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How To Make A Hole In Plastic Without Cracking It: Working With Plastic DIY

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How to Make a Hole in Plastic without Cracking It

Plastic is abundant in most households and industries. Most of the pipes used in houses or wiring are plastic. Some water pipes are also plastic; this makes taking care of plastic an important topic. 

Plastic has a lot of uses today, including in cars. Some have plastic components like side mirror covers. You can plant flowers in plastic containers or use them to store water or make gutters. Whatever the use, you will need to make holes or cut the plastic.

In most cases, when you try to make a hole or cut a piece of plastic, it keeps cracking. This is not only wasteful but also frustrating. You need to know how to work with plastic so let us get to it;

How to Make a Hole in Plastic without Damaging It 

The best way to make a hole in plastic without damaging it at home is to use a hot rod. Plastic melts easily, and this is what we take advantage of. You would need a rod the size of the hole you want, a fire and an insulator to hold the rod.

  1. Get a metal rod or pipe the size of the hole you want to make.
  2. Put the end of the metal rod in the fire to get it red hot. Ensure the rod is long, and you hold it with an insulator to avoid burning your hand.
  3. Take the rod and place it on the plastic as you want the holes arranged.
  4. The rod will burn through the plastic without damaging the sides or cracking it.
  5. If you are making multiple holes, you would have to put the rod back in the fire a couple of times to regain the heat.

Another way to make a hole is using a drill. Drills have a lot of power, and they have a high likelihood of breaking the plastic. You need to be careful since the sudden breaking might lead to the drill injuring you.

Here is a procedure to safely drill a hole in plastic without cracking it;

  1. Get a piece of wood that you can use to support the plastic you want to drill.
  2. Place the wood so that it will be directly under the drill when it is working. Press the plastic onto the wood to ensure that it isn’t shaky. 
  3. Place the drill head onto the point you want to make the hole and apply some pressure on it to ensure it does not skid off once you start it.
  4. Slowly start the drill; it would be best to run it in pulses to have complete control. If you turn it all the way up, it might skid off the plastic and hurt you.
  5. The drill will go through the plastic and partly into the wood. Wood is the best object to use since it doesn’t damage or overwork your drill. It is also easy to get a drill head out of wood.
  6. Run the drill again as you pull it out to make it easy and clean. You can move the piece of wood and make another hole as you move along.

How To Repair Cracked Or Broken Plastic

Accidents happen all the time, no matter how careful you are. You might use some precautions and still end up with a cracked bucket or container. 

You don’t have to throw the container away; you can easily repair plastic at home using simple tools and skills.

You could use a soldering iron using solar energy or electricity.

  1. Heat the soldering iron to level two.
  2. Put the cracked plastic together to align the cracks as they should be when the plastic is unbroken.
  3. Put the soldering iron over the crack but don’t put too much pressure on it since you might burn a hole through the plastic.
  4. If you have something to put over the crack, like plastic solder, it will make the repair more effective.
  5. Pass the soldering iron along the cracks so that the heated plastic melts over the cracks to cover them.
  6. If you need to repair a bigger container like a bucket or tank, you need a gas torch. Heat a piece of metal like a spoon or any other flat metal. When it is reasonably hot, put it over the crack and slide it through the length of the crack.

Be careful not to put too much pressure on the hot rod since it might burn through the plastic and make the problem worse. 

The plastic will look a bit rugged, and the point of the crack will be visible, but it is okay to use. If you do the soldering thoroughly, you will get a strong container that works like the new one.

You could also use baking soda and glue if you don’t have a soldering iron. These are two cheap products that are found in most homes. 

This is a solution for repairs that need strong bonds and short curing time. 

Be careful when using superglue since it dries very fast and emits a strong vapor. You must therefore use it in a room with good air circulation. If the room is confined, you might harm your eyes and irritate your nose.

You must also make sure none of it ends up on your fingers since it dries fast and it is hard to get off.

  1.  Clean the surface with soap or alcohol, then let it dry.
  2. Sand the spot lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to create a surface for bonding. Check to ensure that both pieces fit.
  3. Apply a thin layer of superglue on one of the surfaces and join the pieces together.
  4. Apply a little pressure to keep the pieces straight but not too much pressure since the superglue might ooze out.
  5. Gradually apply a small amount of baking Soda onto the joint.
  6. Pour another layer of super glue on the baking soda.
  7. Sprinkle another layer of baking soda on the superglue and let it dry.
  8. Repeat the process on every part of the crack to ensure it has no weaknesses.
  9. The amount of baking soda and glue used depends on the size of the crack and the bond strength you desire.

Baking soda acts as a catalyst for bonding between superglue and plastic, which will harden to make a strong contact. You have to be careful when using both methods since they are potentially risky.

How To Restore Faded Plastic

Plastics might fade and lose their initial completion over time, like in bumpers or car side mirror backs. You can restore the plastic to look good as new using some simple supplies available at home.

You need water, detergent, a sponge, and a hot air gun to restore the plastic. This method works differently on different kinds of plastic; you should try it on a smaller part before going all the way.

  1. Start by cleaning the plastic by rinsing it with water then scrubbing it with a sponge and detergent. This is an important part, so it has to be done thoroughly.
  2. Once you have scrubbed it, rinse off all the detergent and dry the plastic with a piece of cloth.
  3. Leave it for a few minutes to ensure it completely dries.
  4. Blow the plastic using a hot air gun in a circular motion. Make sure you don’t stay on one part for too long since you might melt the plastic. Damage is harder to fix, so it has to be avoided.
  5. Work the entire piece with the hot air gun. You should be able to notice some change in the look at this point.
  6. Keep it up until the entire plastic is renewed. 

You can also use this trick to remove scratches from plastic. The combination of heat and air pressure melts the plastic and pushes it into the cracks to give you a smooth surface. 

Keep your plastics away from heat, corrosive acids and sharp objects to make them last longer.

Conclusion

Making a hole in plastic without cracking it is not hard. You can use a hot metal rod or a drill to make a hole in plastic without cracking it. A hot rod would be better since it requires slightly less skill and it is easily available. 

You can repair plastic using a soldering iron, a hot rod or baking soda and superglue in case of damage. The supplies you need are common in most houses so it should not be a problem.

If you use a drill in making the holes, don’t do it over a tough surface. Use a piece of scrap wood that has no nails in it to ensure you don’t damage the drill.

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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