Drilling acrylic glass: It all depends on the drill

The acrylic-specific properties of acrylic glass must be taken into account during all machining operations - including when drilling acrylic. You will find out in the following guide what you need to pay attention to when drilling acrylic glass.

PMMA, polymethyl methacrylate, acrylic and Plexiglas drill

The technical name of acrylic glass is polymethyl methacrylate or in the short form PMMA. Colloquially, acrylic is also known under the brand name "Plexiglas". The chemist Dr. It was Otto Röhm in the 1930s who made acrylic glass ready for series production and then applied for a patent.

His plexiglass has become a great success and since then, the brand name synonymous with acrylic glass for many consumers. So whether you want to drill polymethyl methacrylate, PMMA, acrylic or Plexiglas - it is always the same material with similar basic properties.

The choice of the right drill for acrylic glass

As with so many other machining steps, choosing the right tooling is crucial, even when drilling acrylic glass. The following drills can be used to edit Plexiglas:

  • Plastic drill
  • HSS drills (metal)
  • diamond drill

Plastic and HSS drills

Basically, plastic drills are the perfect choice for drilling acrylic glass. HSS drills still need to be "modified" for use in plastic drilling. This is how these drills cut metal, but they do not cut it. However, cutting leads to cracks, torn holes and overheating in acrylic glass. Consequently, you must sharpen the two cutting angles of the HSS drill until it forms an acceptable chip.

Diamond drill for high speeds

Diamond drills are especially suitable if you have to drill at very high speeds. The bore wall of the hole remains crystal clear. Should this not be the case with other drilling techniques, there are different tricks to get the holes clear again - permanently or temporarily.

Get muddy drill holes clear again

Permanently, by using a small brush to dilute liquid acrylic glass, diluted (liquified) with solvents (such as nitro thinner), into the hole. Temporarily (but over a longer period of time), you clear the acrylic glass well by brushing it with oil. However, the oil also absorbs a lot of dirt in the long run and binds it visibly.

The drilling of acrylic glass: feed and speed

In addition to the drill, feed rate and speed of the drill are now crucial. Specifying a precise speed / min makes no sense, since the size of the drill and the feed rate depend on it. As a rule of thumb, however, you can keep in mind that the chip produced during drilling must not break. Feed, speed / rpm and drill dimensions are then matched. But if you have to drill at a fast speed, the acrylic glass must be cooled.

Suitable drills

From the explanation of feed and speed, it can be deduced again that working with a drill press is always preferable to a hand drill. On the one hand, it is difficult to achieve an exact, vertical drilling channel. On the other hand, it can pull up the acrylic glass on the drill bit, tilt it and, in the worst case, break it. There is also a risk of injury that should not be underestimated.

Tips & Tricks

After drilling, you can also mill the hole from the acrylic glass. The burr created during drilling is thus removed. In addition, countersunk screws are often used especially for acrylic glass. Again, a hole must be lowered.

Drills that you use for acrylic glass should only be used for this plastic. Due to the wrong cutting angle, special plastic drills are unsuitable for other materials, which also applies to a specially prepared HSS drill.

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