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Author Topic: HOW TO DRILL HOLE IN this piece.....???  (Read 2732 times)
CameronA
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« on: March 26, 2012, 03:17:36 pm »

Hello all,

I am trying to drill a teeny tiny hole in a few brass pieces.  Problem is, I cannot do it.  Numerous failed attempts, trips to home depot, etc. etc. etc.  Someone told me to go to a metal fabricator and ask them if they could drill a hole it the piece with a drill press.  I do not want to give up though!  I am not going to solder the pieces together, that, I have decided.  So, who has experience drilling small holes in pieces of brass?  Any one have an idea of what machine to use, or what kind of drill bit?  I am at a loss!  Here is an example of a piece that I will be trying to drill through. http://www.etsy.com/listing/79284376/back-in-stock-100-pieces-of-small-cut

Please let me know what you all think and I will experiment with the pieces as best I can.   Smiley
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groomporter
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 03:32:33 pm »

What exactly is going wrong?. Does the drill bit wander off the spot you want the hole?
 My thought would be to put a piece of wood through the hexagonal hole to support it. Use a nail or punch and a hammer to create a dimple in the place you want the hole, and then try to drill it with a bit labelled specifically for drilling metal.
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Professor J. Cogsworthy
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 03:34:48 pm »

Dremel tool drill press?
 
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Dremel-Drill-Press-220-01/15638688

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bicyclebuilder
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 03:46:25 pm »

I don't know what goes wrong, but when the drill keeps snapping off it could be because you dril by hand. A drill press prevents that from happening.
Another thing that might go wrong is what Groomporter mentioned.
It could also go wrong when the peices are to thin so they collapse under the pressure of the drill. Use a piece of wood to prevent collapsing.
Also, use a proper clamp to hold the brass peice.
You mentioned you don't want to solder the peices together? What are you going to do to connect them? Nuts and bolts?
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Wormster
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 04:23:35 pm »

if it were me I'd:

Make a hexagonal mandrill to fit the stock onto.

Mark very carefully where I want the hole(s) with a scribe and straight edge (steel ruler).

Mark hole with a center punch (either an auto, or punch and hammer).

Set workpiece in a suitable jig/clamping device.

Use a drill press with a low(ish) speed and light pressure.

De-burr drilled holes (after removing workpiece from jig and mandrill) both inside and out.

Assemble as required.
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Mécanicien de Vapeur
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2012, 04:24:06 pm »

My credentials: 25 years of constructing etched brass model railway locomotives, rolling stock and other items, so plenty of holes drilled through brass sheet and section.


How big (or small) a hole and using what?? Hand-held? Pin vice? Dremel (other motorised tools are available  Tongue)? What type of drill bit are you using?

First off, is the work piece securely clamped so that it won't move during the drilling?

Can you make a 'starter' dimple (centre-punch or similar) to stop the bit wandering when you start? The shape of the workpiece might make that tricky, though.

Don't press down too hard, allow the bit to work. Pressing too hard will force the bit to jam and snap. It will take time to drill through that thickness of brass. Once the whole is a mm or so deep, add lubrication (spit will do) to reduce/avoid binding. And keep the bit perpendicular to the work piece - if you start to lean in any direction, you'll put a bending force on the bit and it'll snap.

Sometime a small pilot hole is useful when larger holes are required.

Good luck!

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CameronA
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 04:46:17 pm »

What exactly is going wrong?. Does the drill bit wander off the spot you want the hole?
 My thought would be to put a piece of wood through the hexagonal hole to support it. Use a nail or punch and a hammer to create a dimple in the place you want the hole, and then try to drill it with a bit labelled specifically for drilling metal.

Thanks for getting back to me!  Yes, the drill bit wanders off the spot I want to put a hole in.  But, it also may be wandering off because I am using a hand held drill.  I will try to use a nail to punch a dent/dimple in this and then try to make a hole.  If that does not work, perhaps I will invest in the dremel drill press, as suggested by Cogsworthy.   The hole I am trying to achieve is going to be very small - as the width of the piece is also very small.  I will also try putting a piece of wood to prevent collapsing the piece of brass as well.  I am trying to connect multiple pieces together and I have various shapes as well.  The hexagonal shape is just one example to give you all an idea of what I am working with. 

Mecanicien de Vapeur - what do you mean by a small pilot hole? 

Bicycle builder - I will be connecting them with jump rings.

Thank you all SO SO SO very much. 


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Wormster
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 04:52:28 pm »


Mecanicien de Vapeur - what do you mean by a small pilot hole?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_hole
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Professor J. Cogsworthy
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 05:02:24 pm »

if you are bending the piece while drilling you are probably pushing too hard on the bit.
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CameronA
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2012, 05:20:17 pm »


Mecanicien de Vapeur - what do you mean by a small pilot hole?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_hole


Wonderful - here are some more pictures of the pieces I am trying to drill through.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/78608284/12-pieces-of-cut-raw-brass-thick-tube  Trying to get a hole through each  of the longest sides. 
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 05:50:18 pm »

Tiny holes are notoriously tricky to do by hand. On the plus side (kinda) brass is pretty soft. I once heard someone talking about using old dental lab burs as a good tool for making guide indents, as you really just have to push to make your dimple. If you're going to be doing this regularly, a drill press, a very high speed drill, and the tiniest drill bits you can find to start the process off, would definitely be good investments.

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CameronA
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 05:55:25 pm »

Tiny holes are notoriously tricky to do by hand. On the plus side (kinda) brass is pretty soft. I once heard someone talking about using old dental lab burs as a good tool for making guide indents, as you really just have to push to make your dimple. If you're going to be doing this regularly, a drill press, a very high speed drill, and the tiniest drill bits you can find to start the process off, would definitely be good investments.


I think so too - I will probably buy the drill press that was featured in the above thread.  It seems to me that the pieces will need to be clamped though - Do most drill presses have a clamp to ensure that there is no wiggling around?
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KABAR2
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 06:03:31 pm »

They can be drilled by hand.... what you need to do though is mark the spot you wish to drill with a center punch that will keep the drill from wandering also drill at slower speeds..... for very small holes I use a Pin vice to drill the holes......



http://www.progresstool.com/cat_pin.cfm

Hope that helps.
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2012, 06:18:30 pm »

Good advice. Annoyingly often a drill press vice has to be purchased separately (and sometimes they can be quite pricey)
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CameronA
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2012, 06:32:41 pm »

They can be drilled by hand.... what you need to do though is mark the spot you wish to drill with a center punch that will keep the drill from wandering also drill at slower speeds..... for very small holes I use a Pin vice to drill the holes......



http://www.progresstool.com/cat_pin.cfm

Hope that helps.


Thanks so so much.  What size would you get?  Would I dent the area where I want to put the hole with a nail and hammer, and then use the pin vise? 
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Argus Fairbrass
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2012, 10:43:19 pm »

Honestly I'd still say a cheap drill press is the way to go. I see Silverline do a budget one that I'm sure could easily cope with jobs like this. It's not going to need to be anything major, If you decide you want to start working with tensile steel or something then sure. But at least this will give you a good grounding. As long as it has a vice that will hold the object firmly in position without crushing it. If you are happy with how it's lined up you can just touch the very tip of your small drill bit on it to create your mark. But centre punches are recommended.

If you are going to be doing this a lot, or this is just the start of vast amounts of intricate drilling ideas in general, obviously consider spending a bit more cash.

All the pin vices I've seen are actually hand held. So you'd need to be pretty confident and have a very steady hand to drill a tiny hole in a tiny object I would imagine (which indeed you may have I don't know). Personally I'm a little shaky, so I like stuff well and truly clamped to a bench! Cheesy
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Narsil
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2012, 11:14:24 pm »

Even with a drill press all twist drills will tend to wander a bit, sometimes a lot. The best way to get accurate hole placement is to use a centre punch to mark the hole centre. It's also important to use sharp, good quality drill bits at the correct speed and have the work firmly clamped.

Ideally when marking a hole centre you should first mark the hole with a dot punch (ground to about 60 degrees) and then a centre punch (ground to about 90degrees). They reason for this is that twist drills aren't ground to a sharp point so they need something to start the hole at the correct position. A sharp centre punch creates a cone shaped indent which physically prevents the point of the drill from moving sideways as long as the diameter of the punch mark is greater than the width of the tip of the drill (the tips of twist drills are chisel shaped rather than points).

The other important thing is to make sure that the drill is perpendicular to the surface being drilled or at least as close as possible.
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MWBailey
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2012, 11:30:54 pm »

One problem, if the bits are of a really tiny diameter, could be that you're pushing too hard and bending them. Some tiny bits do bend. Most break in that kind of scenario, but I bent quite a few as well until I figured out how hard I could safely push them. If possible, it might also be a good idea to make sure the bits are sharp; if they're dull (they get that way with use, but sometimes they come from the factory that way as well), its just that much more likely that they'll have trouble cutting the hole.
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« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2012, 02:46:50 pm »

if you already have a drill.....

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robotmastern
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2012, 02:37:31 am »

The center punch should solve the walking issues, just remember don't press too hard and let the drill do the work, you may also find that a lubricant will help the bit to grab the metal and cut more easily
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Wormster
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« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2012, 10:55:13 am »

if you already have a drill.....




HEHE!! I have one of those, it only cost a quid at the local boot fair, a bit of filing later (to allow the drill to sit in the clamp-mine's a slightly different design) and 4 bolts to anchor it to the table!
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hardlec
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2012, 08:09:47 am »

Ditto Narsil's comments, especially about the drill bits being sharp.  Brass is soft and seems it would rather deform than be cut. Sharp bit, slow speed and a starter dimple. It may be better to use a sharp awl to  make the starter point.

Harbor Freight Tools is a store chain fairly common in the US which sells drills, bits, and drill press jigs and vices.

A variable speed drill is handy.  I have one of the last foot pedals Dremal sold. It is a big help, but sadly only to me.

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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2012, 03:36:05 pm »

Another thing that hasn't been mentioned yet - For small drills (1/16" or 1.6mm and smaller), it helps to have the minimum length protruding from the chuck. If you're drilling something say 1mm thick, no more than 3mm of drill sticking out of the chuck is usually sufficient.

With small drill bits, they really need to spin at high speeds to cut effectively. A Dremel type tool is often quite good in this respect.
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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2012, 04:26:02 am »

Also when you clamp the brass piece down, line the jaws of your vice/clamp with some scrap wood to avoid scratching the brass.

Let us know how it goes! Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2012, 06:02:57 am »

brass can be tricky at times, as it can be a little gummy and grab the bit and snap it. a very sharp bit helps but only if it has a shallow angle on the cutting edge so it doesnt dig too deep too fast. a little oil or even a drop of wd-40 will help the brass cut without gumming up. a starter dimple will keep it on track and a high speed drill is needed if you use a power drill to do it. even in a drill press you want to be over 1000 rpm to make things easy. a very light touch is needed, if you have to apply any pressure to make it work then either your drill is too slow or your drill bit is too dull or both. when i drill something tiny on a full size drill press, I don't even hold the end of the handle, I use the hub so I don't get much mechanical advantage and break the drillbit.  most electric hand drills are too slow for really tiny bits, a dremmel tool is needed but holding them steady is a pain. chucking the bit short as mentioned really helps as long as the bit doesn't flex under the jaws and wobble like crazy.

good luck with your holes, hope it goes better!
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