Plexiglass can be compared to transparent plastic and can also be used to replace glass but unlike glass, it is shatter resistant and lighter.
That means that you can use the material for projects that require resilience such as gardening, furnishing, and windowpanes. The catch is that you have to put holes through the material for such projects.
Since plexiglass scratches and cracks easily, you have to handle it with care during drilling. In this article, we are going to discuss how to drill plexiglass without cracking. You may want to stick around for that.
Drilling Plexiglass 101
Before we get into the steps for drilling, why don’t we go through some tips that will make the process easier for you?
Use the Right Tool
You cannot use regular drill bits that you would use for wood or metal for plexiglass as that could cause the material to crack or chip.
The right drill bit for plexiglass should have a geometric structure that will easily puncture through the acrylic. Keep in mind that regular drill bits will not suffice here.
You also want to have other tools like lubricant, masking tape, and permanent markers.
It is vital to have safety gloves on while drilling as well as obtain enough knowledge as far as the tools you will be using.
You also want to have safety goggles that you will use to protect your eyes from flying chips once you begin drilling. A facemask should also feature in this list to prevent you from breathing in any dust that could eventually lead to respiratory issues.
You may also like to read, top drill bits for glass.
Drilling through metal or wood requires you to mark where you intend to create holes before proceeding to do it. However, you will need a wood template to place over when drilling through plexiglass.
Ensure that the template is hard enough to prevent your plexiglass from cracking. As you plan, ensure that you are not drilling at the edge of your plexiglass to prevent chipping.
Another thing you need to do to prevent chipping is to mark the spots you want to drill into and put masking tape over them.
Make a Pilot Hole
You can make a pilot hole that is half the diameter of your intended hole so that you do not end up with a hole that is larger than what you intended.
Note that drilling through plexiglass causes a lot of friction so you may have to take breaks to allow your drill bit to cool off otherwise it will overheat.
Spray some lubricant to prevent chipping, cracking, and melting during the breaks.
Read More: Top Quality Drill Bit for Fiberglass.
How to Drill in Plexiglass without Cracking it: Drilling Steps
We are now at the point where we give you the steps you need to follow to ensure that you end up with a clean job.
Put on your safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying acrylics that will be generated once you begin drilling. You can also wear your mask or gloves at this point.
Get a plexiglass bits that can be used with a regular drill. Note that plexiglass bits come with a different geometric shape that is designed for puncturing acrylic seamlessly.
Alternatively, you can use a drill press with an RPM of 500-1000.
Use smaller pieces of scrap plexiglass to practice drilling before attempting it on your actual piece. This will increase your chances of getting it right.
Next, you want to place a piece of scrap plexiglass on your actual sheet or a piece of MDF wood to reduce your chances of scratching or chipping your worksheet.
On a flat and secure surface, clamp both sheets. Use as many clamps as you need to hold the two sheets in place because the last thing you want is for them to move around when you begin drilling.
Check to confirm that the hole you want to cut is not at the edge of your plexiglass sheet otherwise you risk ruining it.
You are now ready to begin drilling so plug your drill into an outlet if it is corded or place a fully charged battery inside if it is cordless. You do not want to run out of power in the middle of a drilling session.
Once that is done, turn your drill on and start drilling at a slow pace into your worksheet.
Maintain a steady and slow pace with low to medium speed keeping in mind that plexiglass is a delicate material.
When you begin drilling, you will notice some debris and plastic shavings and they will surround your drill bit as you continue drilling.
You can stop to remove them if you want a better view of what you are doing or if they are hindering the drilling process.
If you are working with a thicker sheet, you want to apply something that is known as peck drilling. This is where you drill a little and stop for a while.
This allows you to remove the plastic shavings as well as allow your drill bit to cool. In case you notice overheating, you can spray some lubricant or water to prevent your worksheet from melting and your drill bit from damage.
Continue drilling until you get the diameter and depth that you want. After you are done, brush away any residue and check out your clean cut holes. The drilling process is at this point complete.
Check out our ½ inch corded drill review.
We believe that this article has successfully covered how to drill through plexiglass without compromising it. Therefore, if you have taken care of your safety, you can begin on your project right away.
What we want you to know is that plexiglass is a finished material so you want to handle it with care as you work on it. That will reduce the chances of damaging it.
If you are not sure about your drilling skills, you can practice on smaller scrap pieces before attempting to work on a larger sheet. Do not shy away from using this article as a tool to get the perfect result.