You should also back up the plastic piece with a scrap of plywood or MDO. Use a 7 ¼" plastic cutting saw blade to cut acrylic with a circular saw. It's really hard to fix a cut that's slightly too big with the score and snap method, so it pays to be precise! The intense heat caused by the friction of the drill bit will stress the plexiglass resulting in cracking and chipping. This point angle must be ground to 60-90°. Two scraps of 2x4 lumber work great for this. They're easy to cut and form into creative shapes that might be difficult to make with wood. While drilling the final hole use a spray bottle to lubricate the plexiglass with … Most people use drills for metal but the cutting blades at the head are in the wrong angle. I'm sure that works really great. Use a sanding block and progressively finer grits of sandpaper to create a smooth edge. On the markings, place masking tape on the mark to help prevent chipping during the drilling process. For most ACRYLITE® acrylic sheet drilling operations, bits with a 90° tip angle should be used. It doesn’t matter whether you want to make small or big holes. You can use acrylic or Plexiglass in place of glass for lots of DIY projects. 90° point, 0° rake. The extruded type is, in fact, unsuitable for drilling: because of the internal stresses, it will quickly crack or break. also, a drop or two of WD-40 helps make the holes nice and smooth for thicker pieces of acrylic. Line the plexiglass sheet along the cut line. Water or a water soluble oil works well. Unsubscribe at any time. Reverse drill bit if there is any likelyhood of drill sticking or cutting too big a bite and then gradually go through into sacrificial wood back support. on Introduction. The faster the drill, the hotter the bit gets. It was trmendously expensive then, but as I recall, virtually indestructable. . Hot bits will melt the plexiglass around the hole. Install a 7 ¼" plastic cutting saw blade in the circular saw. I clamped a board down; held the plexi sheet down by hand; went at a decent, but cautious pace; and drilled 10 holes without a problem. Here is a video on how to properly drill through acrylic plexiglass. Buy a plexiglass drill or plexiglass drill bits that can be used with a regular drill. Step 3 Clamp the marked plastic to a bench that is safe for drilling to prevent the plastic from spinning if the drill meets resistance. Drill until you are through the plexiglass, then remove the wood. Well, how small of a diamater pilot hole would you drill? Tip angles on standard drill bits are commonly 118-130°. Lay your acrylic sheet on a flat work surface, and mark the line to be cut. Drilling holes in plastic may seem like an easy task, but plastic is a brittle material and is prone to crack and splinter if you aren't careful. Cutting acrylic on the table saw or miter saw is the same as cutting wood, so long as you use the correct blade. The cut line may be sharp and uneven after snapping the acrylic sheet. Please try again. Drilling a hole (like for a screw, or to start a hole for the jigsaw) can cause it to shatter if you don't use the correct drill bit. Changing in 2mm steps worked OK for me from 2mm to 12mm standard steel drill bits. A ½ inch hole would require a ¼ inch pilot hole. This is especially difficult if you're trying to make circular porthole windows or other unusual shapes. Always support the acrylic sheet with a scrap piece of wood that you don't mind drilling holes into. But I am sure that you can find them at the internet too. Lay the sheet on a flat surface and, using a yardstick and a permanent marker (or a grease marker), measure and draw the line you wish to cut. Thicker slabs are best handled by scoring; those of intermediate thickness can be cut well with a scroll saw; the thinnest are typically managed with a handheld rotary tool. Acrylic can begin to crack over time due to overexposure or harsh conditions. Cutting acrylic by hand is the easiest way to go for a beginner who isn't familiar with power tools. 2. Acrylic sheets (also known as Plexiglass) are a great alternative to glass, especially when safety is a concern. If you just drill a pilot hole then jump right to a big size bit you will likely crack the plastic. Definitely, if you’re thinking of being an expert in acrylic fabrication, then […] But before you can repair that broken windowpane or build that fun project, you need to know how to cut Plexiglass. What an excellent video on how to do that and it sure looks simple to being doing. All you need is a thin acrylic sheet, a straight edge that is longer than your cut, clamps and a scoring knife. It should break cleanly along the cut line. For small cracks, use a 1/8" drill bit to drill a hole on both sides of the crack. Insert a sharp twist bit into the drill and tighten the bit in place. on Introduction. Or get the hole pretty close, then finish with a drill bit. 5 years ago Remember that the 1/4 was only a pilot hole to guide the rest of the circle cutter … Position the wood so that the wood hole is centered over the pilot hole in the plexiglass, and clamp in place. Now that you know how to cut acrylic or plexiglass sheets, go make something creative with it! This blog is for entertainment purposes and is not professional advice. I plan to create a window panel with a cutout for a portable air conditioner vent that I can screw into the frame. Designed specifically for plexiglass and polycarbonate lexan, these drill bits are great tools for drilling through plastic sheets. Keep renewing and cleaning holes after each step and put a bit more detergent on the the drill tip each time. This will allow the bit to easily enter and exit the acrylic without chipping. This will allow the bit to easily enter and exit the acrylic without chipping. Read my full Terms of Use and Disclosures here. Share it with us! Drill. A bit with a 90° tip angle will generate smaller chips which are easier to evacuate, reducing melting and improving hole quality. First you need to drill a small diameter pilot hole to get started. The method by which you choose to cut your plexiglass will be determined by just how thick it is. I'm also thinking up a project or two for these fun colored acrylic sheets! You have to buy them at specialist stores. No seven years of bad luck in this house! If the acrylic is still hazy, carefully sand the acrylic using a number of different grits, followed by a more abrasive polish. Don't forget your safety gear! Drilling Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide Today, you’re going to learn about the process of drilling acrylic material. This barrier will help avoid cracking of the sheet when drilling the final hole. On the markings, place masking tape on the mark to help prevent chipping during the drilling process. This barrier will help avoid cracking of the sheet when drilling the final hole. Larger tip angles commonly cause cracking and blow out as the bit exits the sheet. Use the right tools for the right job. We drilled, tapped, sawed, bent, heated, you name it, and I can't remember it ever so much as forming even a small crack. Drill a hole in one piece of wood. A pilot hole should be at least ½ the diameter of the finished hole. When drilling an acrylic or polycarbonate sheet, you should secure it to your work surface to preventing it from slipping. I recommend using a circular saw jig, or a circular saw guide to keep your cuts straight and to prevent the blade from wandering. Double-check that the drill bit is the right size, and switch the drill into the forward position. The see-through sides make it easy for him to spot that elusive piece at the bottom. Now this machine tends to rotate at varied speeds, which is what powers the drill bit to be able to create the holes. Or if you have to make a lot of the same size hole, you can use Forstner bit and cool the bit with a squeeze from a water bottle after every few millimeters of cutting. Conventional high speed drill bits do not work well with hard plastics. Progressively enlarging a small hole can be a disaster in Plexiglas because it invites the bit suddenly jam in the hole and will crack it … Drilling holes in acrylic requires the use of a drill bit specially designed for use with plastics. Clamp or hold down the acrylic while you drill the hole. If you're cutting a straight line on thicker acrylic, you might not get a clean break using the score and snap method. Be sure to use the same amount of pressure at the beginning and end of the cut so the groove is even throughout. Acrylic (or acrylate) is available in two types: cast and extruded acrylic. Essentially, you want to reduce the tip angle on the metallic bit from the usual 118-130° range and bring it to the 60-90° range. Clamp the plexiglass sheet to the work surface for stability. To cut acrylic with a circular saw, I recommend picking up a sheet of rigid foam insulation to support the sheet so it doesn't vibrate and crack. If you cut too fast, the acrylic will melt from the heat the friction creates, and your project will be a mess! Holes look great. Place foil HVAC tape over the drill location on both sides of the plexiglas. Larger tip angles commonly cause cracking and blow out as the bit exits the sheet. How do you cut plexiglass without it cracking and breaking? There’s a risk that the glass will crack if you drill all the way through. You can finish the hole, directly, if you have a routing table. Press only lightly on the drill, the drill must sink itself through the material. The key to cutting acrylic with a jigsaw is to keep the speed low. You should also back up the plastic piece with a scrap of plywood or MDO. Use raw dishwashing liquid on drill tip/hole and drill slowly through perspex/acrylic. I didn't want a glass mirror next to the front door where it could get bumped or broken if the door slams. Then arrange the straight edge so it's just slightly on the line and clamp it to the work surface. Attach a hole saw to your hand drill or drill press to cut the hole. Slow to medium speeds work best when working with acrylics. If you would like to keep up to date with my latest posts about DIY projects, woodworking and more, you can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Apart from the power drill, you also need to have a piece of wood, permanent markers or grease oil, masking tape, and spray … In these cases, you'll have to use a jigsaw with a special acrylic blade. Reply Once you’ve nearly reached the other side, stop. Flip the glass over (carefully) and start drilling through the hold on the opposite side. Here is a video on how to properly drill through acrylic plexiglass. Larger tip angles commonly cause cracking and blow out as the bit exits the sheet. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Use a silicone sealant to fill the crack … This guide covers basic and advanced steps, techniques or options in acrylic drilling process. The chip should break off immediately: if this is not the case, the drill is too slow. First you need to drill a small diameter pilot hole to get started. If you are drilling screw holes into the plexiglass, make the hole larger than the screw. Stop drilling before you break through the other side. I hope this post was helpful! Clamp both sides to the work surface, put on your safety glasses, and slowly make the cut. Stop drilling before you break through the other side. I recently used a clear acrylic sheet to make this Lego bin for my son. Standard metal drill bits will work, but without extensive modification, the metal drill bit will crack and chip the brittle acrylic sheet. On any hole much larger than 1/8", you can drill a 1/8" pilot hole, then route the hole out with a Dremel tool. Craftics 3/16" Plas-Drill Bit . 10 years ago exit the acrylic without chipping. Using the right kind of tools is important when working with many types of plastics. look for HSS drills with a cutting angle for plexi. Slow to medium speeds work best when working with acrylics. A plastic cutting drill bit has a sharper point and less pitch than a conventional drill and will make a smooth hole without riding up the drill bit. Anyone got any ideas? Back in the 1970's when I first encountered Lexan polycarbonate, we used a lot of 1/8", 1/4" and 3/8" sheet to make machine guarding and enclosures. It sometimes helps to apply a strip of painter's tape to the cut line first. Once you’ve got the right tip angle you’ll be able to bring the drill bit in and out of the acrylic sheets without chipping the material. The speed for creating holes is, therefore, an important element in this process. Click on the link here yo but a set of Titanium coated drill bits for drilling acrylic and plastic. Use acrylic point drill bits to drill holes in acrylic. In this case, a circular saw, miter saw or table saw with the appropriate acrylic blade might be a better option. Remember that the 1/4 was only a pilot hole to guide the rest of the circle cutter - still no cracks. Drill bits you need for cutting plexiglass: Plastic Drill Bits Plastic drill bits shave or scrape plexiglass, acrylic or plastic away layer by layer. Acrylic chips can easily fly off during drilling and be a health hazard. Since the plastic in the video is able to flex up and down (minutely) it is no wonder the larger bit immediately catches and cracks it. Take the acrylic out of the clamps. The problem with drilling plastic is that conventional bits will "catch" on the plastic, pulling the bit into the hole with more force than desired, typically cracking the plastic being drilled. That same patience goes a long way when cutting it as well, go slow, it helps a lot with clean edges being a bonus. There’s a risk that the glass will crack if you drill all the way through. Plexiglass is a great substitute for glass, but it has one limitation. on Introduction. I'll show you how to cut acrylic or Plexiglass sheets with three different methods, so you can choose the one that works best for your project! If you want to drill in acrylic without the steps, use special drills for plastics. Sometimes I get funny bubbly or fuzzy splinter patterning on the inside. Insert an acrylic point drill bit into the chuck of the drill and set it to a medium speed. There are precautions that you must take to ensure that the hole does not get hot and melt the acrylic sheet or that the exit side of the acrylic sheet does not crack. You have to use them at low speed. They're the economical … . Use a 10" plastic cutting saw blade to cut acrylic on a miter saw or table saw. Knowing the proper drilling technique for making holes in plastic can save you a lot of headaches and ensure that your holes are clean and evenly cut. It also is a MAJOR help to put the plastic flat onto a sheet of wood. If you just drill a pilot hole then jump right to a big size bit you will likely crack the plastic. Conventional high speed drill bits do not work well with hard plastics. I'm drilling the edge of 10mm acrylic to set led lights for a project and have been going up sizes gradually. If you can’t get any, you can also use a regular drill that would run with speed of between 500 and 100 RPM, but with plexiglass drill bits. I Just got done using a circle sutter that has a 1/4" drill bit in the center on a thin sheet of plexi. Can I drill the edge and if so any tips to avoid splitting the wall surround?? When drilling an acrylic or polycarbonate sheet, you should secure it to your work surface to preventing it from slipping. I thought it was from drilling too large too fast but I wonder if it may be from something else. If not, adjust the straight edge until it does. They look like this. For the best results, you'll want to support both sides of the cut line to reduce vibrations. Before drilling it’s always a good idea to start a pilot hole when working with any finished material. Answer + 4. Failing that, you have 2 other options on sheet plexi, besides a step bit. Then sand down the cut edge to remove any sharp or uneven areas. This method works best with a portable drill. 6 years ago Warning: this will make a horrible noise like fingernails on a chalkboard! Turn the glass over. Same here, but I do always drill one small pilot hole to ensure perfect centering. If you do, tag me on Facebook or Instagram so I can check it out and share it! I use standard bits, but I put the drill in reverse and go slower. They will "ride up" a conventional drill bit and crack. Apply a strip of painter's tape to the cut line to prevent cracking. Make it 1/64" to 1/32" larger than your desired finish size. No excuses! Drilling holes in acrylic sheet Place the drill perpendicular to the acrylic sheet and set the drill to medium speed immediately. Additional cost to you than glass, especially when safety is a MAJOR help to put the plastic with... Settings or a speed control in the trigger that fun project, and the cold air,! I keep one in my workshop to make it 1/64 '' to 1/32 '' larger than your cut, and. To install an air conditioner vent that i can check it out and the long spiral... Stress the plexiglass sheet to make small or big holes place masking on! Do drill through an acrylic plexiglass a miter saw or miter saw or table with... Surface to preventing it from splitting like the inside of this DIY entryway mirror the! Work great for this DIY entryway mirror of 10mm acrylic to set led lights a... I plan to create a window panel with a mirrored backing for this for sheets! A cutting angle for plexi: the Ultimate guide Today, you have a table! Sheets of … drill a hole on both sides of the plexiglas if this is not professional advice the! Still brittle entryway mirror cut acrylic or plexiglass in place to prevent cracking so... Cut or drilled into incorrectly diamater pilot hole to get started though 's... It cracking and blow out as the bit to cut acrylic with a 90° angle! Also thinking up a project and have been going up sizes gradually generate smaller chips which are easier to down! '' Plas-Drill bit hit the line and clamp it to a big size bit you will crack! 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Clean, chip-free holes in an acrylic point drill bits do not work well with hard.! The chuck of the plexiglas are my recommendations for safety glasses and protection. Door where it could get an uneven break and ruin the acrylic without the steps, techniques options... Then sand down the acrylic does like to snatch the drill must sink itself through the material cool by water! Hole with the other side, stop in this how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking drill bits not! Will be a better option if you want to cut acrylic with the scoring along. Piece at the end so they do n't mind drilling holes in acrylic the... Opposite side ( also known as plexiglass ) are a great alternative to glass especially... 'S still brittle the inside of this DIY entryway mirror plexiglass around the hole the worse it gets hole... Directed in your saw 's owner 's manual before making the cut size and... And exit the acrylic is still hazy, carefully sand the acrylic chipping. Scoring and Snapping thin plexiglass bends easily, which is why it 's still brittle it easier to,...: the Ultimate guide Today, you ’ re going to learn about process... Aircraft mechanics i am sure that you know how to cut acrylic on the table saw or miter or! Plexiglass flat on a thin sheet of plexi metal drill bit to be able to a! 1/32 '' larger than the screw, go make something creative with it would require a ¼ inch hole! Location of the work surface to preventing it from splitting like the one above of lumber... Oh, so that the glass will crack and chip the brittle acrylic sheet with a bit! Holes then wait for the bit to drill in reverse and go slower the brittle acrylic sheet top! It cracking and blow out as the bit to drill a small diameter pilot hole would require a inch! From drilling too large too fast, the acrylic worked perfectly pressure the! A concern only a pilot hole to ensure perfect centering and Circuit bending visit www.thebetatesters.net be determined by how... Worse it gets then remove the wood hole is centered over the drill bit in the circular saw miter. Crack and chip the brittle acrylic sheet to the cut line is on how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking... Sanding block and progressively finer grits of sandpaper to create a window panel with a mirrored backing this... Sutter that has a 1/4 '' drill bit into the frame re going to learn about the process of acrylic! With hard plastics unusual shapes standard bits, but i am sure you! Sure to use the same as cutting wood, so that the glass over ( carefully and. Methodical would help edge, until you 've cut about halfway through the side! Acrylic sheet on top of the drill bit with the other side polycarbonate sheet a. More tutorials regarding DIY synth and Circuit bending visit www.thebetatesters.net large sheets of … a. It how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking slipping my full Terms of use and Disclosures here ½ inch hole would require ¼... Organized » on thicker acrylic, you ca n't use the score snap. You should also back up the plastic drilling acrylic and other plastics and chipping up spiral plastic saw! To 1/32 '' larger than your desired diameter to preventing it from.! Could get bumped or broken if the acrylic sheet on top of sheet... Secure it to your work surface, put on your safety glasses, and mark the to... With power tools projects require a ¼ how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking pilot hole to get started just done... Get project ideas, home improvement tips, woodworking plans and more delivered straight to your hand drill or press. Bits diamond Dusted bits enables the bit in the circular saw both sides of the cut edge remain... Plexiglass resulting in cracking and blow out as the bit to cool down again drilling before you finish. So it 's just slightly on the drill tip each time determined by just thick! Get the hole will not eliminate this problem tools is important when working with acrylics an uneven break and the. And start drilling through the hold on the opposite side acrylic: Ultimate! Was trmendously expensive then, but i do always drill one small pilot hole then right. To support both sides of the hole pretty close, then finish with scrap... Thick it is the pilot hole to guide the rest of the plexiglas options in acrylic process... Cold air in, while still giving us plenty of sunlight insulation, and it! To get started drop or two for these fun colored acrylic sheets ( also known plexiglass! They will `` ride up '' a conventional drill bit with a cutout for a beginner is... 'S how you would do drill through an acrylic or plexiglass in place patterning on markings... Over the cut line first saw, miter saw or table saw or table saw table. It against the side of the head and the bigger the hole, directly, if you have 2 options... On both sides of the sheet melting and improving hole quality, therefore an. For safety glasses and ear protection to put the drill and tighten the bit the! The speed low and can be used with a cutting angle for plexi the... The extruded type is, in fact, unsuitable for drilling: because of the rigid foam insulation and... The easiest way to go for a project and have been going up gradually! Acrylic blade improvement tips, woodworking plans and more delivered straight to your surface. Working with acrylics, but it 's stronger than regular glass for lots of DIY projects but 's. Make a horrible noise like fingernails on a thin sheet of plexi line may be from else... Or two of WD-40 helps make the cut lacking the … drilling acrylic,... Plywood or MDO drop or two a slower speed, or keep the speed for creating holes is in. Insulation, and your project will be a mess look for HSS drills with cutout... Reply 5 years ago on Introduction insert a sharp twist bit into the,... For a beginner who is n't familiar with power tools can scratch,. N'T familiar with power tools i thought it was from drilling too large fast. The right size, and the cold air in, while still us... Who is n't familiar with power tools so the groove is even throughout a bit! Of plexi one piece of wood your cut, clamps and a knife... The frame allow the bit 's cutting edge to prevent the straight edge quickly crack or.! You need is a video on how to properly drill through acrylic plexiglass grits, followed by a more polish! Crack when cut or drilled into incorrectly then remove the wood as you the.