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How to drill holes on ABS plastic? Answered

Hi guys,

I have this plastic which I think is made of ABS plastic.

I need to drill a rectangular hole and and some circular holes in the container. As such, what method (milling machining/drill etc etc) should I use to achieve my goal without damaging(cracking etc) the container?

I have uploaded a pic of the container.. thanks

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lewisb42 (author)2013-02-03

In addition to the other excellent suggestions:

I've never (knowingly) drilled ABS, but I've worked with polycarbonate (Lexan) and acrylic (Plexiglass), both of which can crack very easily when drilling or cutting.

Both come with a peel-off plastic film on both sides of the sheet. Leaving that on while cutting/drilling helps tremendously. In the same vein, if you have cracking issues with the ABS, perhaps cover both sides with blue painter's tape before drilling.

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kurtselva (author)lewisb422013-02-06

Thanks everyone for the replies.

I have managed to cut the hole out using milling. Fingers were crossed during the process and thank god the container did not melt or crack..

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oldmicah (author)2013-02-02

I've had good luck with normal drill bits. Start with a small bit, go slow (both bit speed and how hard you push), and clamp it down. If the plastic melts to the bit, it can whip around. For the rectangular hole, drill out several smaller holes in a row and then file/dremmel it to a rectangular shape.

Find some broken toy of similar plastic to experiment with first, but I don't think you are goin to have a proble.

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oldmicah (author)oldmicah2013-02-02

Ooh, and if you can take off the case, fit a wood block in it to support the plastic during drilling. For cases with complex interior support, I've also flipped it over and drilled from the inside while its resting on sacrificial wood.

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kurtselva (author)oldmicah2013-02-03

Thanks.

ACtually I am very sure that the plastic is ABS. If that is the case, would be it still be ok to drill and file?
Are there other more accurate machining?

I am just worried that the container would crack

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kurtselva (author)kurtselva2013-02-03

Typo in the earlier: I am *NOT very sure that the plastic is ABS

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Kiteman (author)oldmicah2013-02-03

Having spent a lot of time with kids drilling plastic, I would recommend either a wood bit (first image, note tip) or a step bit (second image).

Absolutely support the back of the plastic with a block of wood, and prevent skidding on the face by adding a patch of masking tape.

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