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Technology & Knowledge

DRILLING – AN ART IN ITSELF

Soft plastics set special requirements to the drilling tool

Generally speaking, twist drilling plastic material is possible and comparable to drilling metal materials. However, it is recommended to use special drills for plastics, since the thermal conductivity of plastic materials in general is worse than that of metals.

Therefore, drill chips and the borehole wall quickly tend to overheat, which can lead to so-called smearing. Therefore, drills for plastic materials should, according to the drilled material, have a relatively small point angle (in most cases 60° to 100° max.) and should be kept sharp at all times. Beyond that, the elongated helix (16° max.) and the wide helical flute allow for large chip volumes and ensure quick chip removal. Compared to drilling metal, the cutting speed should be reduced significantly. The latter must be considered in particular when working brittle, amorphous plastics. When drilling holes in PMMA, bits which resemble a scraper and remove material by shaving have proven to be suitable tools.

For deep holes we further recommend regularly ventilation by slightly or fully retracting the twist drill to facilitate chip removal. Reduce the feed rate just before breaking through to prevent the edges from chipping.

If drill and borehole are given sufficient time to cool down, the borehole wall should be of good quality. Adapting the drilling process to the requirements of plastic material helps to produce components with high dimensional stability.

You will find our detailed recommendations for machining in our delivery programme for semi-finished products or on our website.

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