New to the forum and need advice. I need to join existing pieces of pine 3/4" x 4" x 24" and/or 2" x 2" x 54" pine leg (3 dowel holes provided by wood supplier) with a 3/4" x 4" x 36" acrylic panel. I've seen videos about excess heat when drilling into Acrylic with a drill press. Assuming I have a drill press and a vertical drilling jig/table, fence, etc. Do not have any type of laser cutter and acrylic may be too thick to use a laser cutter ...

Problem: How to drill the exact matching peg holes in the 3/4" wide edge of the Acrylic?

  1. Is this practical without cracking/melting acrylic?
  2. How would you recommending creating a jig to copy the existing 3 dowel positions (x,y,z) from the pine wood?
  3. Are there special bits I should be considering or RPM speed maximums?
  4. Other questions I should be asking the forum?


View looking through acrylic panel

View looking along plane of acrylic panel

  • This is probably well out of scope in terms of "woodworking". (Note that this is not a threaded forum, but rather a quesiton and answer site.) From what I can tell, you are asking about how to join wooden dowels to acrylic? DIY.SE might be more appropriate, but my first thought is you should just try it on some scraps and figure out your method that way.
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 15:11
  • Also, consider why you are using dowels in the first place. They don't add much in the way of strength of any joint -- in wood construction they offer a little bit of added strength to weak end-grain joints -- but are mostly used for aligning joints for glue-up. You might be able to get away with butt-joins and epoxy, with mechanical fasteners for the wooden members.
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 15:15
  • I've selected a wood product for model railroading benchwork. They have an existing dowel system which is intended for only one level. I'm thinking about using three levels only 6" apart vertically. The existing wood system uses 4" pine. If I put 4" pine under top I will not be able to see the middle level through the pine. This is why I'm thinking of using acrylic. I found this forum by searching for joining Acrylic and Wood, sorry if I've placed my questions in an inconvenient location. A really small 3/4" x 12" x 12" piece of Acrylic is ~ $40 bucks and don't want to damage drill bit.
    – wlcs15
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 15:34
  • Yeah, there is a fair amount of overlap between DIY and WW Stack Exchange sites, and this question falls neatly into that overlap I think. I'd edit this question and make sure these requirement details are in the body of the question, and we'll let the community decide of this is on topic. You might also want to show the orientation of the dowels in your build. Unfortunately, you will have to sacrifice a small piece of acrylic to get your speeds and feeds right. This is why you bought 20% extra material, right?
    – user5572
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 15:39
  • Apologies, but too much of this Question is about working with the plexi, which is firmly off-topic for this forum. And also, every Question here should be about one thing only with possibly one directly related query included (as long as it's something fairly minor). Your 4 is much too open-ended for the format here. And your 2 could be the subject of its own Question quite easily, since answering just this query might require quite a bit of explanation and a diagram or two to be satisfactory.
    – Graphus
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 8:03

1 Answer 1


Your comment really clarifies your needs. Please add the RR benchwork description to your original question. It is a big help.

Now that I can picture your project, I would suggest some small light colored screws instead of wooden dowels. Now I see the need for the Acrylic between your track levels but wooden dowels will be very visible in the clear plastic. Dowels require a fairly large dia. hole and glue to hold them in. A drilled hole in Acrylic is very visible, a drilled hole filled with glue and a dowel will really stick out. Frankly, I think they'll end up being an ugly distraction and take away from that clear window effect you're looking for (IMHO).

I've found small screws to be the least distracting when they must be visible. You can drill the screw holes with your preferred wood drill bit and at normal wood drilling speeds. I would definitely do a couple practice holes and screws just to be sure they are the way you want.

It's a nice feature that the wood supplier included pre-drilled dowel holes in the wood but you don't have to use the provided dowel holes.

  • Screwing the plexi on has the added advantages of not trying to glue it on with the high likelihood of a sloppy glue joint showing through, and you can unscrew it to fix derailments with the 0-5-0 shifter.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 16:31

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