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Old 07-14-2018, 05:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Drilling blanks ONLY for those who could use the help

If your blanks have perfect holes read no further. Your method works for you and I’m happy about it.

If you are sometimes or often less than pleased with your drilling results read this.

I just finished drilling 80 pen tubes today using acrylic acetate, alumilite and inlace acrylester material. Except one inlace acrylester blank they all have nice entry and exit holes. They are centered on both ends. The photo shows some Sierra blanks on the exit hole side. Here’s what I suggest.

Ditch your drill press for pen tubes forever. Sell your pen vise. Drill every pen tube on your lathe. Buy a chuck with pen jaws and a drill chuck. I bought and use a Baracuda G3 chuck and their pen jaws. The drill chuck was from Penn State many years ago. Both have drilled hundreds and hundreds of blanks.

Set your lathe for 500-1,000 rpm. Lately I have had better luck at 900-1000 than 500 rpms.

Be sure everything is tight and that the blank is perfectly seated.

Use Colt or Fisch pen drill bits. Your brad point and twist bits should be retired. I have four-five bits for each pen size and alternate in a careful way to let the bits cool. Yes that means 5 - 27/64 bits and 5 - 7 mm bits, but if you turn many it makes a huge difference. If you only make one pen at a time, buy one for every size tube you build.

Advance VERY slowly to enter the blank. This is a very important step. Think how slowly you exit and be even slower. I do not have time to drill special entry holes and my results do not suggest the need.

Once the entire drill width has entered the blank you can speed up a bit, but go slowly still.

Clear chips every 1/2”.

All my bits have a mark to indicate the end of the tube. I check and re-mark them for each drilling session. I clear chips well 1/8” before the bit exits.

SLOW DOWN your travel at the exit. This is where blowout occurs. Watch the bit start to exit and be patient. Too fast or too many chips and bad things happen.

It works for me and I hope it helps you get consistent results.
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Last edited by mmayo; 07-14-2018 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 07-14-2018, 08:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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VERY nice results !!!


I concur with your method ! . Except I do use twist bits and at lower speed. . But never brad point.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have a 45 year old drill press that drills true holes as good as my lathe, the lathe is 46 years old. A lot of your post depends on the quality of the equipment one is using and the operator. Even with the best of equipment there can be operator errors.

On my drillpress table I have mounted a self centering lathe chuck, so that it is basically the same as a vertical lathe. But it is quite a bit faster since the quill returns on it's own and goes down with out having to turn the tailstock handle.
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Mark, I totally agree with you and the tools you suggest.
I would like to add something I use to insure accurate entry when drilling acrylic or wood. I got a set of starter drill bits from HF. These are normally used when drilling on metal lathe, but I have found they increase the accuracy for bits entering any material. I have found that they work especially well in wood to keep the drill bit from wandering in the grain when the drill bit is entering the end of the blank and they do help when drilling acrylic.
Just my $.02 worth...….
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for sharing your method Mark. I personally drill on the lathe as well, typically I turn round and use a collet chuck to hold the blank. As a very low volume hobbyist, my methods are slightly different. I will add that I have found success with waxing the drill bit and also cooling with denatured alcohol as needed. I have been able to save some pretty small pieces of material, I can't really explain why saving a $0.50 piece of wood is so satisfying...
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyitfast View Post
Mark, I totally agree with you and the tools you suggest.
I would like to add something I use to insure accurate entry when drilling acrylic or wood. I got a set of starter drill bits from HF. These are normally used when drilling on metal lathe, but I have found they increase the accuracy for bits entering any material. I have found that they work especially well in wood to keep the drill bit from wandering in the grain when the drill bit is entering the end of the blank and they do help when drilling acrylic.
Just my $.02 worth...….
Gordon
My success is better with acrylic and I will take your advice for Woods that make drill bits wander. It happens when it wants to, the grain decides when I get a useless piece of wood. Acrylic obeys almost always with patience.
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Good advice, thank you.
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Totally agree with starting the cut very slowly. What I call “lead-in”.
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Old 07-15-2018, 09:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Great tips, Mark. And I wholly endorse Gordon's extra tip - using a started bit.
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Old 07-15-2018, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I have a Nova chuck with pen jaws. I tried drilling some blanks on the lathe but the pen jaws only work if the blank is perfectly square or perfectly round. I don't care to take time to turn them round and then drill the blank.
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