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Old 06-12-2017, 07:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Gainesville, Fl
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Default Drilling Blanks

I am new at this and thought I could drill a straight hole. However, I have found other wise. I mark it and the top part is always dead center. The bottom of the blank however will be to one side making it very thin on one side. I have checked the drill press and I dont think that is it. Any suggestions?

Thank you,

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Old 06-12-2017, 07:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Heyworth IL
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Default blank drilling

I had the same problem when I started when drilling on the drill press
I found out the bit always would drift
I solved my problem I started drilling on my lathe bought a nova chuck
and went to town works a lot better for me keeps hole in center you turn the blank and the bit is stationary in the tail stock
also I got a bit from PSI that is strictly for drilling acrylics
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Coquitlam, BC, Canada
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I had the same problem. . There is something about the way a drill press functions that makes it hard to get a straight hole in a pen blank no matter how good a vice you have.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Started drilling on my lathe (with a chuck) and no more problems !!

Kids rule the world !!! .... eventually if not already !

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Old 06-12-2017, 08:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Tunica, MS,
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Here is a link to drilling guided holes in deer antler:

Using the same principle on a drill press, have a base board on the DP table with a nail protruding upwards about 1/8 inch. Place one end of the blank on that, hold the blank with a clamp of some kind or pliers. Drill in the center on the top.

This makes me wonder, what are you using to hold the blank steady? Is the blank clamped down? Do you have a pen blank clamp?
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I found using the lathe is much better results for me.
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Old 06-12-2017, 09:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Tampa, FL
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What type of drill press do you have? I suspect either your table is not square to the quill or the table is flexing when you apply pressure while drilling. If it is one of the inexpensive table top models ... that is most likely what's happening. I have a floor model Delta and drill all of my blanks on my drill press with no problems at all. I clamp the blank in a V block and get straight through holes every time.
Rick - Tampa, FL
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Old 06-12-2017, 11:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Houston, Texas
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I think Rick is probably right, but will add my experiences: I started with drilling on the lathe with pretty good results, but still had some off center. I traced the problem to a combination of drilling too fast (not clearing flutes frequently) and dull bits, causing the bit to drift. I suspect that these issues could be present on the drill press also.
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Old 06-13-2017, 01:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Switch to drilling on the lathe. The Nova chuck was my choice. Remember, even on the lathe, speed and heat are your enemy. Spending a few more second spent here will make all the difference.

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Old 06-13-2017, 09:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Agree big time with Sam - make sure your drill bit is sharp. And clear often.

I've drilled on the lathe, too, but I'm NOT a 100% believer that it solves all problems. I had issues both ways and am now drilling almost always on the drill press. Sometimes I will also start drilling from one end and go half way. Then I'll flip and drill from the other end. That will at least insure the ends are centered. But if the drill press/table/hold down is out of alignment it will show up in a tight fit.
Ted in Michigan
Go Buckeyes!
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Cleveland, TN
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Bringing this to the top. Having the same problem. I can mark the center of one end of the blank and there is about 1/8 inch difference in the bottom of the blank. I checked the table and the level shows the bubble is in center. I checked the bit and it is straight. Chuck had virtually no play in it. I made a drilling jig for drilling cork rings for fishing rod grips. I snugged the bit in the corner and there was no gap on either side. Will see if I can find a photo of the jig.
Drilling on the lathe doesn't always work as my blanks are DIY and not always perfectly square on all four sides.
Any suggestions?
To err is human; To really mess it up, you need a computer.
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