Polycarbonate Windscreen. Can I Drill Holes in it? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Polycarbonate Windscreen. Can I Drill Holes in it?

Does anyone know if holes can be drilled in a polycarbonate (Z-Technik Z2430) windscreen?

Their video shows a polycarbonate windscreen taking a blast from a shotgun, so I imagine that it may be tough to drill through.

Thinking of mounting one to my Wee iz why I ask.

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post #2 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 05:55 AM
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Polycabonate (Lexan) drills quite easy and will NOT crack.

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post #3 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 05:57 AM
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Polycarb is just a type of plastic. While it has impressive impact resistant qualities, it is not resistant to cutting, as would be the case with a drill bit. It's hard to break, easy to scratch. Givi screens, for instance, are made of polycarb. I wouldn't be surprised if the stock screen was made of the same, and I can tell you first hand how easily that one was to cut with a jigsaw.

Go for it, you'll have no trouble.

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post #4 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Their video shows a polycarbonate windscreen taking a blast from a shotgun,
Adds a whole new dimension to the dangers of riding a motorcycle.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glazier2000 View Post
Polycabonate (Lexan) drills quite easy and will NOT crack.
I disagree, I've seen polycarbonate crack many times. I've flown aircraft with polycarbonate windscreens and I used to use clear polycarbonate bodies on R/C cars. It takes a lot to make it crack but it will crack, I can assure you.

However, to answer the original question, the best way to stop a crack in polycarbonate is to drill a small hole at the end of the crack. It drills quite easily, as would be expected from a plastic.

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post #6 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 09:14 AM
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If you are drilling a large hole, drill progressively larger holes from about 3/16" on up, in 1/8" graduations till you have the size you want. This will mean much less break through stress. You can also drill from the other side after you start a hole in the first side, to reduce the chance of chipping the surface as the bit comes through. This plastic can be filed to get a hole dia. unavailable buy drilling too. Wet sand paper and water will provide a very smooth finish to any places where a saw or file were used.

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post #7 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCraig View Post
I disagree, I've seen polycarbonate crack many times. I've flown aircraft with polycarbonate windscreens and I used to use clear polycarbonate bodies on R/C cars. It takes a lot to make it crack but it will crack, I can assure you.//
The reason is that most commercially available drill bits are designed for cutting metal. The point angle of most plastic bits is 60 degrees versus much sharper angles for standard twist drills. As a result, they dig into the plastic quickly and crack it.

If you don't have plastic bits, you might get around this buy drilling a very small pilot hole, then increasing the size in small increments. But if you press too hard and the drill bites, you're going to crack it.

For a $100+ windshield, it's worth it to find the right tool. You usually can't find them anywhere but a plastics supply outfit.

Companies like California Scientific use a special impact-grade acrylic. Butyrate was also used in the past.

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Last edited by garandman; 05-02-2010 at 10:06 AM.
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 10:39 AM
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I would never put a polycarbonate windshield on a bike. Here's why.

Many years ago a good friend of mine was riding home from work on his 900 Honda. It had a full fairing with a polycarbonate windshield.

Without warning a car (CN Rail Police car no less) pulled a turn across two lanes right in front him. There was nothing he could do, and the bike T-boned the car.

The impact sent my friend fying forward into the windshield. Top of windshield hit visor of full-face helmet. No contest, helmet visor caved. As the polycarbonate was so strong the windshield continued on to carve through my friend's face until it hit the back of the visor opening, somewhere around his ears, where it finally snapped.

Amazingly after a year of rehabilitation and many surgeries my friend survived to tell his tale. He even got another bike eventually, but made damn sure it had an acrylic windshield.

The shear toughness of polycarbonate makes it attractive as windshield material, but in a crash you want your windshield break, not your face.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCraig View Post
I disagree, I've seen polycarbonate crack many times. I've flown aircraft with polycarbonate windscreens and I used to use clear polycarbonate bodies on R/C cars. It takes a lot to make it crack but it will crack, I can assure you.

However, to answer the original question, the best way to stop a crack in polycarbonate is to drill a small hole at the end of the crack. It drills quite easily, as would be expected from a plastic.
Very strange that you've seen polycabonate crack!
I work everyday with polycarbonate and acrylic in our business and I can say I've never seen a "run" or crack in polycarbonate!
Our polycarbonate sheets are 1/8, 3/16, 1/4 and 1/2 inch and you can drill, cut sand, fold (if strong enough) and pound with sledge hammer all you want and will never crack it.
ps: polycarbonate is used in making bullet resistant glazing too.
(there is no such thing as bullet proof)

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post #10 of 17 Old 05-02-2010, 12:08 PM
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My Givi cracked at a mounting hole last ride. I drilled a tiny hole in it to stop the crack. Hope it holds out......

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