Making the cut

Find out how to cut the case and acrylic sheet for the window.
With the outline penciled in, it is time to cut the acrylic sheet to shape. If you have never used the rotary tool on acrylic, you may want to test it on a remote section of the acrylic sheet before you tackle the real thing. If you have a vari-able-speed tool, adjust the speed settings and see which speed is ideal for cutting through the acrylic.

As an added protection against scratching and mistakes, add a couple layers of masking tape on the inside of the penciled outline. In case of a sudden jerky movement from the tool, the masking tape can prevent a scratch from marking the acrylic. You may want to work outdoors while cutting this sheet, since cutting the plastic will emit an odor.

When you are ready, cut along the outline slowly and evenly. If the acrylic is melting, slow down or stop cutting to allow the area to cool down. Take your time, and soon you will have cut an acrylic sheet to your shape.

After the acrylic sheet is cut to size, place it against the panel to see if all edges are...

covering your penciled outline. If everything matches up correctly, you can proceed to cutting the metal case.

Always be cautious and utilize all safety equipment before you make any cuts. Change the cut-off wheel if it is an unusable size at this time. Mask off the area outside of the outline you drew on the side panel with two layers of masking tape. This will prevent any scratches that may occur if you stray from the cutting area. Since you will not be using the portion inside the panel and nobody will see it, you don’t need to cover that with masking tape. Keep in mind that the metal is a lot harder than the acrylic, so adjust your rotary tool if necessary to compensate.

You can cut through the metal in two ways: you can slowly cut through the outline or lightly cut in layers. The latter method will take you longer, but it will give you a cleaner cut. The picture below shows the side panel cut out.
Once the entire section of the window has been cut out, you will want to smooth out the rough edges. Leave your gloves on and remove the cut-off wheel from your rotary tool. Be careful not to run your fingers across any rough edges; it may cut you. Attach a grinding or sanding attachment and run it back and forth over the edges to remove any sharp edges. If you are using a jig saw or you don’t have a grinding attachment, you can use some sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

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