How to Drill Holes in Plexiglass Without Cracking?


Plexiglass looks like thin plastic and is used as a glass alternative. However, unlike glass, it is lighter in weight and resistant to shattering. Plexiglass is more of thermoplastics and is preferred for construction projects since it is durable. It is also known as acrylic and is used to construct window panes, enclosures, craft projects, and furnishing.

You can drill holes in plexiglass without cracking if you have the right tools. Start by connecting the drill to a power source, and pierce the marked area gently and slowly at a speed of 3.5 inches per minute. Make a pilot hole half the diameter of the hole you want to drill, and slowly increase its size by changing the size of your drill bits. As you drill, you will notice intense heat being produced- use a spray lubricant on the drill to cool the bit and also prevent the plexiglass from being melting or cracking. Once you are satisfied with the hole size, allow the plexiglass some time to cool.

How to Drill Holes in Plexiglass Without Cracking: Top Tips

Select the appropriate tool for the job.

Since plexiglass is fragile avoid using regular drills that are used in wood and metal. There are specific drills made for plexiglass, which are very reliable since they have a geometric structure, that is different from the rest and which enable them to swiftly drill through the plexiglass. Suppose you completely lack to access the drills you can use the regular drill but one with a speed of between 500 to 100 RPM.

You will also require a hard surface like a piece of wood, markers for highlighting where to drill, grease oil or dish soap for lubricating the drill, masking tape or paint to act as a protective layer, and a spray lubricant to keep the glass cool.

Put your safety first.

Before attempting anything, you have to be aware of how to use and handle each tool you will be using. Carry out quick research to familiarize yourself with every tool at your disposal. Remember, you will also require wearing safety gloves and goggles since drilling can be dangerous because some acrylic chips may fly off.

Plan your drill

There are some precautions you will have to observe before drilling plexiglass. First, ensure you have a strong piece of scrap wood that you would not mind drilling into it. Use clamps to firmly fix the plexiglass to prevent any movement. You should also avoid drilling near the edges of the glass to prevent chipping of the edges since they are acrylic. Before making the drill, use the marker to spot the places you will be drilling holes through and enclose the area with masking tape to prevent chipping.

Execute the drill

Depending on the type of drill you have, connect it to a charged battery and turn it on. For plexiglass, unlike metals, you do not have to puncture it. Begin by piercing the marked areas slowly and softly at a speed of 3.5 inches per minute.

Make a pilot hole half the diameter of what you intend to drill and systematically increase the hole by changing the bit size of your drill until you reach your goal. You will notice some intense heat is being produced as you continue drilling. The heat is caused by friction that ends up making the bit have plastic shavings around the hole, more so for a thick sheet. To curb this, take a break to clean up the plastic shavings to have a clear view of your work.

While at these breaks use some spray lubricant on the drill bit to make it wet and prevent it from being damaged by heat. You will also end up preventing the plexiglass from melting, cracking, and chipping. If you are satisfied with the hole you drilled, allow the plexiglass to cool then clean its surface gently.

How to repair a cracked plexiglass

In a situation where you end up having a crack on your plexiglass, you need not worry since it can be fixed. You can use solvent cement which is preferred for its bonding properties and once softened it can bind the acrylic.

Apply some considerable amount of solvent cement along the crack on your plexiglass and leave it for a few hours. As time passes, it will build up strength which will seal the crack. Another option is using plexiglass adhesive which will also repair the crack perfectly.

Drill Bits Used for Drilling Holes into Plexiglass Without Cracking

If you desire to have round perfectly shaped holes in your plexiglass without cracking, consider using some of these drill bits;

  • Plastic drill bits
  • Step drill bits
  • Standard twist drill bits
  • Spiral drill bits
  • Cone drill bits

Conclusion

If you have all safety issues sorted out, you can proceed to drill your plexiglass comfortably and achieve a successful hole. Be careful though so that you do not end up damaging the whole sheet. You can begin by practicing it on a smaller piece, then move to the one you want to work on.

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