If you have the right bits, drilling holes into plastic will be fairly simple. With that said, there are a few things you’ll need to know before you reach for your drill. Plastic does not require heavy-duty drilling. It is a brittle material, however, and there are a few other challenges that can make it a little harder to work with than you may think. Besides cracks and splinters, you could also end up with melted plastic if you use the wrong bit or if your drill bit overheats. If you choose the right bits and work carefully, you’ll have no trouble. In this guide, we’ll share a few helpful things to make it easier to drill holes into plastic.
How to Drill Holes into Plastic
For best results, you want to drill holes into plastic, cleanly and smoothly. From having the right bits on hand to drilling carefully, these tips will get you started.
Choose your bits
You can use basic multi-purpose drill bits for plastic. These bits are incredibly versatile for a wide range of projects and materials. A set will allow you to choose the best bit for the hole you are making. If the plastic is very hard plastic, you can also use a Standard Metal HSS Drill Bit, which will get through the plastic easily without cracking. Whichever you use, make sure that the bits are made of quality materials that will get the job done without leaving jagged edges. Poor-quality bits can ruin your material and your drill. As you are working with a material that melts more easily than other materials, you don’t want to risk cheap bits that overheat or get stuck in the hole you are drilling.
Follow safety guidelines
Plastic has a few qualities that you need to be aware of to stay safe when drilling. When drilling any material, you will need to follow basic guidelines such as wearing goggles and using gloves. With plastic, you will also need to consider when working with certain types of plastic. Some types, such as ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) or PS (Polystyrene) plastic may release toxic fumes. Using a gas mask to protect yourself when working with these plastics is the best way to avoid fumes. Working in a well-ventilated space is also essential. Like metal, plastic releases chips when you drill. Although these are not as hard as metal, they can still pose a safety risk. They can also melt into the drill if not cleared away from the drill bit frequently. If plastic overheats, there is a big risk of a melted mess sticking into the drill, the hole and the work surface.
Start drilling carefully
Secure the plastic on a flat workspace using clamps. Use a pen and tape to mark off the centre of the hole you want to drill. An HSS drill that has been used before, meaning that it is not as sharp as brand-new bits can help to make smoother holes. Hold the drill perpendicular to the plastic, then start drilling slowly and carefully. Use the slowest setting at first and don’t force the drill through the material. Stop drilling if you notice any shavings starting to melt. Once you get to the other side, ensure that the plastic is still fully supported. Don’t stop the drill when you’ve drilled the hole - instead, turn the drill into reverse mode and carefully remove the drill back through the hole. You can sand the hole you have just made to remove any rough edges.
To get started, you can find premium quality drill bits at Ruwag that will make drilling holes into plastic less of a challenge.