Plexiglass is an excellent material to use for various projects, but it can be brittle and crack if not drilled correctly.
Drilling into plexiglass without cracking requires starting with smaller bits first. The critical point is to proceed slowly to avoid heating the plexiglass, which translates easily due to increased friction.
This article will show you how to drill plexiglass without cracking it.
Table of Contents
Why Does Plexiglass Crack When Drilling?
Plexiglass, also known as acrylic, is a glass substitute. You can use it for various applications that require a lightweight, weather-resistant material. By applying heat to the plexiglass, you can quickly reshape it.
However, its brittle nature makes it more susceptible to scratches and cracking. This occurs because when drilling, the material rapidly heats up and fractures. Drilling’s extreme force increases friction, and thus the plexiglass expands due to the heat.
Therefore, if you are drilling into plexiglass, maintain a steady hand on the drill to avoid melting the glass.
Check Also: Tips To Help You Drill Marble Without Cracking
How to Drill Plexiglass Without Cracking Step by Step Process
Gather Your Tools
Before you start, gather the necessary tools:
- Plexiglass Sheet: Ensure the sheet is clean and free from scratches.
- Drill: Use a cordless drill with adjustable speed settings.
- Clamps: Secure the plexiglass sheet with clamps to prevent vibrations.
- Painter’s Tape: Apply painter’s tape over the drilling area to minimize chipping.
Step 1: Choose the Right Drill Bit
Choosing the right drill bit is essential for a successful project. There are many different types of drill bits on the market, and it can be challenging to decide which one is right for your project.
When choosing a drill bit, some factors include the material you are drilling, the size of the hole you are trying to make, and the type of drill you are using.
Step 2: Apply Oil to the Drill Bit
Drilling into hard rock can be difficult and time-consuming, where oil comes in handy. Applying oil to the drill bit allows it to slide more quickly through the stone, making it easier to extract oil and gas and making the process faster and easier.
1. Apply oil to the drill bit.
2. Insert the drill bit into the engine.
3. Turn the drill bit on.
4. Drill into the engine.
Step 3: Drill at a Slow Speed
Drilling at a slow speed is essential when drilling through hard soils. Hard soils can cause the bit to break and cause the drill to become stuck.
When drilling at a slow speed, the bit will move more quickly through the soil, and the drill will not become stuck.
- Drill slowly to avoid damaging the pipe
- Use a drill bit that is the correct size for the pipe
- Use a slow speed to avoid damaging the pipe
Step 4: Keep the Drill Bit Parallel to the Plexiglass
If you are drilling a hole in plexiglass, keeping the drill bit parallel to the plexiglass is essential. If the drill bit is not similar to the plexiglass, you may end up with a crooked hole or off-center.
1. Place the drill bit on the top of the Plexiglass
2. Hold the drill bit against the plexiglass and use a screwdriver to turn the drill bit until it is parallel to the Plexiglass
3. Once the drill bit is parallel to the plexiglass, use a hammer to tap the drill bit into place
Read More: How to Drill a Hole in a Mirror?
Step 5: Use a Jigsaw to Cut Out the Center of the Plexiglass
It is essential to use a jigsaw to cut out the center of the plexiglass so that the light can shine through. By cutting out the center of the plexiglass, you will create a more accurate and finished product.
- Preparing the Jigsaw
- Position the Plexiglass on a Flat Surface
- Trace the outline of the plexiglass with a Pencil
- Cut Out the Center of the Plexiglass
Watch This Video for More Instruction —>
- Eye Protection: Wear safety goggles to shield your eyes from debris and protect against potential cracks.
- Gloves: Use gloves to prevent fingerprints and scratches on the plexiglass.
The Best 5 Drill Bit to Use For Drilling into Plexiglass Without Cracking
The following is a list of drill bits that you can use on plexiglass to create a perfectly round hole with no visible cracks.
PVC Drill Bits
Drilling into plexiglass with plastic drill bits is a viable option. These drill bits feature metal-ground flukes with 90-degree points and a zero-angle rake. You can use plastic drill bits to drill the plexiglass layer by layer and offer a good range of diameters for your convenience.
Stepping Drill Bits
These drill bits work exceptionally well when drilling into the plexiglass. With step drill bits ranging in size from small to large, you can create almost any size hole. It’s best to begin by clamping the plexiglass to the back with scrap wood.
Please ensure that the drill is operated at a slow speed and with very little pressure applied, and there you have it; drilling plexiglass without cracking is that simple with a step drill bit.
You can quickly obtain one of these bits because they are readily available in almost any hardware store.
Read More: How to Remove a Broken Drill Bit?
Standard Twist Bits
This is one of the most commonly used drill bits and can drill holes in plexiglass without fear of it cracking. The standard twist bit has an angle of 118 degrees, making it ideal for preparing various materials.
It comes in various shapes and sizes to give you more options. Bear in mind that going slowly and maintaining a low pressure is critical!
Read More: How to Use Left Hand Drill Bits?
Another excellent option for drilling into plexiglass is a spiral drill bit. All you need is a proper setup and alignment of all components to get started. After drilling approximately 5 mm, use a countersink cutter to finish the hole perfectly.
Now, if you’re looking for a drill bit to drill into curved and thin plexiglass, such as corrugated sheets or tubes, a cone drill bit may be the best choice. These drill bits are easy to use and inexpensive.
Apart from these, you can use drill bits such as a center bit, a flat bit, a stepped bit, or even a hole-saw. However, a hole-saw is the best option if you require a large hole and drill at an angle.
Now that you’ve determined which drill bits will work best for you, here are some that I discovered were extremely difficult to use when drilling into the plexiglass.
The Top 3 Drill Machines Drilling into Plexiglass
Choosing the appropriate equipment is also critical if you want things to run smoothly, and a suitable drill machine is crucial for this. The following is a list of drill machines that will perform optimally when drilling into the plexiglass.
The Pillar Drilling Machine
I would recommend that you invest in a pillar drilling machine. It is a self-contained machine that
enables you to rotate a bit with an electric motor at various speeds (essential for plexiglass drilling). Additionally, it includes a handwheel, which simplifies the process of drilling holes.
A drill press is another frequently used drill machine with good features for working with plexiglass. It comes equipped with an integrated work surface, a chuck, and a drive motor that ensures 90-degree drilling. Additionally, it features variable spindle speeds, allowing you to achieve precise hole sizes.
Portable Electric Drill
Due to the exceptional features of a handheld electric or cordless drill, it is possible to drill plexiglass without it cracking. However, it is primarily compatible with drill bits with a diameter of 1/4′′ or 3/8′′.
Additionally, flexible shaft drills and lathes are well-suited for this drilling purpose.
How to Repair Cracked Plexiglass?
Have you already developed a crack in your plexiglass? Not to worry, as you can quickly repair it with solvent cement. If you’re unfamiliar, solvent cement is a solvent-based adhesive that you can use to weld acrylic by softening it.
Therefore, to repair cracked plexiglass, apply a generous amount of the solvent along the crack line and allow it to sit for a few hours. It is critical to leave it for that time to build up the necessary strength. Additionally, you can use a plexiglass adhesive for this purpose.
Priority is given to safety!
While drilling, you should wear safety gloves and ensure that you are familiar with the tools you are using before attempting anything with them.
While drilling, acrylic chips fly off, so wear safety goggles to avoid a health hazard. Additionally, a face mask is an excellent choice.
Can I use a regular drill bit for plexiglass?
It’s best to use a specialized plastic drill bit to avoid cracking. Regular drill bits can be too aggressive.
Can I use a drill press for drilling plexiglass?
Yes, a drill press can provide more stability and control, reducing the risk of cracking.
What speed setting should I use on the drill?
Use a low-speed setting to prevent overheating and cracking. Let the drill bit work at its own pace.
Can I drill large holes in plexiglass?
Yes, you can drill larger holes, but make sure to follow the step-by-step process and use appropriate techniques to prevent cracking.
How do I fix a cracked plexiglass sheet?
Small cracks can be repaired using acrylic cement or adhesive. For larger cracks, consider replacing the sheet.
Can I use lubricant for all types of plexiglass?
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Generally, water or a plastic-safe lubricant is suitable.
Drilling Plexiglass can be a tricky task. When working with a finished material such as plexiglass, it’s best to exercise caution to avoid damaging the entire sheet; therefore, if you’re unfamiliar with drilling through plexiglass, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to practice your drill.
By following these steps, you can drill plexiglass without cracking it. Let us know how it goes in the comments below!
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