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  • Using plastic

    I am trying to do a project where I adhere a photograph to plastic of some kind, and then cut around the figures in the photograph with my DeWalt scroll saw. I want to use 1/4" material, but I don't know what kind to use or where to purchase it. I tried plexiglass and it melts back together. I can't put any kind of tape over the photograph. Is there a better kind of plastic to use, or any other suggestion?

  • #2
    Plexi cuts well once you get used to it. Slow down your saw and your feed rate and things should go better. As for a source for material I can find some colored plexi and acrylic sheets as thin as 1/16" at my local Ace Hardware. I also found a commercial place I can get any color, thickness, and size I need for a pretty good price. Look in your local yellow pages or on the internet (I use Yahoo yellow pages) and search for 'plexiglass'.

    You came to the right place with your question. I'm sure you will get a lot of good feedback on using plexi or plastic here. But the best advice I can give is to take your time, practice, and don't give up.
    DeWalt DW788 & Dremel 1680


    • #3
      Hi Judy,

      I work at a sign company. There we use lots of plexiglas. And more importantly we have lots of waste plexiglas. We buy it in 4 x 10 sheets or sometimes bigger and have thicknesses ranging from 1/8" to 1". Most of this waste plastic is put out in a pile until we can find someone to come and get it.
      I've worked at 3 different companies and I don't think any of them would have had a problem with a hobbyist rummaging through there scrap pile for a few pieces to use. There should be a sign shop near you that you could talk to. We have a semi trailer parked in the yard that we throw our drops in and it's about half full at the moment.
      Most of the waste pieces are about 6 to 10 inches by 1 foot. Sometimes bigger. And most companies will have all the more popular colors.
      As far as cutting it slow is the best way to go. I have found that different companies as well as different colors may be more prone to melting. Just depends. When it starts melting just slow down your speed to almost a crawl really.

      Good luck


      • #4
        The appropriate blade is helpful also. I think I used a crown tooth blade and got no melting and a supper finish.
        RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
        Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
        Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
        And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


        • #5
          You said you can't put the tape OVER the photograph, but if I'm reading right, it sounds like you have the photo adheared to the TOP of the plastic. Is that correct? If it is, I'd put two layers of tape on the BOTTOM of the will still lubricate the blade, but won't be on top of the photo...

          The suggestions about blades and speed are excellent as well. i'd suggest using a skip-tooth blade, though, becase in my experience, they clean out the saw cuts better. The less plastic remaining in the kerf, the less likely it is to fuse back together.

          Bob Duncan
          Technical Editor


          • #6
            Thank you

            I was so happy to get the suggestions. It certainly IS the right place to come for questions/answers. I will try, try again


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