How to Drill Acrylic Sheets Effectively

Acrylic sheets (Perspex sheets, for example) are very popular among DIYers because they offer several advantages (such as being lightweight) over other materials. However, great care must be taken when working with this material. This article discusses some tips that you should keep in mind when drilling acrylic sheets.

Secure the Sheets

Acrylic sheets can easily crack if caution is not taken when drilling them. It is important that you secure the sheets on a surface (such as a table) before you start drilling. You can use clamps to hold the acrylic in place so that it does not move as you drill it.

Pause Often

Drill bits can overheat and cause the acrylic sheet to melt around the heat affected zone. Avoid this problem by pausing often during the drilling process. Pausing is particularly important if you are drilling though a thick sheet of acrylic. The pause will allow the drill bit to cool. You can also use the pause to remove the shavings inside the hole that you are drilling.

Turn the Sheet

A trick to help you to have cleaner holes in acrylic sheets is to turn it over after drilling through it. Wait until the drill bit creates a hole through the sheet. Next, unclamp the sheet and turn it over so that the side that was up is now facing down. Place the drill inside the hole and start drilling through that hole. This action will remove any burrs in the edges of the hole.

Regulate the Drill Speed

It is not advisable to drill quickly through acrylic sheets because several risks can occur. First, the drill bit will overheat (as already mentioned) and melt the sheet. Secondly, the shavings will scratch the surface of the sheet as they are ejected at a high speed. Avoid these risks by sticking to the lowest speed possible on your drilling machine. This slow pace will also allow you to keep a close eye on how well you are sticking to the drill site that you had marked before you started drilling.

It may be advisable to practice on a scrap piece of Perspex so that you are sure that you will not ruin your acrylic sheet when making the actual holes (for securing the sheet on a table, for example). Talk to a Perspex supplier for additional help in case you face a challenge that you had not anticipated during the drilling process.