Drilling holes in plexiglass without causing a few cracks here and there sounds like an impossible task, right? But what if I tell you that it is not that difficult and you can do it too with just a few simple methods.
People always face this problem that their plexiglass cracks while drilling no matter how slowly they go, and they cannot even make holes for any purpose. But, no worries now as we have got you covered, and all you need to do now is just keep reading.
Why Does a Plexiglass Crack?
Plexiglass is a very close relative of glass, and people often use it as an alternative to glass. Commonly, it is referred to as acrylic, and those who don’t want to use pure glass at their home or in industries often use plexiglass.
It is a lot lighter than glass and easy to transport because it does not weigh as much as glass. Also, it is resistant to different weathers, which is pretty great too. Shaping plexiglass is no hassle either as compared to shaping glass because you just need to apply a little bit of heat, and it will do the rest.
But, the downside of plexiglass is that it gets scratched very easily, and it breaks too if you drill in it. Glass does not break that easily during drilling, but if you have tried drilling on plexiglass, you will notice that it immediately cracks.
The main reason behind these cracks is that because of drilling, the temperature of plexiglass increases and causes the material to fracture immediately as it starts reacting to high temperatures.
The heat and drilling force also causes friction in plexiglass. Hence, it cracks in no time and does not withstand drilling even for a few seconds. So, how exactly can you avoid doing all that?
The best thing you could do to avoid holes in your plexiglass while drilling is to follow the below-given tips so, let’s get in;
1. Tool Selection
Correct tool selection plays a key role in deciding whether you are going to have a hole in plexiglass during drilling or not. People often do the mistake that they use the same type of drill on plexiglass that they use for wood and metal.
But, this kind of drill will cause the edges to chip, and your plexiglass will in no time. So, make sure that you are not using such regular drills if you are a professional and deal with plexiglass on a regular basis.
It is best to buy a specific drill only for plexiglass, and there are a lot of great options available in the market with which you can drill the holes, and they will not cause any chipping or cracking too.
Also, many people don’t have access to a specialized drill, so for them, the regular ones work too, but their speed should be about 500-100 RPM. But, even if you are using the regular drill, you should use the drill bits of plexiglass, so it poses minimum damage to the glass itself.
2. Steady Hand
Make sure that you have a very steady hand while you are drilling because it can otherwise result in accidents. Also, if your hands are not steady, you can cause the corners to chip, and it will crack the whole plexiglass.
Make sure that you have a very firm grip on the drill and you slowly start drilling because being hasty does not pay off always, especially when you are drilling with a high-powered tool. Having a steady hand will also help you to avoid any mishaps.
If your hands are shivering, you will also risk drilling a bigger hole than usual, and it will kill the whole purpose because all the corners will be chipped.
3. Lubrication is Important
What people don’t often know is that lubricating your drill bit is very important because if it is dry and rough, it will damage the sides of the cut, and you won’t be able to get the smooth cut that you want.
Also, if the drill bit is properly lubricated, it will reduce the formation of heat in the drill bit, and as a result, your plexiglass will not heat up, and it reduces the chances of getting cracks. Make sure that you lubricate the drill bit properly.
There are multiple options available for lubricants that you can use for drill bits, and the most common ones are oils or soaps. But, there are some specialized sprays also available in the market, and if you drill plexiglass regularly, it is better to buy the spray as it is made specifically for this purpose.
4. Don’t Put Pressure
Drill already is a very high-powered tool, so make sure that you are not putting any pressure on the plexiglass manually. Just take it easy, have a firm grip on your drill, and start cutting slowly without putting a lot of pressure.
Any external pressure can increase the tension and friction on plexiglass, and it will break sooner than usual, which you obviously don’t want to do. Also, for better pressure adjustment, wear gloves and hold the drill properly, so you know how much pressure you are applying.
5. Use Sharp Drill Bits
Ensure that the drill bits you are using are properly sharpened; otherwise, it will chip the plexiglass more than usual. Sharper bits will make the cutting faster, and it will chip minimum level of surroundings.
Also, if you follow the above-given tips along with the sharper bit one, you will have foolproof drilling, and it will not cause your plexiglass to break.
How to Drill on Plexiglass Without Cracking it?
First of all, you need to plug in your tool and whatever tool you are using, make sure that it is suitable for plexiglass. Also, you usually puncture metal before drilling a hole in it, but in the case of plexiglass, you don’t have to puncture it.
Just mark the spot where you want to drill a hole and then start piercing your drill right on the spot very slowly. Make sure you don’t rush anything and keep a firm hand on your tool for everything to go smoothly.
Also, do not push your drill as well, and it would be great if you start with a smaller drill bit, maybe half size of the actual hole you want to drill. Once you are halfway there, you can slowly keep increasing the size of the drill bit, and it will help a lot with drilling just the right type of hole.
Make sure to clean the plastic shaving in between drilling by taking a break because the shavings caused by the drill can also increase the temperature in plexiglass and cause it to break. Also, when you take the break, spray the lubricant on your drill bit too, so it does not overheat your plexiglass.
That is pretty much it, and by following all of the given steps and tips, you can drill your plexiglass flawlessly.
Drilling through plexiglass is a lot harder than most people imagine, and that is because it cracks within a few seconds. But, if you are drilling with the right kind of tool and method, you can drill through plexiglass flawlessly.
We have listed some tips that can improve your drilling and the whole method of drilling too that will help you a lot in the process. Just make sure that you are handling the plexiglass with a lot of care as it is prone to cracking; otherwise, it is the finest alternative to glass.