30 June 2021
Polycarbonate is one of the most versatile and durable transparent thermoplastics, making cutting polycarbonate sheet a relatively easy task. Its heat resistant properties mean that it can be cut with standard power tools with no cooling required under standard machining conditions. The durability of polycarbonate also makes it reluctant to splinter or crack when cut. Despite this, it is vital to remember a few important points to ensure professional results are achieved every time. You may want to consider:
Whatever your query, this helpful guide will provide you with our top tips for the best way to cut polycarbonate - this guidance summarises information found within the Palsun Fabrication Guide in our technical library and we recommend all users to refer to the full guide prior to commencing fabrication.
Perspex Distribution supply a large range of Palsun polycarbonate sheets. Palsun is manufactured in the UK and with a light transmission of 90%, the same as glass but at half the weight and 200 times the impact resistance, making it an ideal protective glazing material.
Before you start, ensure you have everything you need to hand. This might include:
Polycarbonate sheets can be fabricated with standard power or hand tools, provided they are well-sharpened and have the clearance required for machining rigid plastics. In most cases, high-speed steel tools are adequate for cutting polycarbonate, however these should always be speed regulated. To achieve continuous production lines, carbide-tipped tools are most suitable.
Careful measurements are key when cutting polycarbonate sheet to size. Where possible, mark the sheet on the protective film (masking) - if it is necessary to mark directly onto the polycarbonate, use a wax pencil.
The protective film should be left on during fabrication to prevent any damage to the surface of the sheet. As an extra precaution, masking tape can be applied on the desired cutting line and markings can be made on top of this.
Marking the exposed surface by scratch marks with sharp objects may initiate fractures and induce failure under load.
Power saws generally produce the best results when cutting polycarbonate. Laser cutting and water-jet cutting are possible, however these methods are less likely to yield a professional finish.
The following types of saw are widely used to saw polycarbonate:
To achieve clean, good quality cuts, a fine-toothed hollow ground blade should be used or preferably a carbide tipped, triple chip or alternating bevels.
Visit our Polycarbonate materials page to discover more about the range of polycarbonate sheets we have to offer here at Perspex Distribution Ltd. You’ll also find all you need to know about the material including information on physical properties, chemical resistance, cleaning and maintenance as well as safety data sheets within our technical library.