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What is the right tool and method to make a small rectangular cut-out (about 9"x5") on an clear acrylic sheet (0.093" thick)?

I want to use the sheet as a kind of kitchen back splash protector behind the stove. The sealing on the new tumbled marble back splash is no match for the greasy/smokey cooking that my family does.

The cut-out is for light switches and outlets.

I used a plastic cutter from Home Depot to cut the large sheet (36" x 72") into the overall shape that I want, and it took a very long time (I was probably not doing it right). So I hope there's a better tool/way to make the cut-out.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

As you have already found out, cutting P-glass is tricky. The plastic cutters you mentioned are very gimmicky and don't work that well. I would suggest the following procedure:

After marking out your cut on the plexi, take a scrap piece of any firm material, plywood, an old board, anything, and cut a slightly oversuninstallized hole in it to act as a backer for your plexi.

With your plexi on top of the backer, Drill holes in two oposite corners of the marked hole you want to make.

Use a varible speed jig saw at a very low speed with a fine tooth wood or course tooth metal blade to cut out the shape. Stay just barely inside of the waste side of the mark.

Finish the hole and smooth the edges with a fine bastard file and some 220 grit paper.

If you are really cleaver, you could make the hole smaller than the device cover so no plexi edges would be exposed. You may need longer screws to attach the cover plates, but you can get them at any electrical dept.

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Is "oversuninstallized" a DIY jargon for "oversized"? Also, would the low-speed jig saw method work for a long and straight cut? I already have some small cracks on the board due to the shitty cutter, so I may as well get a new board and start over. –  Geoffrey Zheng Aug 22 '11 at 13:18
    
You can also trim out the cut edges with something that looks pretty (e.g. a metal U section) to neaten them up. –  Alex Feinman Aug 22 '11 at 20:58
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to be honest, I have absolutely no idea where oversuninstallized came from!!!!!!! I forgot to mention, put some painter's tape on the base of the jig saw so it won't scratch the plexi and use firm pressure on the saw so the plexi won't vibrate and chip. –  shirlock homes Aug 23 '11 at 1:19
    
if you want a real nice straight line, clamp a straight edge guide to the plexi to run the jig saw against. Will take a four clamp adjustments. one for each side, but you will get nice straight cuts. –  shirlock homes Aug 24 '11 at 1:04

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