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I have just shown you how to cut acrylic by scoring and breaking the acrylic. Now I'd like to show you my preferred method for cutting acrylic. One thing about it is it necessitates a table saw, which is a one of the brass rings of the power tool world. They're pretty expensive, a good quality one you're looking at least $500 to get into it. It's a pretty powerful motor. This particular one is a belt driven model rather than direct drive, which means the motor turns a belt and the belt turns the blade. You can see here we have got a 10 inch blade on this particular saw.
It's a fairly thin Kerf carbide tipped blade. When we talk about blade Kerf, what you're talking about is the width of the cut it will take out of whatever material you're using. You usually use a wider Kerf for more coarse applications. This blade I got because I cut a lot of acrylic and framing parts with it, so I want something a little bit thinner. You can adjust the blade cut height quite simply with a crank here. It comes up and down. You typically want to adjust it to where it adjusts slightly higher than the thickness of whatever you're cutting.
The more blade you expose it makes a coarser cut, and it also, there's greater risk every bit of blade you expose. This part of the saw is called the fence, and you position the fence to determine the width of your cut. So what we're going to do, there are guidelines here, a little inch increments that you can use to align the fence in relation to saw blade, but I don't really trust those. I would much rather rely on my tape measure. I think it's a lot more accurate. We have scored and made the cut to the 12-inch dimension.
So now we want to take this 16 odd inch dimension down to the 14 to match our frame. So I'm going to take my tape measure, bring in out here, and I'm going to slide the fence over until I'm close to 14 inches and then if you look very closely at these carbide tips you'll see that they have a slight alternate angle to them where the tip angle slightly outward every other tip angles towards the fence, every other tip angles away. So we want to align the 14-inch exactly with one of the teeth that is pointing towards the fence and then gently adjusts the fence to where we get an exact 14-inch dimension.
Then when I use this lever on the back of the fence I'm going to push that down, and that locks the fence in place. So we have got our fence properly positioned. The next thing to do is to cut the piece of the acrylic. A couple things to keep in mind. This blade spins very rapidly. It cannot tell the difference between acrylic, oak, or your finger. It will cut you seriously very quickly. So you need to be very, very conscious of where the blade is at all times. What I'm going to do as far as hand position I'll make this cut, I have got very little scrap on this side of the blade.
So I'm not going to worry about maintaining pressure for an even guide through. I'm going to concentrate, I'm going to put both hands between the blade and the fence, kind of predicting where those fingers are going to end up as I go through, and then my major focus is going to be on keeping even contact with the fence as I slide the piece through. One other thing that's a little bit different here. Normally, I will not have peeled away the protective paper on the surface of the acrylic. We did that so we could score it in the previous demonstration.
One of the disadvantages of having it gone, the surface is little bit slicker, it's harder to hold onto. You also will have the potential for more edge chipping as the blade goes through. So my swing thoughts here as we get ready to do this is smooth motion, be aware of where my hands are in relation to the blade and then the piece of scrap that's going to be cut loose, don't worry about that. Just follow this through until the plex is completely clear of the blade and then we'll lift out all of the way, we'll turn off the saw, and then we'll remove the scrap once the blade stops spinning.
I'm not going to try to talk to you while I do this. I warned you the blade is a little loud and here we go. You can see how much easier that was than the scoring method where I had to do some multiple passes to score and then break it on the edge. Once you have got your measurement made, the cuts are as quick as can be.
Once the blade completely stops moving you can just reach in and remove your scrap. So you can quite simply see that's my much preferred method for cutting acrylic to size.
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