Table of Contents
Drilling through certain materials requires a lot more care and attention and if this is not given, there is a very real risk of damage.
Lexan is one such material if it isn’t handled correctly and if you aren’t careful, it’s all too easy to damage it meaning you’ll have to start over with a fresh sheet. This is frustrating, not to mention not very cost-effective.
The good news is that Lexan is also very durable and resistant but it needs to be treated in the right way to avoid damage.
If you’ve been wondering how to drill Lexan without breaking it, you’re in the right place.
Lexan is much more resistant than its close cousin, Plexiglass, but you still need to take care. The best way to drill a clean hole without causing additional damage is to make a pilot hole with a small bit then work your way up in bit size until you reach your desired hole size.
In this guide, we’ll be getting better acquainted with Lexan and its properties as giving you an easy step by step guide on drilling it. Before you know it, you’ll be confidently handling this material with very few problems.
What Is Lexan?
Lexan is a polycarbonate resin thermoplastic that is used for a whole host of applications. You may see it being used in car headlamps, DVDs, kitchen accessories and even bulletproof glass! It’s nothing if not versatile.
Being a polycarbonate resin thermoplastic, Lexan is known for its ability to undergo significant stress without risk of breaking. Moreover, these types of materials, of which Lexan is just one, will deform when exposed to extremely hot temperatures.
These properties make Lexan one of the most versatile materials with the perfect balance between durability and flexibility. Consider this; one sheet of Lexan is up to 250 times stronger than a sheet of glass of the same dimensions.
Are Lexan And Plexiglass The Same Thing?
Some people may use the terms Lexan and Plexiglass interchangeably but they are not the same thing. In fact, these are both brand names for polycarbonate and acrylic sheets.
In much the same way that you might call a vacuum cleaner a Hoover or a cola flavoured drink Coke, Lexan and Plexiglass have earned the same reputation.
The main difference between the two is that Lexan is a brand of polycarbonate while Plexiglass is a type of acrylic sheet. They do share some similar properties and are often used as an alternative to glass thanks to both being shatterproof.
Plexiglass is normally more clear than Lexan and it tends to be a little more affordable. However, while it is durable, it’s not as flexible as Lexan and this rigidity means that it is more susceptible to cracking. Therefore, if you are going to choose one of these materials for drilling, Lexan would be the better choice.
How To Drill Lexan Without Cracking It
One of the great things about Lexan is that, while there is a risk of it cracking when it’s not done properly, you can usually drill through it without too many problems.
Problems are not usually associated with cracks but more with dents and scratches. The annoying thing is that, unlike other materials, once scratches occur on Lexan, it is nigh on impossible to buff them out. So, when you’re drilling, it pays to be extra careful.
Here is our easy to follow guide on how to drill Lexan without causing any damage:
- Start by laying your piece of Lexan onto a flat surface such as a workbench and clamp it into place.
- Take a guide and, using a suitable pen, mark out exactly where you would like to make the hole.
- If the sheet is not very thick, it is a good idea to give it a little extra protection by adding some pieces of masking tape on the underside of where you intend to drill.
- Choosing the right drill bit is important and for polycarbonate materials like Lexan, a regular HSS drill bit will work well. However, you can also use an iron drill should you prefer. Try not to use a brand new drill bit as this may be too sharp for the material. That said, you don’t want a blunt one either.
- Making a pilot hole will reduce the risk of causing any type of damage and you can do this in one of two ways; either use a carbide-tipped scribe followed by a punch or go for a soldering iron. The latter is less recommended but it will work.
- Once you have your pilot hole, take your drill at a medium speed and place it perpendicularly to the material.
- Don’t rush the drilling, this can be a cause of damage. Take your time and drill slowly and carefully.
Lexan is a versatile and durable material that is fortunately much easier to drill than Plexiglass. There’s a very slim chance of it cracking during drilling but you may experience problems with scratches and dents if you aren’t careful.
Our guide on how to drill Lexan gives you an easy way to make holes in your material safely and without damage.