If you work with acrylic sheets or glass, you may already know how to cut acrylic sheet with Dremel. But there are more ways to cut acrylic sheets with a Dremel
I am a DIY nerd, and I love making frames for the tons of photos that I capture and do other works with acrylic.
I used to cut acrylic sheets with blades or saws. But using a Dremel made my working experience more efficient.
So, today I’m going to share my own experience and ideas with you, along with small tips. And if you have any questions regarding this topic, I’m sure it’ll be answered by the end of this article.
Acrylic or Acrylic Sheet:
As we are discussing how to cut acrylic sheet, let’s know some information regarding it.
Acrylic is a kind of plastic. But it is more robust than regular plastic, or even glass. Acrylic sheets are widely used almost everywhere.
It is a multipurpose material. Acrylic glasses are commonly used to make photo frames, windowpane, aquariums, or even car windows.
Acrylic is usually sold as sheets. It can be both thin and thick. And while some acrylic can cost less than glass, some acrylics are much expensive than glass.
Usually, transparent acrylics are commonly used. But there are also mirrored, frosted and non-glare acrylics available that come in different shapes and sizes.
And did you know that acrylic is used to make bulletproof glass? Yup, that’s a fact.
Why Use A Dremel to Cut Acrylic?
You can cut acrylic sheets in many ways with different items. But the best way to cut the acrylic sheet is to use a Dremel. Why? Here is the answer.
Since it is a plastic material, cutting an acrylic sheet might not be the most challenging job. But not using the right tool can damage your work.
Even though you can cut your acrylic sheet using blades or saws, using a Dremel helps you cut it evenly, leaving no rough edges. This is the main fact.
But here is a small step if you are going to use a Dremel tool to cut acrylic sheets: DO NOT use it to trim sheets that are thicker than ¼”. Because a Dremel is a lightweight tool, and it does not cut with much depth.
What Tools Do You Need?
Here are the things you need to get yourself started:
A wooden board to use beneath the sheet.
Measurement tapes / t-square.
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How To Cut Step By Step?
Since you are here to find out how to cut acrylic sheet with Dremel, I’m giving you a step by step guide for you.
When I work on acrylic sheets, I tend to make sure I have enough space to move around. So, make sure you have it too. And then get started:
Cutting with Dremel 561:
- Step 1:
Everything you do before cutting is related to how it ends. So, make no mistake. However, I learned from the mistakes I made when I tried it.
So, lay the wooden board on top of your workbench. Then put the acrylic sheet on top of the bench. Use table clamps to clamp the sheet so that it would not slip.
Take a measurement tape to mark the determined area, using a marker. I use a thin black marker. You can use a ruler to mark small areas.
Draw line from start to end marks with a T-square.
- Step 2:
Next, you need to set up your Dremel. There are different sizes of attachment available to make a good cut based on acrylic sheets’ size.
I use a 561 bit for my work. It is a multipurpose bit for cutting not only acrylic but also other stuff.
While using it, I keep the Dremel speed either 6 or 8.
If the speed is low, it will not cut through the sheet. Also, if the speed is too fast, it would end up tearing or cracking the sheet.
Once you start the tool, let it do the work on its own. You only thing have to hold it steady.
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- Step 3:
Now it’s time to cut!
Recheck everything one more time. I tend to go through everything I’ve done.
The line you are cutting should be off the edge of your bench. And the part that you are cutting should be over the edge.
Then start the cut by turning on the Dremel. Cut along the line you made with the marker. And make sure your cut is straight and steady.
At first, I used to try pushing the Dremel to make cuts. My mistake! It ruins the work.
Just cut slow but straight. It will help prevent the acrylic sheet from chipping or get an uneven cut.
I suggest knowing about it by watching this video.
- Step 4:
Use a water spray bottle to spray water from time to time. Because using a Dremel heats the acrylic. And if it heats up, the plastic will start to melt.
Besides, spraying water while cutting makes the acrylic smooth. And it makes the cut even more effortless.
But here is another small tip, or you can say it’s a suggestion. It would be better if you let someone else spray water. In this way, you will be able to give your full concentrate on cutting.
The best way to make the cut perfect is to not stop in the middle of cutting. Stopping without finishing the whole thing in one go can end up giving you an uneven cut.
So, avoid doing that.
- Step 5:
In this step, you clean it up and give the acrylic sheet a final touch if it needs one.
Use a brush to clean up the dust and scraps. If there are any rough edges or cuts, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to sand those areas.
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- Step 6:
A power tool is not a plaything. No matter how small it is, it needs to be handled carefully.
So, make sure to switch the Dremel off as soon as you are done. Pull the cord out of the electric socket if you don’t need to use it, especially when you change the bits.
And another safety tip: use eye protection.
Now, remember that Dremel comes in different models.
Cutting with CNC Dremel.
A CNC Dremel is also known as a CNC router. This Dremel tool is probably the perfect tool to cut your acrylic sheet if you know how to use it.
Here is a step by step guide on how to cut acrylic sheet with CNC Dremel:
- Step 1:
Fastening the acrylic sheet to the table is an essential task. A CNC Dremel causes more vibration than a regular one.
So if you don’t fasten it properly, the vibration will move the sheet and damage the work. Use table clamps or double-sided removable tapes to do that.
It is better to use an MDF board on the CNC bed. I use either ½” or ¾” sized MDF boards.
Handling large parts of acrylic sheets can be a little tricky. But if you are cutting smaller parts, there isn’t much hassle.
- Step 2:
When you are using a CNC Dremel, you will need to use a specific bit to cut the acrylic. The bits used for cutting woods cannot be used to cut acrylic.
I would recommend you to use an O-Flute bit because it will give you a satisfying result.
And if you want a better cut and easy removal of waste, I would also recommend using a larger bit. It helps to get the deeper engraving.
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- Step 3:
Then you need to set the RPM correctly. With an O-Flute bit, you can increase the RPM 18000 or above.
The acrylic will not melt if the feed rate is increased.
75-300 IMP is the ideal feed rate. But it also depends on the size of the bit you are using.
- Step 4:
Set up the cut direction. Whether you want the cut to be clockwise or conventional, it needs to be determined.
- Step 5:
Once you are all set up, make the cut. It is recommended to use the ramp in a way that will cut the acrylic at an angle. A distance of about 2″ or 3″ will undoubtedly be better.
And while aiming to cut, use half the diameter of the bit.
And finally, my suggestion is to save the data that gives you the best result. You can use this for further work in the future.
The common question in everyone’s mind is what are the differences between acrylic and plexiglass. Actually, there are barely any differences.
Plexiglass is also a type of acrylic. But it is clear and a bit thinner than usual acrylic. And it is more vital than glass.
Cutting or trimming plexiglass is really easy. You can use a blade or cutting knife to trim the plexiglass.
Read on to know how to trim plexiglass:
- Step 1:
Lay the plexiglass on your workbench. Use a measuring tape and a marker to measure and mark the area you need to trim. And draw a line.
- Step 2:
Take the cutting knife and run it along the line several times, at least 8 to 12. This process will leave deep grooves on the glass sheet.
Then flip the sheet and repeat the process.
- Step 3:
Once you are done with step 2, keep the marked area to the edge of the table and secure it properly using clamps.
- Step 4:
Then put your palms on the outer area of the sheet and press it downward. The pressure will snap the sheet into two.
If the plexiglass is thick, you can use a Dremel to cut it. You can also use a hacksaw or jigsaw for cutting plexiglass.
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What Is the Best Way To Cut Acrylic Sheet?
Honestly, I think each different way to cut acrylic sheets depends on the type of acrylic. The method that works for one type may not work for a different type.
I have tried all of them. And the only thing I can tell you is that using a Dremel is the most suitable way.
And there are differences here too. If you want to cut acrylic for a simple professional or DIY project, you can go for a regular Dremel.
On the other hand, if you want an upgraded version or bring aesthetic results for your work, you can use a CNC Dremel.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I know using a new power tool can be tricky. As a result, you always have questions.
Newbies are always asking me about cutting and adjusting acrylic sheets. These following two questions are the most common ones:
- How do you cut thick acrylic?
You can cut acrylic in multiple ways. But the same process might not work when the acrylic is thick.
You can use Dremel 561 to cut acrylic up to ¼” thickness. But if the sheet is thicker than that, it needs extra attention.
A bandsaw is known as the best tool for cutting thick acrylic. It lets you cut the acrylic in curves.
- What Dremel bit should I use to cut plastic?
I think you have found the answer to this question in this article already. A 561 Dremel bit makes fine cuts on acrylic, fiberglass, plywood, plastic, etc.
You can use the Dremel 565 model. It is a multipurpose cutting tool and can give you a satisfying result.
Knowing how to cut acrylic sheet with Dremel is life-changing, whether you are a professional or trying to work on household stuff. It helps you explore different sides of work.
But just like any other material, acrylics also have disadvantages. They can be scratched very easily. However, there are acrylics available in markets that have good scratch resistance.
Cutting acrylic sheets can be messy work as well. But be sure to prepare everything, follow the rules, and your job is done.
And don’t forget to double-check everything for safety measures.
Try different cutting methods for different acrylic sheets because you won’t find a suitable tool for you unless you experiment with them.