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cutting plastics

Discussion in 'D.I.Y' started by chocky, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. chocky

    chocky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    Location:
    WA, Australia
    just wondering what do you diy-ers use for cutting through plastic?

    i want to make some sections in my filter sump, and struggling to think of the easiest way to cut plastic.

    i was thinking just using a soldering iron would be easiest?

    Also - what can i use for these sections? something thats cheap and readily available...

    thnx!
     
  2. Ichthius

    Ichthius Professional Breeder

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Eugene Oregon
    If the sumo is glass, use glass and silicone. Glad is very easy to cut and the tool is cheap.

    For acrylic, I use a circular saw with a fine tooth blade or a jig saw for smaller projects.
     
  3. chocky

    chocky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    Location:
    WA, Australia
    ah sorry should have explained better..

    its a plastic storage container box (about 30L) with a clip on lid

    i guess i could use acrylic for the dividers... i think i have a circular saw somewhere...
     
  4. Pinoy Breeder

    Pinoy Breeder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2014
    Location:
    Philippines
    Plastic is easy to fabricate. I use plain drill bits for holes and a sharp knife if hole is not according to drill bit size. Manually rotating the sharp knife is more precise if you want a close tolerance.

    Small sharp saw or even a hack saw for cutting thru thick plastic drums.

    For thin PET bottles - scissors for cutting across and soldering iron for small holes.
     
  5. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    I would suggest getting the thickest Plexiglass, Acrylic, or Lexan that you can find. minimum thickness 1/4". A thickness of 3/8" or greater, would be much better. If you have a skill saw (circular saw) but don't have an extra fine toothed blade, you can turn a blade that has a more aggressive tooth pattern around so that it cuts "backwards". A jig saw or scroll saw would also work well. A Dremel (or other high speed rotary tool) works well for shaping plastic,plexiglass,acrylic, lexan, etc. They also make a vibratory tool, that cut's through just about anything. I would not suggest using a soldering iron to cut plastic,acrylic,plexiglass or lexan. Soldering irons are made to make electrical connections with flux & solder, not cut plastic. (it will ruin the soldering iron tip, as every time you plug it in thereafter, it'll have molten plastic all over it, and will reek of molten plastic, with a dirty tip as such, you wouldn't want to use it for electrical connections anymore). You also won't get a very good (precise) cut. You can use 80 grit sandpaper, or a bastard file to knock down any burrs or roughness on the cut edge.

    Plexiglass or Lexan is likely going to be cheaper than Acrylic.
    As for putting a divider in a plastic tote/tub. The tub is likely going to be narrower at the bottom than the top. I would measure it across,(in the direction you want the divider) every 1 inch up, transfer those measurements onto paper, then onto the piece to be cut. This should give you a really precise fit. Something else to keep in mind, is that the tote/tub may have slightly different dimensions empty vs. full of water. So you may need to take these measurements with it filled.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  6. preternaturalism

    preternaturalism Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2014
    Location:
    USA
    I'd like to point out that plexiglass is acrylic, it's just a trade name.
     
  7. Ichthius

    Ichthius Professional Breeder

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Eugene Oregon
    And lexan is polycarbonate.
     
  8. Fishheadz

    Fishheadz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Location:
    Moffat, CO.
    Thanks, I sometimes confuse easily, it's really not my intent to confuse others.

    I will also add that they sell a knife specifically made for cutting this type of material at Lowes/ H. Depot, for about $10.
    It should be located in the same area as their Plexiglass & Lexan. Usually this type of material is scored fairly heavy(on one side), and then snapped off (usually by bracing the larger side on a table top, with the scored side up, pushing downwardly on the smaller piece to be removed).
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014

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