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Drilling plexi-glass/lexan

This is a discussion on Drilling plexi-glass/lexan within the How-To forums, part of the General Rhino category; Anyone know how to drill thru plexi-glass. Do you need a special drill bit, and is it slow speed or high speed. I just got ...


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Old 03-17-2009, 03:43 AM
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Drilling plexi-glass/lexan

Anyone know how to drill thru plexi-glass. Do you need a special drill bit, and is it slow speed or high speed. I just got the windshield plexi-glass and clamps, but dont want to break it trying to drill the four mounting holes.

Figured I would ask first before I screw it up.
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Old 03-17-2009, 04:34 AM
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You can grind your own or buy them. You want a long point that is slow to break through the substrate, usually 55-60 degrees for material up to .25 inches thick. Also, it should have about a 15 degree clearance angle on the cutting portion of the flute so as not to have a tendency to grab the material and "pull" itself through. This also allows for chip clearance to minimize heating and to get the chips out. Too much spindle speed will melt the acrylic and too little will produce irregular shaped holes. Dish soap works well as a lubricant and helps control over heating. It's always best to do some practice holes in some scrap before working on your project. You can probably find a plastics drill at the home center but I have not looked. Or you can get them here. Hope this helps.

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Old 03-17-2009, 05:06 AM
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i just found the wright size bit and drilled it. i made lots of them and no problems. you can center punch also. start with a smaller bit first if your worried about it.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:24 AM
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Here's how we do it in aircraft.

1. use the right tool: ACRYLIC DRILL BITS from Aircraft Spruce
2. warm up the windscreen with a 500 watt work light
3. NO PRESSURE when drilling
4. drill SLOWWWWWWWW
5. make sure to have a solid surface behind the windscreen where you are drilling
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:37 AM
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sorry spm272 i thought you were drilling lexan. plexi glass is much more brittle.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:16 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by jerry from PA View Post
sorry spm272 i thought you were drilling lexan. plexi glass is much more brittle.
Had me confused too, the topic says. plexi glass/lexan

I bought some plastic bits from lowes and turn the drill fast and let it do the work not pushing at all.

The above mentioned on aircraft is perfect.

If it is lexan then you won't break it.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:53 AM
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You can also use a Unibit - It is a step bit. You can get them at Home Depot. It is made for use on plastic and metal. They cost between $15.00 to $35.00 depending on the size you get.
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Old 03-17-2009, 07:25 AM
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Like someone mentioned above use no pressure, let the bit pull itself through. Keep the plastic covering over it to as you drill it, might stop some scratching from shavings.
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Old 03-17-2009, 07:51 AM
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This was not a step bit, looks like a normal bit but the tip is different.

I think they call it a plastic laminate bit.

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Old 03-17-2009, 08:12 AM
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It will crack as the bit breaks through the other side if you push at all. I always went really slow with a brand new bit that was only used for plexi.
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:22 AM
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PlexiGlass and Lexan are jsut brand names..... Kind of like Coke and Pepsi.

What are you trying to drill thru? Polycarbonate (Lexan) or acrylic (PLexiGlass)? What thickness?

With either one this will work.

Get and old drill bit and drill it into concrete or brick to dull it..... Then drill into the acrylic/polycarb at low speed with very little pressue. It is slow but it will work.

If you have any other questions just let me know. I used to own a plastic factory.
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Old 03-17-2009, 02:02 PM
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My bad, I thought it was the same thing. I just called the place that I bought it from and its plexi-glass ( 1/4" thick). I will try Lowes first for the plastic laminate bit, if not I saw acrylic bits on Ebay, and try the 500 watt light to warm it. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 03-17-2009, 03:19 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by SPM272 View Post
My bad, I thought it was the same thing. I just called the place that I bought it from and its plexi-glass ( 1/4" thick). I will try Lowes first for the plastic laminate bit, if not I saw acrylic bits on Ebay, and try the 500 watt light to warm it. Thanks for the replies.
Plexiglass is acrylic.... So you have 1/4" acrylic. Are you going to use it for a winshield? If you are it needs to be hardcoated or the first time you wipe it down it willl scratch.

Lexan MR10 is better to use for a windshield. It has a hardcoating on it.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:15 AM
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Im sure all the fancy bits are better but i just used a regular Dewalt brand wood drill bit and went really slow with no pressure. Ive made three windshields for Rhino's that way. No problems but maybe I have just been lucky.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:23 PM
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put the drill in reverse burn through on high. also famica jigsaw blades teeth point downward so that it doesn't cause splits in the material.
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