How to make nice holes in plastic boxes

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Old 08-29-17, 09:38 AM
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How to make nice holes in plastic boxes

I am using this little Plastic enclosure
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I need to make nice round holes 1/2" 5/8" and 3/4" for switches, wires, and fuses. I also need to make a rectangular hole that is 3" wide and 2" tall. What kind of tools or process is used for this? Will knockout punches like this work for the round holes? https://www.amazon.com/Central-91201...tal+hole+punch

Any suggestions appreciated.
 
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Old 08-29-17, 09:41 AM
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For the round holes a step drill will provide the cleanest cut.

https://www.amazon.com/CO-Z-Cobalt-M...ep+drill&psc=1

For the square hole, four round holes in the corners with some trimming!
 
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Old 08-29-17, 09:45 AM
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Edit: Marq1 beat me to it. Step drills make a very nice hole in plastic and thin sheet metal. When you get to the size you want, you can use the next size up just a tad gives a nice chamfer on the edge for a neat finish.
 

Last edited by JoeWilson; 08-29-17 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 08-29-17, 04:44 PM
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Step drill kit is on order... Thank you! Gonna try a Dremel tool for the rectangle.
 
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Old 08-29-17, 04:49 PM
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You linked to chassis punches. Good for sheet metal. Not the best for plastic. However they do make square and rectangular ones.

A Dremel tool is a very handy item. Every hobbyist should have one.
 
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Old 08-31-17, 11:09 AM
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A nibbler can make round holes square in light gauge metal and plastic.

https://www.amazon.com/ProsKit-900-2.../dp/B000BN60XW

The box you have may be too heavy duty for a small handheld tool like that, but they do make larger ones - of course for more $$.
 
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Old 08-31-17, 12:52 PM
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For the square holes I would look at using a variable speed oscillating multi-tool.
 
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Old 09-04-17, 07:26 AM
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I used a Dremel tool for the square hole and it was pretty shabby. A file cleaned it up somewhat but there has to be a better way. I'll try a reciprocating saw on the next one.
 
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Old 09-04-17, 07:31 AM
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Use a router with a guide collar and a template. An 1/8" straight bit should be fine for cutting. Template can be made from plywood.
 
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Old 09-04-17, 02:52 PM
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I've done quite a bit of work with ABS plastic this last year. The secret, especially when using any kind of power tool, is to GO SLOW as ABS has a pretty low melting point. Also, use SHARP tools, once the tool starts to dull you will overheat the plastic and have one big mess.

I have had good success using chassis punches on ABS. You DO need to have a significantly larger hole for the draw bolt than is necessary for sheet metal. I use a hydraulic "slug buster" (Greenlee) punch set and have had no problem punching one inch and larger holes in 1/4 inch think material.

For a rectangular hole first rough it out with a saw or rotary tool and finish up the last 1/8-1/4 inch with a file. It is slow going but the results are excellent if you take your time.
 
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