HDPE vs Acrylic - material experience

Hey everyone,

Just wondering if anybody has experience cutting HDPE and/or acrylic sheeting and what they can say about their experience. HDPE, for anyone who hasn’t heard of it can also go by other names, is essentially high density plastic. It usually refers to recycled and compressed plastics, which have become a popular replacement for wood in outdoor furniture or light structural. Has anyone cut this on a maslow? Did it act differently, did you need different bits, did you have problems with heat warping? Does it cut like clear acrylic, is there a bit type that is essential for clean cutting? Thanks!

my understanding (haven’t done it) is:

HDPE cuts very like wood, but you need to make sure you don’t get it too hot, if
it starts melting it really gets gummed up and may ruin the bit.

Acrylic is very different, it’s less sensitive to heat (but again, if you do get
it too hot bad things happen) but it’s brittle, so if things go wrong, it can
shatter and send shards flying.

I would search for people using hand-held routers or router tables to cut the
materials, everything they tell you about the bits should apply equally to the

These are fairly common materials to use.

David Lang

1 Like