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How to Drill Acrylic Sheets 

Written by MS
26/07/2021 10:00:20


One of the primary benefits of acrylic (Perspex) plastic is how versatile the material is. You can use acrylic in a wide range of home and garden DIY projects at a relatively low cost. The plastic itself is easy to work with, cut, drill, and join, making it the perfect material for both amateurs and professional builders. 
 
In last week’s guide, we thought all about the primary five methods of cutting/sawing acrylic panels to any size or shape. To check out that guide, make sure to click here. This week, our focus is shifting slightly as we explain how you can drill acrylic sheets, panels, and other products at home. 
 
Here at The Plastic People, we supply both clear and coloured acrylic sheets to customers across the UK. What’s more is, we cut our plastic panels to any size or shape here on-site, completing all the hard work for you! When ordering, you can also choose to add pre-drilled holes, polished corners, and more. 
 
To get an instant quote on your plastic material today, make sure to check out our online calculator. Click here to find out more and order your acrylic sheets today!
 
Why drill acrylic?
 
Before we get into the actual process and preparation for drilling acrylic sheets, we are going to think about some reasons why you might want holes drilled into your plastic. Primarily, our customers require holes drilled in their acrylic to mount the plastic to a wall. 
 
This is because acrylic is an ideal material to use as a glass alternative throughout the home. It is half the weight of glass and shatterproof, making it both safer and more durable. For instance, you could use two clear sheets of acrylic as a picture frame for family photos or artwork. We offer bespoke framing services too - click here to find out more. 
 
Another key use of acrylic is as a mirror. Our customers have used plastic mirrors in a wide range of scenarios, including in bathrooms, kitchens, gardens, and to make their very own mirrored wardrobes and furniture. While you can glue acrylic mirrors in place, they can also be screwed into the wall. Click here to find out more about plastic mirrors. 
 
What tools do you need?
 
As drilling acrylic is a fairly straightforward process, you probably already have the tools you need around the home:
  • Clamps or weights to secure the sheet in place
  • Standard steel or HSS drill bits
  • Marker pen 
  • Masking tape 
  • Safety goggles 
 
How to prepare acrylic for drilling
 
Now, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure your acrylic is ready to be drilled. By following this advice, you are less likely to cause damage to or break your acrylic sheet during the drilling process. 
  • Do not use a brand-new drill bit: It may sound slightly counterproductive, but you want to ensure your drill bit has been worn down slightly before use on plastic. You can do this by drilling a few holes into a scrap piece of wood or aluminium. Brand new drill bits are too sharp to cut plastic, and so the teeth may tear at and crack your acrylic. 
 
  • Mark where you are going to drill: Do not try to drill acrylic freehand as your holes are unlikely to line up correctly. If you plan to drill holes along the edge of acrylic, the distance between the edge of your sheet and the edge of your boreholes must be at least double the thickness of your plastic. For example, if your acrylic is 5mm thick, you should drill holes at least 10mm from the edge - this helps ensure your plastic retains its structural integrity. 
 
  • Apply masking tape: Once you have decided where to drill on the acrylic, you should mark the area with masking tape, so you do not drill directly onto the plastic. By applying masking tape, you create an extra layer of resistance that will help prevent the drill bit and teeth from tearing at your material. 
 
 
How to drill acrylic 
 
Once the acrylic has been prepared for drilling and is appropriately marked, the drilling process itself is extremely easy. 
 
  1. Begin by securing your acrylic on a flat surface. Use clamps or weights to keep it in place and prevent the material from warping or spinning during the drilling process. 
 
  1. Set your drill to a medium speed and hold it perpendicular to the plastic. Lightly press the drill into the material and let it sink through - do not try to force the drill through the plastic too quickly. 
 
  1. Make sure all your holes have been drilled through completely, and are lined up correctly with the corresponding marks on your wall/another surface. You can easily clean the surface of the plastic and remove any dust or small scratches with warm, soapy water, a microfiber cloth and some plastic polish such as VuPlex.
 
Further Help
 
Drilling holes into acrylic is really that easy! If you require further guidance on any aspect of purchasing or working with acrylic, our customer services team is here to help! They can be contacted via our website (click here) or reached via email at service@theplasticpeople.co.uk. 
 
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