How do I cut oversize acrylic?
For the gun cabinet I'm making, I want to use acrylic instead of glass in the door. I've cut acrylic before on my tablesaw, but I'm finding this large piece awkward to handle. How do I cut it safely and accurately?
—Adam Fedler, Fremont, Calif.
Support, support, and more support, Adam. First, create a grooved auxiliary fence for your tablesaw, like the one shown above. Make the groove slightly wider than the thickness of your acrylic, about 1⁄4 " deep and positioned 1⁄8 " from the bottom edge. The groove traps the acrylic, lending it rigidity to resist bowing up as it rides over the tablesaw blade.
Second, use plenty of outfeed and infeed support. Lower the outfeed support slightly below table level to account for any droop as the acrylic comes off. Ensure that the infeed support doesn't interfere with your path toward the saw as you cut.
Finally, cutting full pieces of acrylic like the one shown isn't a one-man job, so recruit a helper. Have your helper loosely guide the edge and keep an eye on the outfeed end while you focus on guiding it against the fence and through the blade. This method also works well for cutting thin sheets of plywood.