How to Drill Holes Into Plastic Without Cracking

How to Drill Holes Into Plastic?

To drill holes into plastic, it is important to choose the correct type of drill and use proper techniques.

Recommended drill bits for plastic include dowel bits or spur-point drill bits, twist HSS drill bits, and step drills.

Dowel bits or spur-point drill bits are ideal as they have a center point and elevated spurs, ensuring straight drilling and clean-sided holes.

Twist HSS drill bits made of carbon steel can also be used, especially if they have been used before to eliminate burrs.

Step drills, with increasing diameters, can create smooth holes without burrs.

When drilling plastic, it is important to drill 1-2 mm larger than the screws to avoid cracking.

To prevent cracking, securely clamp the plastic and use a spare piece of plywood as support.

Applying painter’s tape to the drilling area can further prevent cracking.

Using a lubricant like WD40, canola oil, or vegetable oil is essential to reduce heat and remove debris.

Apply firm but gentle pressure, periodically re-lubricate the drill, and remove painter’s tape after drilling.

Expert advice is available if needed.

Key Points:

  • Choose the correct type of drill and use proper techniques for drilling holes into plastic
  • Recommended drill bits for plastic include dowel bits or spur-point drill bits, twist HSS drill bits, and step drills
  • Dowel bits or spur-point drill bits are ideal for straight drilling and clean-sided holes
  • Twist HSS drill bits made of carbon steel can be used to eliminate burrs
  • Step drills can create smooth holes without burrs
  • Drill 1-2 mm larger than the screws to avoid cracking, securely clamp the plastic, and use painter’s tape for extra protection

Did You Know?

1. Did you know that plastic, as we know it today, was invented by accident in 1907 by Belgian-American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland? He was trying to find a substitute for shellac and accidentally created the first synthetic plastic, known as Bakelite.

2. The world’s largest plastic bottle sculpture is located in Taiwan. As a part of an environmental campaign, this impressive structure was created by using 202,000 plastic bottles and measures over 34 meters in length!

3. In 1811, Alexander Parkes, an English inventor, created the first commercially successful plastic called Parkesine. Surprisingly, it was derived from natural materials like cellulose, making it one of the earliest examples of bio-plastics.

4. One of the best ways to drill holes into plastic without causing cracks or melting it is by using a technique called peck drilling. This drilling method involves drilling a short distance at a time, then pulling the bit back out to clear the chips and cool down the plastic, which reduces the risk of damaging the material.

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5. The concept of recycling plastic was introduced to the world by a Swedish film director named Ingmar Bergman. In 1969, his film “The Hour of the Wolf” featured a dystopian society where people recycled plastic as a valuable resource. This depiction influenced the perception of plastic waste and ultimately inspired real-life recycling efforts.

1. Choosing The Right Drill Bit For Plastic

When drilling holes into plastic, it is crucial to choose the correct type of drill bit to ensure uniformly shaped, clean, and undamaged holes. Using the wrong drill bit can lead to rough edges, cracking, or splintering of the plastic. Therefore, it is essential to consider the specific characteristics of different drill bits and select the most suitable one for the task at hand.

  • Selecting the right drill bit for plastic is important for achieving desired results.
  • The wrong drill bit can cause damage to the plastic, such as splintering or cracking.
  • Factors to consider when choosing a drill bit include the type of plastic and the desired hole size.
  • It is recommended to use drill bits specifically designed for plastic as they have sharper cutting edges and flutes that help remove the plastic material efficiently.
  • It is also crucial to use proper drilling techniques and apply consistent pressure to avoid overheating or melting of the plastic.
  • Regularly cleaning the drill bit during drilling can prevent the accumulation of plastic debris, resulting in cleaner holes.

“Choosing the right drill bit for plastic is crucial to ensure clean and undamaged holes.”

2. Recommended Drill Bits For Plastic

There are several drill bits that are commonly used for drilling into plastic. Two highly recommended options are dowel bits or spur-point drill bits and twist High-Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits. Additionally, step drills can also be used for drilling holes in plastic. Each of these drill bits offers unique features that contribute to creating clean and precise holes.

3. Using Dowel Bits Or Spur-Point Drill Bits

Dowel bits or spur-point drill bits are ideal for drilling holes in plastic materials. These bits have a center point and two elevated spurs that keep them straight during drilling. As a result, you get a clean-sided hole without rough edges. The center point ensures accurate positioning, while the spurs guide the bit and maintain its path. To achieve the best results with these bits, remember to apply steady pressure and maintain a slow drilling speed.

Here are some key points about dowel bits and spur-point drill bits:

  • They are well-suited for drilling plastic materials
  • They have a center point and two elevated spurs
  • The center point ensures accurate positioning
  • The spurs guide the bit and maintain its path
  • Steady pressure and slow drilling speed yield the best results
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4. Twist HSS Drill Bits For Acrylic And Plastic

Twist HSS drill bits, made of carbon steel strengthened with chromium and vanadium, can also be used for drilling plastic materials like acrylic. However, it is recommended to use a twist drill bit that has already been used at least once to eliminate any burrs that may affect the quality of the hole. Twist HSS drill bits are versatile and can handle various materials, including plastic. Again, it is important to apply consistent pressure and drill at a proper speed to avoid damaging the plastic.

5. Step Drills For Smooth And Straight Holes

Step drills, characterized by their cone-shaped design with increasing diameters, are excellent for drilling holes in plastic. The step design allows for drilling holes of different sizes without changing the drill bit. This versatility makes step drills a popular choice for various materials, including plastic. The gradual increase in diameter ensures smooth and straight sidewalls without any burrs. When using a step drill, it is important to start with a smaller diameter and gradually increase the size until the desired hole is achieved.

6. Tips For Drilling Plastic Safely

To ensure safe and successful drilling of plastic, here are a few important tips to keep in mind:

  1. Drilling Hole Size: When drilling holes for screws, it is recommended to drill the hole approximately 1-2 mm larger than the screw’s diameter. This prevents cracking or splintering around the hole.

  2. Secure Clamping: It is crucial to securely clamp the plastic before drilling and use a spare piece of plywood underneath as support. This helps prevent any unwanted movement or flexing during the drilling process.

  3. Minimize Cracking with Painter’s Tape: Applying painter’s tape to the drilling area can be helpful in minimizing the risk of cracking. The tape not only protects the surrounding plastic but also creates a visible guideline for drilling accuracy.

  4. Use a Lubricant: When drilling, it is highly recommended to use a lubricant such as WD40, canola oil, or vegetable oil. This helps reduce heat build-up during drilling and aids in the removal of debris and plastic shavings. Remember to periodically re-lubricate the drill bit while applying firm but gentle pressure for efficient drilling without overheating.

  5. Thoroughly Clean the Area: Once drilling is completed, it is important to remove the painter’s tape and clean the drilling area thoroughly. This ensures a neat finish and prevents any adhesive residue from affecting the aesthetic appearance of the plastic material.

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To achieve clean and undamaged results when drilling holes into plastic, here are some recommended drill bits:

  • Dowel bits or spur-point drill bits: These are highly recommended due to their ability to leave clean-sided holes.

  • Twist HSS drill bits: These can also be used, preferably those that have been used at least once to eliminate burrs.

  • Step drills: These are another viable option for drilling smooth and straight holes in plastic.

By following these recommendations and implementing safe drilling techniques, it is possible to drill holes into plastic without cracking or damaging the material.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drill hole in plastic?

When it comes to drilling holes in plastic, it is important to exercise caution and utilize some key tips. It is recommended to avoid drilling continuously in order to prevent overheating and potential melting of the plastic. Instead, take breaks during the drilling process. Begin drilling at a slow speed and gradually increase the speed as you progress. Additionally, it is crucial to use a clamp to secure the plastic workpiece in place, ensuring a safe drilling experience and avoiding any accidents.

Will plastic crack if I drill a hole in it?

When considering drilling holes in plastic, it is crucial to exercise caution to prevent potential cracks or splintering. While plastic is not as hard as materials like brick or metal, it is still prone to issues if not approached with care. Drilling should be done slowly and with a low amount of pressure to avoid creating cracks or fractures in the plastic. Additionally, using a drill bit specifically designed for plastic can help minimize the risk of damage.

What type of drill bit is best for plastic?

When it comes to drilling holes in plastic, the most recommended drill bit would be the spur-point drill bit, also known as dowel bits. These bits are designed with a center point and two elevated spurs, ensuring the bit remains straight during the drilling process. The unique shape and angle of these bits allow for smooth cutting and minimize stress on the plastic, resulting in cleaner and more precise holes.

What bit do you use to drill holes in plastic?

When it comes to drilling holes in plastic, the ideal choice would be a spur-point drill bit, also known as dowel bits. These bits are specifically designed to minimize stress and ensure a smooth cut while drilling in plastic. To achieve a clean and neat hole, it is advisable to slow down the drilling speed as you approach the exit point.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4