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Cutting Plastic Sheet-Any Type

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Cutting Plastic Sheet-Any Type
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Saturday, January 29, 2022 9:25 AM

Here's an easy one.

      What method of cutting do you use when cutting plastic sheet? I know many score and break. I do when the sheet is only under .020 . Anything thicker I cut with a Hook Shaped X-Acto or Excel Blade. Allowing for the cut thickness in my measurement.  

       Remember the Hook shaped blade is about three times thicker than the tip of an ordinary number 11 blade! Now for many there is the problem of getting the straight edge to stay Fastened where you want it.

      I use double stick tape when I am making long straight cuts that is. I made up Curved units from Plastic French curves years ago, out of 1/8 thick aluminum, and they still work good.

    Now be advised There are plastics you should not Cut with a blade. .010 Styrene clear and some other types like that should be cut with very Sharp Scissors, I keep a well sharpened pair of Fiskars for that, and straight blade, small blade and curved blade Fiskars for that as well.

   I mention that particular brand Because I have been able to modify the tips to very small thin tips ( Carefully) and slowly on a grinder to insure a tiny almost tweezer fine tip that still cuts. The secret? Don't let the metal get hot while grinding.

   For heavier sheet I will use a silly tool I made myself. It's a hand cranked circular table saw that allows very slow feed and no melting, this is good for thin Plexi, a standard saw blade will do, but I work work with an extra fine toothed saw blade to prevent Blade edge breakout.

      Many folks will just score and break, like glass, as I have mentioned. I have done it. I still prefer saw cutting as the score and break can, like glass, go awry. The hand Cranked unit was switched out for an old Dremel that's foot controlled, Fastened to an old hobby Saw table and using blades I get from out of state that are five inch diameter size.

     A fine straight edge is needed for Construction of Cases for models . As well as parts for a model. This also works well on Veneers Like I make for Ship Decks where wood is needed. I don't do that often though. I replace most model decks with thin grooved sheet from Evergreen or Plastruct.

      I started doing that way back on Lindberg models where the decks had lines for planks that stood up proud from the surface! Many other Mfgrs. still do that. What I do wonder is why do they even bother? You can see from 100 feet every plank on a wood ships deck? I don't think so. So how should a 1/700 ship model have visible planking?

     Many are supplied with Aftermarket decks of wood. Cut a sheet of Evergreen with the right sized grooves and call it a day if you must. Think about what you seee in the world. Ship's decks of wood Must be seen close up to discern the planks. 

    When you cut out anything with scissors, make sure you put the pattern on the smooth back of the plastic Not on the rougher  top surface, as in ships decks or building siding. Cutting with the pattern on top will result in irregularities from the pencil bouncing on the texture.

  Till next time--Model On.


  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Saturday, January 29, 2022 9:49 AM

For 20 mil I just cut it with #11 blade.  For 30 mil to 1:16 I score it with bigger blade- forget the number but it is the 45 degree diagonal blade that fits in big handle.  With a nice score these sizes break nicely over a sharp edge like a sharp edged table'

For anything larger than 1/16 I use a jig saw.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota


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