Drilling into plex


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Oct 3, 2004
Santa Fe
A customer wants a deep blue frame in my shop and into it goes a matted small watercolor with some writing on the back foamcore. I was thinking building up the space with more foamcore between the final signed board and the matted artwork and get a piece of plex to screw into the frame from the back, because she wants to see the writing. I want to ad a sawtooth hanger instead of the usual wiring. My question is that, since I don't have much experience with plex, how hard is it to screw into plex and hammer in the hanger. Would the plex break? Thanks for all comments.
Whatever you do,don't hammer. Drill pilot holes the size of your screws (i.e. #4,#6,#8)so the screw fits thru plex and then simply screw into the wood. Careful not to tighten to hard, and I suggest using flat washers to be safe.
Just been drilling plexi. Here's what I have found - use a dremel! Keep the paper on the plexi - it workes a little bit better to drill - IMO. I have tried larger holes with a standard drill and don't think I would do it again - they crack out. The dremel makes nice small holes that you can easily put small brass screws through. Why sawtooth? Why not wall-buddies. It's really easy with a dremel - try it on some scrap plexi!
Plexi drills work best. They are different in that they have a sharp point ground into them. They usually can be bought at companies that sell plexiglass. Conventional bits have a tendency to grab as the flute start to break through the bottom the hole. It can be done with standard bits but you have to back off on the down feed pressure so that you scraped the last bit of plastic. Make sure you have adequate support where you are drilling (no previous holes in wood). WD40 helps to cool and prevent grabbing. In deep plastic it helps to pump the chips out of the cavity and it cools the bit. Heat is your enemy with plastic. Also be sure to have your material securely anchored or it could grab and bitch slap you.

The pointed drills are much more forgiving. For best results use cast acrylic rather than extruded.

Another good bit for plexi is the unibit step bit with the appropriate lubricant. Smaller discreet steps are better.