How to cut and screw polycarbonate sheets?

Our team have noticed that the AMOGO bot from H-W used polycarbonate sheets for their intake and wanted to try that out too!. How do you cut and screw in polycarbonate sheets?

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For cutting polycarbonate sheets I always use tin snips which seem to work best for me, but you could also use a laser cutter, and for screwing them I drill holes with a drill press.

The rules say that

A limited amount of custom plastic is allowed. Robots may use non shattering plastic from the following list; polycarbonate (Lexan), acetal monopolymer (Delrin), acetal copolymer (Acetron GP), POM (acetal), ABS, PEEK, PET, HDPE, LDPE, Nylon (all grades), Polypropylene, FEP; as cut from a single 12” x 24” sheet up to 0.070” thick.

You are allowed to use the plastic listed here. For cutting it, you can use a hacksaw, bandsaw, tin snips, cnc machine, router, score it with an knife or something sharp and snap it, any of those methods. For screwing it in, I find it best to use a 11/64 drill bit and drill holes in it, so you can put a screw through it.
Alternatively, if you want to, you could always use plate or wider c-channel there.


If you use polycarb thinner than 0.07" (the maximum thickness), you can even cut it with a good pair of scissors. But for max thickness, I’d recommend at least using tinsnips, you can get good cuts as long as they don’t need to be super precise.

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My team doesn’t have the funds to afford fancy laser cutters to create precise cuts, but we make do with a cutting and sanding dremmel, works with no issues

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A vote for scissors for the main shape, and either a rivet punch near an edge, or a hammer punch anywhere else for the screw holes. (4mm for M4 screws)

I would like to note that “fancy laser cutters” do cause chlorine gas and is not advised for health reasons.

But back to the original question I highly suggest using a saw for more precise pieces and using scissors or tinsnips to less precise one. If you want precise pieces I suggest using CAD and to print out a sheet and mark all the holes and sides precisely.


This depends on what you cut- if you are cutting most of the legal plastics, then yes, there will be some harmful gas. But it can be okay if you have a safe setup for doing so, if you have something like a ventilated enclosure or a fume hood.

I would see this thread for more information.


The polycarbonate on AMOGO was cut with a bandsaw and drilled with a drill press. For simple parts like in AMOGO where it’s a rectangle with some holes, these tools are a luxury and not a necessity.

Often we will use tin snips, a #19 drill bit (higher quality) or 11/64 drill bit (lower quality) with a hand drill. For tin snips, the more standard kind leaves a marked edge on the polycarbonate. The ones I linked will not leave marks on the plastic.

A marker, a square and a center punch will go a long way in making sure everything is aligned correctly, and should be used in addition to bandsaws and belt sanders.


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