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Hard Clear Plastic Project Help

569 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Mystriss

I've got a bit of a weird project I'm working on. I'm trying to create a clear hard cover for a keyboard that has holes where someone can still press all of the keys. It would be just a flat piece of material that Velcros onto the top of wireless key board. I've been working with acrylic, but it is way too brittle and I haven't had much success. I had a suggestion for using Polycarbonate, but I'm unfamiliar with that material and don't know much about it. I should also point out I haven't worked with material like this at all before, so I basically have no idea what I am doing. If you have any suggestions on what material to use or what technique to try I would greatly appreciate it!

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Polycarbonate is harder and stronger than acrylic. However, brittleness and hardness typically increase or decrease together, in any material. Not sure what kind of load you are putting on the acrylic (or polycarbonate) that would crack it. Maybe go thicker.
I'm drilling multiple holes through it for each of the keys starting with a small drill bit and working my way up. It seems once I get to the larger sizes the acrylic breaks fairly easily. Is there a special bit to make this easier? I'm also worried about cutting out things like the space bar or the enter key. The plan was to just use a jig saw once I drill a hole, but I'm not sure if that will work well.

What's this for? Dirt/dust/spill prevention?

They make roll up waterproof silicone keyboards now. Might be an easier option:

See also, (my preference,) washable & dust proof "typical" keyboard:

See also, silicone keyboard cover:

See also, keyboard wrap:

In any event, how many RPM you pulling to cut/drill your holes? If you go too fast thinner stuff shatters, if you go slower it melts and gunks up the bit. I preferred the slower, then clean up the gunk on the bit (or use sanding barrels on dremel to expand the holes and throw away after)
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OK, its breaking when you are drilling it, not when you are using it.

Hand drill is the wrong tool for that task. I expect that as soon as it "bites", it pulls the drill bit in, and makes a mess.

You could mill it out on a drill press with a cross-slide, with a very small cutter. Doubt you have one of those.

A dremel with a small "drill shaped" cutter might do it. But cutting freehand would be very difficult.

Jig saw will cut acrylic or polycarbonate, if that helps.

Waterjet cutting would be the ideal way to cut it. Its pretty common, but they will want something like an autocad file of the shapes you want cut.

Sorry, but I don't think that piece is going to happen for you.

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Dremel glass hole drill bit and a hand scroll saw is what I used for this modding project -

Lots of sanding and polishing to get the edges cleaned up, but it turns out alright.

Look up/search PC modding Acrylic for a ton of tips :)
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