Drilling holes into plastic may seem straightforward, but it requires meticulous care and the right techniques to avoid damaging the material. Plastic, though sturdy, can crack or splinter if not supervised correctly while drilling. This guide will provide you with what you need to know when drilling holes into plastic so that the process is clean, smooth, and easy to manage if something goes wrong.
Use the Correct Drill Bit When Drilling Holes in Plastic
The first thing to consider when drilling into plastic is the type of drill bit you’re using. Not all drill bits are suitable for every material. The best drill bits for plastic are those specifically designed to go through malleable materials. So drill bits like auger or diamond-coated pieces are ideal because they have a pointy tip and less aggressive flutes, preventing plastic from cracking or melting due to excessive heat. Using the correct drill bit not only ensures a clean hole but also extends the lifespan of your plastic item.
Maintain the Right Speed and Pressure
Maintaining proper drill speed and applying consistent pressure is crucial when drilling into plastic. Too much speed generates heat, which can melt or deform the plastic. So the best recommendation is to drill slowly and not apply too much pressure, as excessive strains crack the plastic. Take your time, and let the drill do the work.
Use a Backing Board
Using a backing board when drilling plastic can prevent cracking or tearing at the exit point of the hole. The backing board, made from wood or another soft material, goes directly behind the plastic. As the drill bit passes through the plastic and enters the backing board, it helps support the plastic material, ensuring a clean exit hole. This method enhances the quality of your hole.
Deburr the Hole
You may notice the edges on the plastic are rough or have small plastic burrs after drilling. Before moving on to other steps, you need to remove these burrs to avoid injury or damaging the hole. Use a deburring tool, a small file, or sandpaper—they do the job just as well! Lightly run the tool around the edges until you’ve removed the burrs and the edges feel smooth.
Keep the Plastic Cool
Temperature control is crucial when drilling into plastic. Using too much heat can deform or melt the plastic, and the best prevention for this is to place tiny amounts of water to help cool the plastic while drilling. A small spritz of water can make a significant difference. Also, take breaks drilling to prevent overheating and protect the lifespan of the plastic and drill bit.
Drilling holes into plastic requires the right tools, technique, and patience. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a clean, professional finish, whether working on a small home project or a larger industrial task. Following this information on what you need to know when drilling into plastic will simplify this daunting task. So go on and drill holes with confidence!