Breaking down plastic sheets

I am looking to break down a 4x8 sheet of (probably) expanded PVC. I think I’ll be using 1/2".
What is the best saw at DMS for this purpose?

Thanks much,

Table saw would be my first thought.

@tapper used to teach plastic cutting classes on the Multicam (advanced CNC router). Don’t know if he has any immediate plans to offer one again, but that would certainly be an efficient method.

Answer kind of depends on the precision that you want for the broken-down pieces, but I’ve had good results using a jigsaw. Due to the variable speed settings (both on trigger pull and otherwise), it’s easier to control the blade and feed speed as you go along than with other less immediately variable speed tools. Also, new blades are cheap and easy to find. Also recommend looking at lubing the blade, whether with a dry lube/stick or wet lube (depending on how messy you want/can be), depending on how you feel about burning plastic.

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My first instinct would be score and break, but I’m not sure if that works on the expanded pvc. Plexi glass I’ll do that all day, with accuracy within 1/16".

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Do you know if there are any limitations on cutting plastic on the table saw? Even if one lubricates the blade, I understand that this can cause problems with dust collection.

A jigsaw is my backup. Unfortunately, I’ve had trouble making long straight cuts.

I’ve never tried to score and snap snap 1/2" plastic. To be clear, you’ve had experience with plexiglass this thick with this method?

Clamp a guide to the piece to use as a fence, then ride the jigsaw along the guide. I typically use a 5’ long aluminum layout ruler (from Home Depot) for this if crosscutting the piece (same for a circle saw), but there are clamp-on guides that go longer than 8’ for ripping. I don’t know, but DMS might have those over in the woodworking tools and clamps area.

Don’t lube any table saw blades.

Don’t use the Sawstop plastic and resins trips the saw

Bring a plastic blade, you need a special blade for plastic, I don’t think we have one.

You could donate the blade when done

You can also use a router with a guide fence or a hand held circluar saw.

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