Cutting Plastic with A Scroll Saw? Read This First!

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cutting a plastic with scroll saw

The blade of a scroll saw is more fine and powerful than a jigsaw blade and cuts more easily than a fret saw or hand coping saw.

One of the things this allows the user to cut is plastic. However, there are some things you should know before cutting plastic with a scroll saw.

What do you need to know before cutting plastic with a scroll saw? Plastic melts and fuses again very quickly with the heat caused by the friction of your blade. Therefore, you want to keep your blade cool. Scroll saws can cut different plastics such as Plexiglas, Corian, and acrylic, and the crown tooth blade is the best scroll saw blade for cutting plastic.

Ready to jump into that next project with plastic? Plastic is a bit different than other materials, so it requires extra attention.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about cutting plastic with a scroll saw.

Can You Cut Plastic with A Scroll Saw?

You may be familiar with the materials that scroll saws cut but are wondering if your scroll saw will be able to cut through the plastic.

The good news is that scroll saws can cut through plastic just as well as wood or metal.

One type of plastic commonly cut with scroll saws is Plexiglas. Plexiglas is sheets of a polymethyl methacrylate, or PMMA, and is known as “plastic glass.”

One issue you may run into while cutting Plexiglass is the plastic melting and fusing back together again immediately after being cut.

The heat from your blade is enough to melt the Plexiglas, so you want to make sure the blade is kept cool to reduce the amount of friction you create on the plastic.

There are a few ways to prevent your Plexiglas from melting and fusing back together, and they are:

  • Place painter’s tape under the Plexiglass to dissipate the heat.
  • Leave the backing paper on your Plexiglass until the project you are working on is finished.
  • Aim an air compressor at the blade while you are cutting.

Once your blade is cooled, you want to lubricate it properly. WD-40 is one oil that works well.

Shattering your Plexiglas is another issue that can arise because of the scroll saw’s fine blade.

If your TPI, or teeth per inch, isn’t high enough, only a few teeth will be able to get into the plastic, and the teeth can begin to bounce on your saw.

This bouncing makes the Plexiglas chip, so you want to experiment with blades before committing to one for a project.

Related Content: Cool things you can do with a scroll saw, you’d have a great and fun time at it!

Other Plastics a Scroll Saw Can Cut Through

Besides Plexiglas, a scroll saw can also cut through acrylic and Corian. Corian is a brand of hard plastic made with an acrylic compound.

You can cut through Corian as you would cut through wood.

The most important thing to remember about plastic is that it gets softer as it is heated up and can burn; therefore, cutting plastic with a scroll saw requires patience and close monitoring.

Cutting through plastic will dull your tools faster than other materials, so your scroll saw’s blade needs to be changed often for best results.

Scroll saws cut through thinner sheets of plastic better than thick blocks and work best at a slow and steady pace.

Plastic at larger and bulkier quantities is more resistant to the teeth of your blade.

Which Scroll Saw Blade is Best for Plastic?

acrylic plastic tubes

With many different scroll saw blades to choose from, it can leave you wondering which is the best for cutting through the plastic.

The best scroll saw blade for cutting plastic is the crown-toothed blade, which is a new type of blade for the scroll saw.

Crown-Toothed Blades

The teeth of the crown-toothed blade are crown-shaped with spaces between each of the crowns. This blade can be put on your scroll saw either way because the sides are interchangeable.

They cut a little slower than other blades, which is a plus when working with plastic because the slow movement from the blade makes less heat and friction, reducing the chance of melting.

When your crown blade dulls, you can reverse the ends of the blade and have a sharp blade once more.

This is something unique to the crown blade that works in favor of plastic because of how fast it dulls blades. Additionally, replacing a crown-toothed blade is inexpensive.

Skip Tooth Blades

There are four types of skip tooth blades available that can cut plastic.

These blades shine in their ability to cut more slowly and keep your project cooler because of the gaps in their teeth.

The four types of skip tooth blades are:

Skip Tooth Blade

Skip tooth blades are like the standard scroll saw blade, but every other tooth on them is missing.

The space between the teeth allows the blade to cool while you work. This blade is also good for beginners.

Double Tooth Blade

Double tooth blades are skipping tooth blades that have large spaces in between two sets of teeth. They cut slower and leave a smooth finish.

Reverse Skip Tooth Blade

On this blade, the last bottom teeth face up instead of down. This helps prevent shattering your plastic.

Reverse skip tooth blades need clamps so that two or three teeth are pointed up while the arm of your saw is in its highest positioning.

You can trim the bottom teeth from the blade to achieve this.

Precision Ground Blade

This blade has smaller teeth and a rounder shape; it resembles a large file. The precision-ground blade is sharper than the others, so it cuts straighter and leaves a smoother finish.

It cuts faster than the others, so be mindful of the speed when working with plastic. This blade is recommended for more experienced scroll-saw users.

**Are there other more types of scroll saw blades? Find out what other blades you can use in this guide here!!!**

Blade Recommendations for Cutting Plastic

Online you can find the reasonably priced scroll saw blades that will cut an array of objects such as a skip tooth saw blade that can cut not only plastic but wood and metal as well.

Here are some of the scroll saw blades that work well when cutting into plastic:

OLSON SAW Skip Tooth Scroll Saw Blade

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Coming in packs of one to five are the OLSON SAW skip tooth blades for scroll saws.

They are good for cutting wood, plastic, and fibrous material. The blades have a 5-star rating.

They have a Proposition 65 warning on them for California residents. They are good for cutting both thick and thin materials.

OLSON SAW Precision Ground Scroll Saw Blade

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These blades are rated 4.5-stars and come with 18 blades in one pack.

They are double-toothed, measuring 3.5 in. by 8.5 in. by 1 in. and are made from carbon steel.

OLSON SAW claims that these blades are “the most accurate scroll saw blade ever made.”

OLSON SAW Pin End Scroll Saw Blade

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OLSON SAW also produces pin-ended blades. They come in packages of 18 or 36 blades.

They are good for hardwood, softwood, and plastic and boast easy installation, handling, and use.

The manufacturer claims that they are great for “Sears Craftsman, Penn State, Delta, Ryobi, and all 15 in. and 16 in. imported scroll saws.”

In Conclusion

To sum it up, when cutting plastic with a scroll saw, you should be aware that plastic melts and shatters easily.

You want to keep your blade cool and use lubrication. The best blades to use are crown-toothed blades and skip tooth blades.

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