Reply Scoring and Snapping Thin Plexiglass Lay the plexiglass flat on a work surface. The cut line may be sharp and uneven after snapping the acrylic sheet. You can also sign up for my email list below and get the latest post delivered to your inbox, plus exclusive access to my woodworking plans library! 5 years ago Cutting acrylic on the table saw or miter saw is the same as cutting wood, so long as you use the correct blade. They're easy to cut and form into creative shapes that might be difficult to make with wood. Insert an acrylic point drill bit into the chuck of the drill and set it to a medium speed. It should break cleanly along the cut line. 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. Many DIY plexiglass and lexan sheet projects require a hole or two. There’s a risk that the glass will crack if you drill all the way through. Position the wood so that the wood hole is centered over the pilot hole in the plexiglass, and clamp in place. It also is a MAJOR help to put the plastic flat onto a sheet of wood. 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. Lay your acrylic sheet on a flat work surface, and mark the line to be cut. Please try again. If possible, set the hole back at least ½" from the edge to prevent it from splitting like the one above! Share it with us! The gradually go up in drill bit sizes until you reach your desired diameter. Standard metal drill bits will work, but without extensive modification, the metal drill bit will crack and chip the brittle acrylic sheet. With the barrier in place, start by marking the location of the hole using a permanent marker or grease pencil. If you want to drill in acrylic without the steps, use special drills for plastics. Turn the glass over. Fit a circular saw or table saw with a fine blade with crosscut teeth to prevent chipping the piece during the cut. For small cracks, use a 1/8" drill bit to drill a hole on both sides of the crack. on Introduction. Tip angles on standard drill bits are commonly 118-130°. If you cut too fast, the acrylic will melt from the heat the friction creates, and your project will be a mess! Read my full Terms of Use and Disclosures here. Steps 1. 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. on Introduction. also, a drop or two of WD-40 helps make the holes nice and smooth for thicker pieces of acrylic. 6 years ago Double-check that the drill bit is the right size, and switch the drill into the forward position. 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. It doesn’t matter whether you want to make small or big holes. Here is a video on how to properly drill through acrylic plexiglass. A pilot hole should be at least ½ the diameter of the finished hole. There’s a risk that the glass will crack if you drill all the way through. I recommend using a circular saw jig, or a circular saw guide to keep your cuts straight and to prevent the blade from wandering. Unsubscribe at any time. I didn't want a glass mirror next to the front door where it could get bumped or broken if the door slams. Use acrylic point drill bits to drill holes in acrylic. If you just drill a pilot hole then jump right to a big size bit you will likely crack the plastic. Place foil HVAC tape over the drill location on both sides of the plexiglas. Insert a sharp twist bit into the drill and tighten the bit in place. Hot bits will melt the plexiglass around the hole. They look like this. They have much greater angle at the end so they don't bite-chip. How do you cut plexiglass without it cracking and breaking? Turn the glass over. exit the acrylic without chipping. Cutting plexiglas is often hard to do cleanly, this is why I felt I should pass on how I have been doing it as it works very well. You should also back up the plastic piece with a scrap of plywood or MDO. I'm drilling the edge of 10mm acrylic to set led lights for a project and have been going up sizes gradually. Two scraps of 2x4 lumber work great for this. I use standard bits, but I put the drill in reverse and go slower. Click on the link here yo but a set of Titanium coated drill bits for drilling acrylic and plastic. Install a 7 ¼" plastic cutting saw blade in the circular saw. You have to use them at low speed. 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. Here are some examples . Use the saw at a slower speed, or keep the material cool by spraying water over the cut point during the saw operation. I'm also thinking up a project or two for these fun colored acrylic sheets! 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. Here's what you'll need! This barrier will help avoid cracking of the sheet when drilling the final hole. I keep one in my workshop to make it easier to break down large sheets of plywood outside. Anyone got any ideas? Thin plexiglass bends easily, and can be held in a curve shape like the inside of this DIY wall sconce. The speed for creating holes is, therefore, an important element in this process. Go slow. For most ACRYLITE® acrylic sheet drilling operations, bits with a 90° tip angle should be used. 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. Acrylic sheets (also known as Plexiglass) are a great alternative to glass, especially when safety is a concern. Larger tip angles commonly cause cracking and blow out as the bit exits the sheet. Remember that the 1/4 was only a pilot hole to guide the rest of the circle cutter … That same patience goes a long way when cutting it as well, go slow, it helps a lot with clean edges being a bonus. Line the plexiglass sheet along the cut line. Plexiglass can scratch easily, which is why it's sold with a protective film on the surface. It sometimes helps to apply a strip of painter's tape to the cut line first. Conventional high speed drill bits do not work well with hard plastics. Designed specifically for plexiglass and polycarbonate lexan, these drill bits are great tools for drilling through plastic sheets. Before drilling it’s always a good idea to start a pilot hole when working with any finished material. http://www.plasticsandpaints.com/products_and_services.html, 10 years ago Using step-up method to drill the hole will not eliminate this problem. Our upstairs windows crank out, which makes it difficult to install an air conditioner when the weather gets too hot. . I recently used a clear acrylic sheet to make this Lego bin for my son. Use a 7 ¼" plastic cutting saw blade to cut acrylic with a circular saw. They're the economical … There was an error submitting your subscription. Subscribe to get project ideas, home improvement tips, woodworking plans and more delivered straight to your inbox! If you just drill a pilot hole then jump right to a big size bit you will likely crack the plastic. This method works best with a portable drill. Just switch out the blade as directed in your saw's owner's manual before making the cut. Holes look great. When drilling an acrylic or polycarbonate sheet, you should secure it to your work surface to preventing it from slipping. But I am sure that you can find them at the internet too. Can I drill the edge and if so any tips to avoid splitting the wall surround?? Most people use drills for metal but the cutting blades at the head are in the wrong angle. When you’re drilling close to an edge or near a corner, the bit has a tendency to catch as it exits and can crack the Plexiglass. This point angle must be ground to 60-90°. Note the sharp angle of the head and the long stretched spiral. A bit with a 90° tip angle will generate smaller chips which are easier to evacuate, reducing melting and improving hole quality. Use a 10" plastic cutting saw blade to cut acrylic on a miter saw or table saw. 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! 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. In this case, a circular saw, miter saw or table saw with the appropriate acrylic blade might be a better option. Same here, but I do always drill one small pilot hole to ensure perfect centering. Here is a video on how to properly drill through acrylic plexiglass. 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. Now this machine tends to rotate at varied speeds, which is what powers the drill bit to be able to create the holes. With the barrier in place, start by marking the location of the hole using a permanent marker or grease pencil. 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. Once you’ve nearly reached the other side, stop. Acrylic may be stronger than regular glass, but it's still brittle! If you are drilling screw holes into the plexiglass, make the hole larger than the screw. Otherwise, you could get an uneven break and ruin the acrylic! Well, how small of a diamater pilot hole would you drill? on Introduction. Be sure to use the same amount of pressure at the beginning and end of the cut so the groove is even throughout. If you do, tag me on Facebook or Instagram so I can check it out and share it! You have to buy them at specialist stores. You can use acrylic or Plexiglass in place of glass for lots of DIY projects. Cutting acrylic by hand is the easiest way to go for a beginner who isn't familiar with power tools. Don't forget your safety gear! Drilling holes in acrylic requires the use of a drill bit specially designed for use with plastics. You can finish the hole, directly, if you have a routing table. Use these drill bits to produce clean, chip-free holes in acrylic and other plastics. We drilled, tapped, sawed, bent, heated, you name it, and I can't remember it ever so much as forming even a small crack. Clamp the plexiglass sheet to the work surface for stability. Check to see where the blade of your scoring tool will land when you run it against the side of the straight edge. Unfortunately, if you want to cut curves in acrylic, you can't use the score and snap method. Before you drill the Acrylic sheet, make sure you place a wooden block or sheet underneath to stop the bit breaking through the bottom of the Acrylic. When creating a hole or holes in an acrylic material, you’ll always use a drilling machine. All you need is a thin acrylic sheet, a straight edge that is longer than your cut, clamps and a scoring knife. I generally drill a couple of holes then wait for the bit to cool down again. Reply For more tutorials regarding DIY synth and Circuit bending visit www.thebetatesters.net. 10 years ago I might have to give it a try. Drilling Acrylic: The Ultimate Guide Today, you’re going to learn about the process of drilling acrylic material. I also used acrylic with a mirrored backing for this DIY entryway mirror. A ½ inch hole would require a ¼ inch pilot hole. Use an O flute up spiral plastic cutting bit to cut acrylic with a router. If not, adjust the straight edge until it does. Drill a hole in one piece of wood. Drill a small hole first slowly as the acrylic does like to snatch the drill and the bigger the hole the worse it gets. On the markings, place masking tape on the mark to help prevent chipping during the drilling process. Even though it's stronger than glass, it can still crack when cut or drilled into incorrectly! This will stop any splitting or cracking. 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. Once you’ve nearly reached the other side, stop. This point angle must be ground to 60-90°. They will "ride up" a conventional drill bit and crack. 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. Plexiglass is a great substitute for glass, but it has one limitation. I Just got done using a circle sutter that has a 1/4" drill bit in the center on a thin sheet of plexi. It was trmendously expensive then, but as I recall, virtually indestructable. Drill. Good advice, sometimes I'm in a bit of a hurry so I use a piece of masking tape on both sides where I am going to drill, it does help reduce the splintering effect, I also modify my most popular bits by re-sharpening them to a greater angle, say 60-70 degrees. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Slow to medium speeds work best when working with acrylics. Use a sanding block and progressively finer grits of sandpaper to create a smooth edge. Much slower speeds and better support are definitely a good idea, if possible. 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. Conventional high speed drill bits do not work well with hard plastics. Clamp both sides to the work surface, put on your safety glasses, and slowly make the cut. This guide covers basic and advanced steps, techniques or options in acrylic drilling process. Retract your drill bit from the hole often to let it cool. But before you can repair that broken windowpane or build that fun project, you need to know how to cut Plexiglass. Buy a plexiglass drill or plexiglass drill bits that can be used with a regular drill. The intense heat caused by the friction of the drill bit will stress the plexiglass resulting in cracking and chipping. The chip should break off immediately: if this is not the case, the drill is too slow. I am installing an acrylic shower surround and just realized the shower spot will meet the top edge forcing me to either cut the hole right at the edge or tear up my newly installed gyrpoc to move the shower spout. ... go to lowes or home depot and get a plexiglass blade this will allow you to score the plexi and snap it clean off or bring them the size you need & they will cut it for you for only the cost of the plexi. Changing in 2mm steps worked OK for me from 2mm to 12mm standard steel drill bits. For the best results, you'll want to support both sides of the cut line to reduce vibrations. Here are my recommendations for safety glasses and ear protection. Sometimes I get funny bubbly or fuzzy splinter patterning on the inside. Replace the oversized drill bit with the desired size bit. on Introduction. Acrylic chips can easily fly off during drilling and be a health hazard. Warning: this will make a horrible noise like fingernails on a chalkboard! Use a lubricant or liquid. Hole Saw. Acrylic (or acrylate) is available in two types: cast and extruded acrylic. The drilling of holes in Plexiglass seems to be the big bugaboo among many aircraft mechanics. Use raw dishwashing liquid on drill tip/hole and drill slowly through perspex/acrylic. Now that you know how to cut acrylic or plexiglass sheets, go make something creative with it! The faster the drill, the hotter the bit gets. Remember that the 1/4 was only a pilot hole to guide the rest of the circle cutter - still no cracks. Ahh, in that case being slow and methodical would help. Obviously I couldn't have used regular glass for this project, and the acrylic worked perfectly! Attach a hole saw to your hand drill or drill press to cut the hole. 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. Stay tuned for a tutorial this summer! Use a silicone sealant to fill the crack … Water or a water soluble oil works well. Larger tip angles commonly cause cracking and blow out as the bit exits the sheet. Diamond Dusted Drill Bits Diamond dusted bits enables the bit's cutting edge to remain sharp. Use the right tools for the right job. Make it 1/64" to 1/32" larger than your desired finish size. No seven years of bad luck in this house! 2. 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 … Flip the glass over (carefully) and start drilling through the hold on the opposite side. Craftics 3/16" Plas-Drill Bit . I Just got done using a circle sutter that has a 1/4" drill bit in the center on a thin sheet of plexi. 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. 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. Flip the glass over (carefully) and start drilling through the hold on the opposite side. Final Thoughts The edge of the blade should hit the line exactly. Drill until you are through the plexiglass, then remove the wood. The method by which you choose to cut your plexiglass will be determined by just how thick it is. Clamp or hold down the acrylic while you drill the hole. Acrylic can begin to crack over time due to overexposure or harsh conditions. Press only lightly on the drill, the drill must sink itself through the material. Excellent for hand drills. 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. The plexiglass drill bits have geometric structures different from the traditional drill bits that allow them to puncture easily through the acrylic. Drill bits you need for cutting plexiglass: Plastic Drill Bits Plastic drill bits shave or scrape plexiglass, acrylic or plastic away layer by layer. The key to cutting acrylic with a jigsaw is to keep the speed low. What an excellent video on how to do that and it sure looks simple to being doing. 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. Make 5-10 scratches with the scoring knife along the straight edge, until you've cut about halfway through the thickness of the plexiglass. Keep this film in place to prevent the straight edge from marking the clear acrylic. Or get the hole pretty close, then finish with a drill bit. Tip angles on standard drill bits are commonly 118-130°. Wear safety goggles. 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. I'm sure that works really great. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Drilling holes in acrylic sheet Place the drill perpendicular to the acrylic sheet and set the drill to medium speed immediately. You should also back up the plastic piece with a scrap of plywood or MDO. For this step you will need the scoring tool (Or box cutter or x … . This blog is for entertainment purposes and is not professional advice. I thought it was from drilling too large too fast but I wonder if it may be from something else. This will allow the bit to easily enter and exit the acrylic without chipping. If you're cutting a straight line on thicker acrylic, you might not get a clean break using the score and snap method. They will "ride up" a conventional drill bit and crack. Drilling acrylic surface. 90° point, 0° rake. Definitely, if you’re thinking of being an expert in acrylic fabrication, then […] 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! 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. '' drill bit to cut acrylic with the barrier in place, start marking... Hazy, carefully sand the acrylic using a permanent marker or grease pencil switch the drill and the does. Quickly crack or break slowly drill the hole larger than your desired diameter with!. Will land when you run it against the side of the hole larger than the screw 1/64 '' 1/32... Horrible noise like fingernails on a work surface to preventing it from splitting like the one!!, tag me on Facebook or Instagram so i can check it out and it. That i can check it out and the long stretched spiral make it easy for to! To medium speeds work best when working with acrylics of glass for.. Ensure perfect centering how small of a diamater pilot hole in the center on miter... Decor ideas to keep you Organized » polycarbonate lexan, these drill bits produce. Long as you use the correct blade rest of the crack drill one small pilot hole then right... It easy for him to spot that elusive piece at the beginning and of... Retract your drill bit and crack, place masking tape on the drill bit will crack if you 're a... Unusual shapes bits do not work well with hard plastics sold with a circular saw acrylic chipping... A circle sutter that has a 1/4 '' drill bit and crack a air. Did n't want a glass mirror next to the work surface will not eliminate this problem of!... High speed drill bits that allow them to puncture easily through the side. Case drill bits that allow them to puncture easily through the other line on! Drill bits for drilling through the thickness of the drill, the metal bit... Next to the cut bit from the edge of the drill bit and crack at speeds... Blade in the circular saw, miter saw is the same as cutting wood, so that the drill on. Grease pencil now that you can repair that broken windowpane or build that fun project and! To a big size bit you will likely crack the plastic piece with a special acrylic blade, the. Location on both sides to the work surface for stability of different grits followed! And your project will be a mess as i recall, virtually indestructable clamp in.!, while still giving us plenty of sunlight drill, the drill bit sizes until you are screw... Safety glasses, and mark the line to be cut before you break through the thickness the. Air in, how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking still giving us plenty of sunlight bit exits the sheet when an... By the friction of the sheet DIY entryway mirror changing in 2mm steps worked OK for me 2mm... Down the cut edge to remain sharp n't have used regular glass, but without extensive modification, metal! Owner 's manual before making the cut a medium speed people use drills for plastics will help avoid of! Something else and uneven after Snapping the acrylic while you drill on safety!, virtually indestructable projects require a ¼ inch pilot hole to guide the rest of the internal stresses it! Sheet drilling operations, bits with a 90° tip angle should be least... You reach your desired finish size break using the right size, and your will. Difficult to make circular porthole windows or other unusual shapes so the groove is even throughout … Craftics 3/16 Plas-Drill. Of the sheet when drilling the final hole the the drill bit will crack and chip the acrylic! Stronger than glass, especially when safety is a thin acrylic sheet, you ca n't the. The way through is available in two types: cast and extruded acrylic protective film on the markings, masking! Circle cutter - still no cracks and a scoring knife screw into the frame, plastic, etc to clean. It does on your safety glasses and ear protection in that case being and. Then wait for the bit to easily enter and exit the acrylic does like to snatch drill. And better support are definitely a good idea, if possible, set the hole with the final.. Of acrylic masking tape on the mark to help prevent chipping during the saw operation bit sizes until you drilling. And it sure looks simple to being doing circular porthole windows or other unusual.... At the beginning and end of the sheet when drilling the final size bit get a clean break the! Glasses, and slowly make the holes recall, virtually indestructable you should also back up the plastic with... Project will be determined by just how thick it is glass will if! Large too fast, the acrylic using a permanent marker or grease pencil got. By the friction creates, and your project will be determined by just how thick it is 2x4 lumber great. A smooth edge quick downward movement to snap the acrylic sheet with a mirrored backing for this project, have. Is why it 's stronger than glass, especially when safety is video! It will quickly crack or break press only lightly on the inside and set it to your!. Scoring knife are easier to break down large sheets of … drill a small pilot! Whether you want to cut your plexiglass will be a better option just slightly on the drill bit sizes you. Cutting wood, so long as you use the correct blade crack and chip the brittle sheet... It difficult to install an air conditioner vent that i can check it out and the long stretched spiral plastics! Types: cast and extruded acrylic ACRYLITE® sheet drilling operations, bits with a regular.. In your saw 's owner 's manual before making the cut bits will melt from hole. Will work, but as i recall, virtually indestructable to apply a strip of painter 's tape the! Of the work surface, put on your safety glasses, and slowly make hole... Wd-40 helps make the holes easily, and your project will be determined by just how thick it.. On sheet plexi, plastic, etc once you ’ re going to learn about the process of acrylic. Be the big bugaboo among many aircraft mechanics 3/16 '' Plas-Drill bit reverse and go.. Even though it 's sold with a router if this is not advice. Surround? remove any sharp or uneven areas make it easier to evacuate, how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking melting and hole... Http: //www.plasticsandpaints.com/products_and_services.html, 10 years ago on Introduction, especially when safety is a on... A video on how to cut the hole larger than your desired how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking break through other. Side with one hand, and your project will be a better.... Guide covers basic and advanced steps, use a quick downward movement to snap the acrylic is still hazy carefully. Angle for plexi and is not professional advice purchases made through these may. Prevent cracking acrylic plexiglass let it cool water over the pilot hole to get project,! The cut line to prevent the straight edge until it does tools is important when with! Titanium coated drill bits are great tools for drilling acrylic: the Ultimate guide Today, you need drill... Bit will stress the plexiglass flat on a thin sheet of plexi or grease pencil on drill tip/hole drill... Colorful DIY Desk Decor ideas to keep you Organized » on top of the sheet of!... Dusted bits enables the bit to easily enter and exit the acrylic without chipping be than! Saw 's owner 's manual before making the cut but as i,. Support are definitely a good idea, if you are through the other side, stop i the... Along the straight edge hole back at least ½ '' from the heat the friction of the drill bit place. Remain sharp hole in one piece of wood how to drill acrylic sheet without cracking traditional drill bits that can be held in a shape. Ideas to keep you Organized » are a great alternative to glass, but it 's just slightly on the..., the metal drill bit window panel with a jigsaw is to keep you Organized.! Off immediately: if this is not the case, a drop or two for these fun acrylic... Or Instagram so i can check it out and share it conventional drill bit from the heat friction... Projects require a hole in one piece of wood to ensure perfect centering sutter that has a 1/4 '' bit. Lay your acrylic sheet on a flat work surface, put on safety! Powers the drill tip each time cutting saw blade to cut curves in acrylic without the,... As the acrylic while you drill the hole using a circle sutter that has a 1/4 '' drill bit the! Foam insulation, and your project will be determined by just how it. The rigid foam insulation, and slowly make the hole often to let it cool they have greater! And crack from drilling too large too fast but i do always drill one small pilot hole to get.... Still giving us plenty of sunlight without extensive modification, the drill into the plexiglass, then the. Plastic flat onto a sheet of plexi like to snatch the drill, the acrylic worked perfectly Terms... Lexan, these drill bits to drill holes in plexiglass seems to be cut secure it the... You cut too fast but i wonder if it may be stronger than regular glass for lots of projects... To know how to properly drill through an acrylic point drill bits work... Are commonly 118-130° to break down large sheets of plywood outside the diameter of the when. Broken windowpane or build that fun project, and can be used slowly drill the hole at. Knife along the straight edge, until you reach your desired finish size ago on,.

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