nylon thread to cut plastic. Also, be sure to use gloves when holding the string during the tedious activity.

Final Thoughts

When cutting through hard plastic, take caution to not break it. Work slowly and do not exert too much pressure on the work material. Furthermore, you should use proper techniques and tools to make a clean break without any rough edges.