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Tip O' The Day

Tip O' The Day

Starting really tiny holes on really hard acrylic    




Submitted By:

   Andrew Gorman


   I was having a heck of a time drilling #70 holes into a domed acrylic gem from the craft store in order to turn it into a gun turret. Acrylic is very hard, and the tiny drill bit would flex and skitter over the surface. When and where it would finally bite in was almost up to chance. Because the surface was very hard and curved in three dimensions my attempts to center punch the hole with a compass point were not working either. I finally chucked a straight pin into my pin vise, heated it red hot in a candle flame, and carefully melted the hole in. Finally, an accurately placed pilot hole! Scrape off the plastic that hardened around the entry, finish off the hole with the drill bit, and you're done. A few tips I picked up in 10 minutes of doing this are:

  1. Don't let the plastic harden around the pin- it can be a bear to get out. Heating the opposite end of the pin can free up a truly stuck one.
  2. The soot that eventually builds up on the needle is your friend, acting as a release agent. I remember burning sprue to get choking clouds of black smoke to use as mold release in lead soldier molds. Explains a bit, eh?
  3. As always, use a little common sense. You are dealing with open flame and a red hot needle.
This trick made my life easier for a brief shining moment-hope others find it useful too!

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Tips database last updated 21 July 2014

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This page copyright ©1999-2022 .
Previously updated on 9 May 2007 and 26 August 2014. Source last updated on 11 September 2022.

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This page copyright ©1999-2022 . Previously updated on 9 May 2007 and 26 August 2014. Source last updated on 11 September 2022.