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Thread: How do you drill 1" holes in polycarbonate sheets

  1. #16
    "Just to provide a place for waste to go?"

    yes.

  2. #17
    When the hole absolutely must be perfect, as in an eye wear display, I use a router. I predrill an 1/8" or so small than route with a template. A forstner with a solid backing will work, doesnt leave as clean an edge.

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    The first thing you need to understand is polycarbonate and acrylic are two different beasts. Acrylic will chip where as polycarb will tear. One of the easiest ways to make multiple holes the same size would be with a plunge router with a straight bit. A simple round wood template that you can clamp onto the sheet would work well. You just want to avoid the plastic getting too hot and the material being removed removed from melting.
    How do you tell the difference between plastics?
    Mocked up a crown guard for the tablesaw before, but not too keen on using it as I don't know if it would shatter or not.
    Sorry if this is OT
    Thanks folks
    Tom

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Trees View Post
    How do you tell the difference between plastics?
    Mocked up a crown guard for the tablesaw before, but not too keen on using it as I don't know if it would shatter or not.
    Sorry if this is OT
    Thanks folks
    Tom
    Take a piece of scrap and try to bend it. Polycarbonate is very soft and you can actually bend it in a sheet metal brake to 90 degrees. Acrylic will shatter as soon as you try the slightest bend. Polycarbonate is also so soft you can take a curl on the edge with a sharp hand plane. Acrylic, you get little chips if anything

  5. #20
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    You can tap on the edge with something like a hammer, polycarb sounds dull, like it's soft. But that's more of an experience thing. Usually polycarb will have a better protective plastic or maybe paper on it (since it costs more). Often the protective coating will state that it's polycarb. Sometimes the factory edge will be cut with a sheer (something you can't do with plexiglass). Any glass shop should be able to tell you what you have.

  6. #21
    Thanks guys.
    I will go looking for some suitable polycarbonate so, as the stuff I have is brittle(ish).
    I remember seeing perspex in school, would that be suitable alternative to polycarbonate for a crown guard?


    Tom

  7. #22
    Forstner bits work extremely well in both acrylic and polycarbonate, particularly in a drill press, though they might tend to leave a rough edge on breakout, even when using a clean backer block. This roughness can be easily cleaned up with a countersink or chamfer follower router bit. To avoid this rough edge, begin by drilling a tiny pilot hole though the workpiece; center the Forstner bit on the pilot hole and drill ~halfway through from both sides; this may leave a slight mismatch in bore centers if you're not careful.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Tampa Bay, FL
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    So I took the 1-1/4" hole saw route. Put plywood above and below, with precut holes in the plywood above to guide the bits (really not necessary - this was in a drill press).

    I went very slowly, with slow drill speed, and frequently removing debris (a bunch of which seemed melted, but the holes came out pretty clean).

    Perhaps not the best approach, though I'm really not sure. But it did the task, and now I can paint and install the router table door.
    If you drive at the speed of light, do your headlights work? - Steven Wright

    If a man points at the moon, an idiot will look at the finger.

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    How about a step drill?
    Bingo!!! I do this frequently.

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