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Accurate drilling - received wisdom

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  • Accurate drilling - received wisdom

    Preface... I've done a lot of reading here and wanted to summarise it, maybe post it on a blog. But, I figured I should make sure I'm understanding the concepts first. Feel free to comment or point out where I'm going wrong.

    Anyway... Second draft now, implementing the recommendations

    There are 2 common ways to drill accurately placed holes: floating or indexed.

    The floating method:
    1. Layout the part, scribing lines to the accuracy desired.
    2. Prick punch (a fine 30-50deg punch) the scribed intersections. Done correctly, you should be able to feel the intersecting lines with the point of the punch but use a magnifying glass to confirm. An optical center punch is another option here, but again confirm.
    3. Drift the center mark as necessary until it is at the line intersection.
    4. Enlarge the mark with a center punch.
    5. Optionally, scribe witness circles with a divider, using the center punch as an anchor, the same or slightly larger diameter than the desired hole.
    6. Select a very small drill with a tip that fits properly in the center punch mark. Some people prefer to just make the center punch mark larger than the web of the pilot drill they intend to use.
    7. Drill while allowing the work to float on the drillpress table such that the drill will align with the punch mark.
    8. Select the next drill, which should have a web thickness smaller than the original hole or punch mark and have a diameter slightly larger than the web thickness of the final or, if necessary, intermediate drill.
    9. Drill the final size.


    The indexed method:
    1. Clamp and index the part to a known feature. If you index off a punch mark, use an appropriate measuring tool to pick up the mark.
    2. Crank the table to the desired hole location. If using a drillpress, you can index each hole to drill.
    3. Use a short spotting drill our, if it's all you have, a center drill.
    4. Drill to the web thickness of your final drill.
    5. Drill to final size.


    General notes:
    • The floating method relies on a moving work-piece and flexing drill to align with a center punch mark. Rigidity is bad. Do not clamp down the vice or fixture and use jobber length drills. When drilling large holes, remember drill safety and consider indexing instead.
    • The index method relies on rigidity. Clamp and lock everything down. Use stub-length drills where possible. Use spotting drills if you have them.
    • Mixing the two approaches, using stub-length drills when floating to center punch marks for example, will give less accurate results.
    • When using the layout method, if the initial hole has gone off center then you can drift it back a slight amount. Use a cold chisel to notch the far side, the side you want to move away from, and then drill the next size up drill available, possibly repeating several times. Witness circles help with this approach.
    • Layouts on work to be clamped down and indexed will help with error checking but a center punch mark will, in itself, not correctly line up the drilled hole. It's up to the operator to correctly index to the mark.
    • If holes in multiple parts are to align, bolt, clamp, or even tack weld them together and drill all at the same time. Another option is to make a drill guide (jig) that is then clamped to each part in turn.
    • The tables on light-duty drillpresses will often flex down with drilling pressure, thus going out of square. For this reason, deep holes are best done on more rigid machines. If necessary on a light-duty drillpress, block the table up to reduce flex. Optionally, shim the work on the table to compensate for the expected flex for the drill pressure being used.
    • Tramming the table is also important on deep holes.
    • A poorly sharpened drill can drill oversized holes.
    • Accurately sized holes require reaming or boring.
    Last edited by fixerdave; 05-26-2017, 12:09 AM. Reason: updated with suggestions
    http://fixerdave.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    If the subject is drilling on the lathe, Always bore the first 5 mm depth if the hole location is important.

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    • #3
      When I am drilling holes on the mill, I do it as you describe, but I also scribe the hole locations first. It is a great way to double check the locations and has saved me from missing the proper location by 0.100" many times.

      Note: Most mills that I have used had 10 TPI feed screws so it was easy to be off by one full turn, or 0.100". Of course, with a DRO this is not necessary.
      Paul A.

      Make it fit.
      You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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      • #4
        2. First you prick punch then centre punch. A prick punch is sharp, finds the intersection and raises the metal concentrically around the that point. The centre punch flattens it out again to the be right angle for the drill. Its a two step process, centre punches are poor at finding a location and the resulting cone from their use is improved by first raising the material as the prick punch does

        6. the small drill is unnecessary if you've done 2 properly. Unless the drill is very large, in which case, on a manually fed drill press there should probably be a pilot hole.

        7. Whether to float or not a decision mostly based on mass and drill size and how it relates to safety. Most of the time you float either directly on the table or in a vise, however drilling large holes dictates things get clamped. The work is positioned over the drill press's axis using a wiggler so the mark is aligned. When that is the case, you can forgo punching, align the layout lines with the wiggler and spot drill to help the drill bit start at the proper location.
        Last edited by Mcgyver; 05-25-2017, 07:43 AM.
        .

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        • #5
          Here's more lore:

          How about a wiggler for acquiring accurate alignment of the drill spindle to the layout? I use them on my 60 year old Craftsman drill press and my turret mill. I get 0.005" of true location routinely if I'm careful. You don't use a wiggler most of the time, only for work you need to be fussy about.

          If you're drilling accurate holes of any depth remember to previously tram your drill press table and that drilling thrust will deflect the table a bit. If the table is out of tram there's little you can do about it except shim the work off the table to correct it. Or map the error and remove the table for machining out the error using the mapped figures for setup true to the reference plane of the mill or lathe.

          If you determine the drill press table deflection (under a 3/8 drill's thrust in steel for example) you can figure in about half that deflection when you correct for tram error. You won't eliminate the deflection error but you will have reduced it to some acceptable level. My drill press table is pretty good, I never bothered to machine it to tram figures but the deflection for a 3/8 drill feed is about 0.005. If I need really square hole axes I move the work to the turret mill.

          Steps 3 and 4 of the layout method where the hole location is center punched from layout:

          First prick punch. A prick punch is long and slender and has a sharp point of 45 degree total cone angle. Further the prick punch is sharpened with the point held up against the grinding wheel (like you lick a candy cane) so the finish striations are in the axial plane. This finish when impressed in the work is brilliantly reflective making re-acquisition for the starter drill or the center punch that much easier. The prick punch is driven with a peck from a 4 oz hammer. if the mark is larger than 1/16" dia you over-did it. BTW, only rubes sharpen prick punches by laying them on the tool rest and grinding round and round like you eat an ear of corn.

          The center punch is a heavier more robust tool having an included cone angle of 60 to 90 degrees depending on the severity of service. A center punch may be driven by as heavy a hammer as desired using the prick punch mark to set its point. I have one with a handle welded to it - a 3/8 rod furnished with a file handle - I use with a 32 oz hammer for outlining cuts in plate i intend to OA cut.
          Last edited by Forrest Addy; 05-25-2017, 08:15 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Forrest Addy View Post
            Further the prick punch is sharpened with the point held up against the grinding wheel (like you lick a candy cane) so the finish striations are in the axial plane... BTW, only rubes sharpen prick punches by laying them on the tool rest and grinding round and round like you eat an ear of corn.
            Interesting. Seems like somebody forgot to tell Starrett, or maybe Starrett just forgot how to do it properly. Just received an 816B, and the grind marks on the tip are not axial. You can just see it in their enlarged photo http://www.starrett.com/metrology/product-detail/816B

            Also came with a nice burr on the point, not up to their usual standard. No red box or inspection certificate either. Just a little plain brown envelope with the punch inside. Sold and fulfilled by Amazon, so should be the real deal.

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            • #7
              Same applies to tungsten electrodes.
              There's a further way, use a jig and drill bush, fairly accurate, one jig can have several bushes, you set the jig relative to the datum edges of the job, aka jig drilling
              Mark

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              • #8
                Good info...

                I believe a prick punch is typically 30 degrees included.

                on edit I see the Starrett above is 50 degree included... so seems they can be 30-50 degree included and still be a 'prick punch'.
                Last edited by softtail; 05-25-2017, 01:11 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pinstripe View Post

                  Also came with a nice burr on the point, not up to their usual standard. No red box or inspection certificate either. Just a little plain brown envelope with the punch inside. Sold and fulfilled by Amazon, so should be the real deal.
                  It should be yes, but often isn't. I've purchased the exact same item from Amazon LLC (not 3rd party) at different times and gotten the "real deal" in factory packaging the first time - and a fake knock off in a plain brown box the next time. And the kicker was I had paid extra to receive the factory clam shell packaging instead of Amazons cut rate "Easy opening packaging". Guess which one I got the second time.

                  Amazon reviews are chock full of complaints from people that have received phony merchandise that is "shipped from and sold by Amazon LLC."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pinstripe View Post
                    Interesting. Seems like somebody forgot to tell Starrett, or maybe Starrett just forgot how to do it properly. Just received an 816B, and the grind marks on the tip are not axial. You can just see it in their enlarged photo http://www.starrett.com/metrology/product-detail/816B

                    Also came with a nice burr on the point, not up to their usual standard. No red box or inspection certificate either. Just a little plain brown envelope with the punch inside. Sold and fulfilled by Amazon, so should be the real deal.
                    Rubes are rubes even when they work for Starrett and Starrett clones. Don't take my word for it; nor Starrett's. Experiment for yourself. See which method of prick punch sharpening leaves the most visible mark. And lasts longer for that matter. On the scale of a prick punch tip the grinding striations are en effect stress risers. An axial ground prick punch (or center punch for that matter) outlasts the circumferential ground punch several times.

                    I can't believe I sucked my self into defending a trivial detail like the proper way to sharpening prick and center punches but everything counts - to a point.
                    Last edited by Forrest Addy; 05-25-2017, 03:02 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I have been reading the last several threads on accurately drilling some holes and to get them to match ie like a flange to an assembly.

                      Here is my approach. Part is set up in mill which has a DRO. The reference surface is indicated – eg the center of a flange. Holes are indicated using x –y. Holes are spot drilled, center drilled, and if small just drilled as long as starting hole is larger than chisel point. This is repeated for each part and then assembled.

                      Two recent examples, first was a model crankcase bottom that had 16 - 2 – 56 holes tapped relative to a reference point. The bottom plate was set up in the mill and reference point found. 16 clearance and countersunk holes were drilled using above method. All screws dropped in just fine. The standard clearance hole was used.

                      The second example involved three parts for a sterling engine. They were the cooling fins, the displacer cylinder, and the main frame. The displacer cylinder is about 1.5” long with a flange and a, .400 hole bored in it. The Displacer cylinder was set up in the mill, the center located and 4, 0-80 #52 clearance holes drilled. The main frame was bored so the reference was already present and those 0-80 holes drilled. The cooling fins were machined and a hole bored. It was set up in the mill and the center found. 4 blind 0-80 holes were tapped to .125. The three parts were then assembled and the 0-80 screws went in just fine.

                      I have been making models for a long time and find the above to be very successful.

                      By the way the second example was completely machined by my 17 year old granddaughter. The only assistance was what material bin to use and where was some of the tooling she needed. She has been making stuff since she was 8 years old. Her sister started when she was 10, and they are both making the same engine. The older one cranked out the same parts last week, same result.


                      I tried posting some pictures here but not sure of how to do is right, maybe they came out.

                      Bob





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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Highpower View Post
                        Amazon reviews are chock full of complaints from people that have received phony merchandise that is "shipped from and sold by Amazon LLC."
                        Yeah, I've seen some of those. The Mitutoyo Digital Caliper page has quite a few. Don't think I have ever seen any for Starrett's better tools though. Starrett's page says they are still made in the US, I figured they may have started making them in China now. The rest of it is fine, but the burr and plain packaging were unusual. The little brown envelope looks like it's sealed with the usual Starrett tape.


                        Originally posted by Forrest Addy View Post
                        I can't believe I sucked my self into defending a trivial detail like the proper way to sharpening prick and center punches but everything counts - to a point.
                        No need to defend yourself, I believe you. My comment was about Starrett not getting it right.

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                        • #13
                          What are folk's preferred methods/tricks for grinding a good point at a specific angle with just a bench grinder with decent rests?

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                          • #14
                            I indicate work x,y 0 on the DRO, then move to the X,Y coordinates for the hole location. Often times will use a 90 deg center drill to start.
                            I have found that prick punching, etc to be a fools errand. Once you go DRO, theres only moving forward to CNC.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                              I have found that prick punching, etc to be a fools errand. Once you go DRO, there' only moving forward to CNC.
                              a fools errand? You musn't be doing it properly - whats going that its not working for you? I have a newall dro and large(ish) vmc but there are many times that manual layout and punches on the drill press are a lot faster. Same with transfer punches & drill press (done the same way, but a mark from transfer punch instead of scribed lines) heck, a lot of time (like yesterday, making a small bracket) you don't even lay out - eyeball location, punch and drill.

                              The trick is to pick the right tools and approach for the job at hand and understand the accuracy capabilities and strengths/weaknesses of each. The more you're capable of, the better able you will be to select the right one.
                              Last edited by Mcgyver; 05-25-2017, 04:27 PM.
                              .

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