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Power Drill Tips for Drilling Holes in Acrylic Tubs: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Written By John Gibbs




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Drilling holes in acrylic tubs can be a tricky task. It requires a special bit and a steady hand to get the job done properly. To make the process easier, this article provides a step-by-step guide on how to drill holes in an acrylic tub. Following these instructions will ensure that you get the results you want without damaging your tub. With the right tools and a few simple steps, you can easily add holes to your acrylic tub.

Preparing to Drill the Acrylic Tub

Preparing To Drill The Acrylic Tub

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

To drill holes in an acrylic tub, you will need a drill, a drill bit, a piece of scrap wood, and a few clamps. The drill bit should be slightly larger than the hole you plan to drill.

Prepare the Acrylic Tub for Drilling

Place the scrap wood underneath the acrylic tub: Place the scrap wood underneath the acrylic tub to create a stable surface for drilling. Use clamps to secure the scrap wood in place.
Mark the spot where the hole will be drilled: Using a marker, mark the spot where the hole will be drilled. Make sure the marker is easily visible and the placement is accurate.
Drill slowly and steadily: Place the drill bit on the marked spot and begin drilling at a slow and steady pace. As the bit begins to penetrate the acrylic, increase the speed to finish drilling the hole.

Drilling the Acrylic Tub

Drilling The Acrylic Tub

Mark the Location for the Hole

Before drilling the hole, you must make sure you know exactly where you want to drill it. Mark the spot with a marker or a pencil. You can use a template or a ruler to ensure the hole is properly centered. Be sure to use a ruler or template to get accurate measurements.

Drill the Hole

Once the spot has been marked, it is time to drill the hole. Drill at a low speed and use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the size of the hole you plan to make. Be sure to use a drill bit that is the correct size for the hole you are drilling.

Drill the Tap Hole

If you are tapping a hole, you will need to use a tap and die set. Start by drilling a pilot hole, then use the tap to thread the hole. Be sure to use the correct size of tap and die set for the hole you are drilling.

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Finishing the Drilling Job

Once the hole is drilled, it is necessary to finish the job properly. Make sure to remove any excess shards of acrylic from the hole. Then, clean up the drilling area to ensure that the surface of the acrylic is smooth and clean.

Clean Up the Drilling Area

Clean up the drilled hole and the surrounding area by using a stiff-bristled brush to remove any remaining dust and debris. Be sure to keep the brush away from the edges of the hole, as this can cause chipping and cracking of the acrylic.

Test the Hole

Ensure that the hole is of the desired size and shape by testing it with a drill bit or screw. If the fit is too tight, use a slightly larger bit or screw to widen the hole. If the fit is too loose, use a smaller drill bit or screw to make the hole tighter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Drill Bit Should I Use to Drill Holes in Acrylic Tubs?

For drilling holes in acrylic tubs, a carbide-tipped drill bit is the best choice. This type of bit is specifically designed for drilling into hard materials such as acrylic. It is also important to use a slow speed and plenty of lubrication (such as soapy water) to prevent the bit from overheating. Avoid using standard twist drill bits as they are not suitable for the job.

Is it necessary to use a drill press for drilling through acrylic?

No, a drill press is not necessary for drilling through acrylic. However, for best results, it is recommended to use a drill press for drilling in acrylic. A drill press provides more accurate and precise hole placement, as well as better control over the drilling process. Here are some benefits of using a drill press for drilling in acrylic:

  • Easier to control the drilling speed and depth of the hole.
  • More accurate hole placement.
  • Able to drill holes in thicker acrylic materials without cracking.
  • Able to drill holes in thin acrylic materials without breaking.

Can I use a hand drill for drilling through acrylic?

  • Use a drill bit specifically designed for acrylic. A standard drill bit won’t work on acrylic, as it is too brittle and will shatter. You’ll need to purchase a carbide-tipped drill bit designed specifically for drilling acrylic.
  • Use a low speed. When using a hand drill, take extra care to drill at a low speed. High speeds will cause the bit to overheat and melt the acrylic. If the drill bit is too hot, you’ll end up with a melted, jagged hole.
  • Drill with light pressure. Light pressure is all you need to drill through acrylic. Pressing too hard can cause the drill bit to slip and potentially shatter the acrylic.
  • Add lubricant. To help reduce friction and heat, add a drop of lubricant, such as mineral oil, to the hole before drilling.

When drilling through acrylic with a hand drill, take extra care to use the right drill bit, drill at a low speed, use light pressure, and add lubricant for best results.

How can I avoid cracking the acrylic while drilling?

Using the right drill bit, drilling at the right speed, and applying enough pressure are key to avoiding cracking. Use a drill bit with a sharp tip, designed specifically for drilling acrylic. A slow-speed drill is recommended, and apply enough pressure to the drill bit to keep it cutting. Additionally, use light oil (such as machine oil) as a lubricant to reduce friction and heat buildup. Finally, use a backing board to provide support for the acrylic and give the drill bit something to push against.

What is the Best Way to Smooth Out the Edges After Drilling?

Once the holes have been drilled, the edges can be smoothed out with a file or sandpaper. Start with a coarse grit, such as 80-grit, and work your way through to a finer grit, such as 120-grit. As you switch to a finer grit, you will see the edges become smoother and smoother. When you are finished, you should have smooth edges with no sharp edges or burrs.


Drilling holes in acrylic tubs requires the use of the right tools and techniques. When done correctly, it is a straightforward process. Be sure to wear protective gear, use a drill bit designed for acrylic, and keep the drill speed slow and steady. With the right approach, you can drill precise holes in acrylic tubs safely.

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About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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