Drilling Small Holes in Plastic Pieces

My jewelry project, is that I’m turning plastic, tiki bar swizzle sticks in jewelry pieces. To do so, I need to drill small holes into the plastic swizzle. I’ve tried a couple of methods so far, and I haven’t been 100% happy.

First, I bought this small hand drill (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07QPR8Z3Q/). It works, but honestly, I don’t have the hand or wrist strength to use a hand drill. It took me 20+ minutes to drill one hole My first attempt, I ended up bending the thin drill bit, because I was pushing down so hard. This method just won’t work.

Next, I heated up a T-pin with a candle flame. That works. The hot needle goes right through the plastic. However, it leaves a burn mark.

Lastly, I bought this hand held electric drill (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XGV1FYH/). It works pretty well, but there’s one problem. After drilling about 2 holes, the drill bit gets gummed up with melted plastic. I have to hold the bit over a flame to melt the plastic and then wipe it off. I plan on making a few pieces, and having to clean off the drill bit so frequently, gets tedious.

A friend suggested I try a ‘zero degree drill bit’, designed for drilling holes in plastic. But I haven’t been able to find something in the size I need - 1 - 2 mm. Maybe 1/16". Unfortunately, with this electric drill, I can’t really control the speed. It’s just on / off.

Any recommendations on other tools I can use to drill very small holes in plastic? Thanks!

I’m not sure how thick the plastic is that you’re drilling. My go-to answer would have been a dremel but you already got an electric drill of sorts. I never had issues with plastic melting on the bit though, and the dremel I have has different speed settings so you could go slower.

Another thought - have you considered trying to hammer a nail through? If the plastic is thin enough, that might do the trick. If it’s particularly hard you could try softening the plastic in boiling water first too.

Good luck!

I would try heating up a needle or tiny nail and melt/poke a hole through the plastic.

OOPS: I didn’t read carefully the the first time. You already tried this. Darn it.

The burn mark might just be from the ash from the candle. You could try a soy candle which (I think) are supposed to be ash-free?

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Or heat it up on an electric stove burner.

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The plastic isn’t too thick - maybe 1/8 - 1/4" at the thickest. My cheap drill, doesn’t have a speed control. I looked into dremel tools, and they’re a bit pricier.

That could be it…I was using a cheap candle, and I noticed that my T-pin turned from silver to black after heating it up. I figured it was some sort of coating on the metal, but who knows.

I got a dremel type tool at Harbor Freight for about $10. It’s not variable speed, but has worked well on resin.

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It might be this one? https://www.harborfreight.com/rotary-tool-kit-80-pc-63235.html

I’ll look into it. I wonder if it can hold the micro drill bits. That’s another issue I’ve been having with my hand held drill. The chuck doesn’t hold the drill bit, and it comes loose and then the bit is lodge in my plastic with no way to remove it.

looks like the same one. It came with some small bits. I believe the three little brass things are collets for different size bits and attachments.

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I just dug mine out. The smallest of the collets tightens down enough to hold two sewing pins together, but not quite tight enough for just one pin.
Forgive my technical jargon…:slight_smile:

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It occurs to me…you can buy collets that fit in most drills in whatever size you need. They often come with a selection of bits, too. Probably cheaper than buying a whole new tool.

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