Drilling polycarbonate sheet is not difficult if you have good tools and are drilling the right kind of polycarbonate sheet. Polycarbonate (or PC) is available in two types: solid and twin wall polycarbonate. The twin wall type is, in fact, unsuitable for drilling: because of the internal stresses, it will quickly crack or break. Drilling it is not impossible, but great caution is required. Drilling in solid polycarbonate sheet is easy to do; in this article, we give you some tips to make drilling polycarbonate a piece of cake.
Requirements for machining acrylic sheets:
Drill polycarbonate sheet in increasing thicknesses.
Drilling machine with variable speeds
Glue clamps or locking pliers
Slats for support
Base wood plate in which the drill can run out
Preparations for drilling acrylic sheet.
When drilling polycarbonate, it is important that the sheet is well supported. Place the sheet on a flat surface that supports it well and which the drill can run in to, for example, a wood board. If possible, you can also clamp the polycarbonate sheet along the borehole/boreholes by placing one or more slats along the boreholes and clamping them with glue clamps. If you want to drill holes along the edge of the sheet, the distance between the edge of the sheet and the edge of the borehole must be at least twice the sheet thickness. If the sheet is 4 mm thick, then the distance between its edge and the edge of the hole is 8 mm.
Do not mark the drill holes directly on the polycarbonate or on the protective film. Always stick masking tape onto the polycarbonate sheet and mark the drill hole on this. It is advisable to also stick masking tape to the underlying side, especially with thinner plates (thinner than 5mm).
You can drill polycarbonate with a normal steel drill or an HSS drill. It is important that the drill is not brand new, as the sharp cutting angle can cause the drill to bite into the sheet, causing it to tear. If you drill a few holes in wood or aluminum first, the sharp edge will be worn down a little and you can then use the drill for drilling polycarbonate.
Drilling holes in polycarbonate sheet.
Place the drill perpendicular to the polycarbonate sheet and set the drill to medium speed immediately. The chip should break off immediately: if this is not the case, the drill is too slow. Press only lightly on the drill, the drill must sink itself through the material. Support the drill well when it is almost through the sheet, and allow the drill to run into the underlying support. Let the drill continue turning while you lift it out of the hole.
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