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How to Drill Plexiglass

Plexiglass, sometimes called transparent thermoplastic, acrylic, Lucite and Perspex is a polymer that is often used as an alternative to glass. Valued for being shatter-resistant, plexiglass is used on construction projects that require durable, light plastic. Unfortunately, it can be brittle under certain force and scratch easily, so it must be handled with care while you are working with it. There are a number of plexiglass-safe tools and techniques that can be used to avoid cracking or melting the material. This article will tell you how to drill plexiglass.


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    Wear safety goggles. Acrylic chips can easily fly off during drilling and be a health hazard.
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    Buy a plexiglass drill or plexiglass drill bits that can be used with a regular drill. These bits have a different geometric structure that is designed to puncture acrylic more easily and they are less likely to melt plexiglass. They are available in hardware stores and online.
    • You can also use a drill press working at about 500 to 1000 RPM. Acrylic drill bits are available for drill presses.
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    Practice with smaller pieces of scrap acrylic before attempting to drill into a large sheet.
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    Place your plexiglass sheet on top of a piece of scrap plexiglass, (one that is already ruined), or a piece of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF.) This will make it less likely that you will chip the back of the board or scratch it when the drill bit goes through.
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    Clamp both sheets to a secure surface. Use as many clamps as is necessary to secure the sheet. For larger sheets you will need more clamps.
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    Make sure that the hole you will cut is not near the edge of the plexiglass piece. Acrylic is known for chipping near the edge when it is punctured.
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    Plug in your drill or place a charged battery inside it. Turn the drill on.
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    Start to drill slowly into the sheet of plexiglass. You do not need to center punch acrylic like you do with metal.
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    Keep a steady, slow pace. Aim for a feed rate of about 3.5 inches (89mm) per minute. Acrylic drill bits will produce plastic shavings. Once they start to surround the drill bit, you can stop and remove them to get a better view of what you are doing.
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    If your sheet is thick, do peck drilling, going a little at the time so that you can remove the shavings from your hole and allow the drill time to cool. This will also help to prevent melting.


  • It is possible to drill acrylic with regular metal drill bits; however, the likelihood of melting, chipping, cracking or breaking the acrylic is much higher. Ensure you go slow, stop often to cool the drill and always support the sheet.
  • For cleaner holes, stop the drilling as soon as you puncture the opposite side, un-clamp the sheet, turn it over and drill through the other side in the same place.


  • Do not touch pieces of acrylic immediately after you stop drilling. They are very hot. Remove them with a utensil only.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Plexiglass/Acrylic drill bits
  • Clamps
  • Plexiglass drill (optional)
  • Medium Density Fiberboard (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Glass and Stained Glass Projects