Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:07 am

Hi

As a compolete engineering novice, with no experience or access to machine tools, can anyone tell me whether it would be possible and feasible to drill parallel .9mm holes in 2mm brass round wire, or 1/16" aluminium round rod? If so what equipment would be needed?

Hoping for a positive answer

Jon Price

User avatar
David B
Posts: 1126
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby David B » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:55 am

I have just tried it, Jon.

First, you must secure the wire. I tack soldered mine to a piece of brass which in turn was secured on to a piece of wood with masking tape. I then very lightly put a narrow file over the wire to create a slight flat and marked on that flat where I wanted to drill with a scribe, making a mark to help the drill start.

I used a 0.5mm drill in an Archimedes drill (which I prefer because I find I break fewer bits with one). I then drilled 0.9mm.

This may not be other people's method, but I managed to do it this way. Go very carefully!

David

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:03 am

This is excelent David, and a method I could certainly follow,(should I use carbon steel, or HSS bits in a hand drill?) but I didn't define my problem properly (I said I wasn't an engineer). The holes have to be .9mm diameter, which leaves less metal either side

Jon

User avatar
grovenor-2685
Posts: 3196
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:02 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:48 am

Perhaps you could explain what you mean by parallel holes?
I can see 3 possibilities which would need different solutions.
1. hole parallel with wire, ie creating a tube.
2. Holes across the wire, side by side along the length, how far apart?
3. Holes across the wire, side by side transversely.

For 1, simple enough for a short length, if you want a deeper hole better to buy tube to start with.
For 2, same as drilling one hole but do it twice.
For 3, Twice 0.9 in a 2mm wire is going to e very difficult, you would need a flat almost to the diameter to start the holes properly, and very high accuracy in the drilling.

Regards
Keith

User avatar
David B
Posts: 1126
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby David B » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:25 pm

Jon, I am no engineer either. When you say 'a hand drill' I get a vision of a Spear and Jackson! An Archimedes drill is a type of pin vice which has a spiral shaft and a collar which you slide up and down which twists the bit. Do an image search on Google for Archimedes drill. As for the bit, I haven't a clue what mine is but it cuts brass which is fairly soft.

You must check the drill is vertical and, by drilling 0.5 first, it is easier to see that you have enough metal either side. You then re-drill with the 0.9 which has a line to follow. You may not get success first time and I suggest you practise a few times. Half the battle is holding the wire, so tin both it and the brass scrap - a smear is enough - then use a clean iron to fix them together (with some flux). Minimal solder means much less cleaning later and less chance of damaging the wire which will be very delicate at the hole. If you need it, though, it will be ready tinned for fixing where you want it or you can clean the solder off with some wet and dry.

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:59 pm

Hi Keith

The holes need to be across the wire, side by side along the length. They are about 20mm apart on a 90mm length (this is an approximation, not a spec!). They need to be parallel in the sense that if wires were placed in the holes they would all be oriented the same way, rather than sticking out at different angles.

David, I was thinking more Pin Vice than Spear and Jackson when I said hand drill. Soldering the wire to a plate looks like the way to go but I'm not confident that all the holes would be vertical, which they must be

Jon

John Palmer
Posts: 587
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:09 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby John Palmer » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:35 pm

I would think in terms of constructing a drilling jig for this, particularly if you need to repeat the operation. I've attached a cross-section of such a jig that should be straightforward to fabricate from strip material.
Drilling Jig X-section.jpg
Drilling Jig X-section.jpg (24 KiB) Viewed 6982 times

The advantage of this is that you don't need to file a flat on the rod to be drilled, as the 0.9 mm bore in the plate above the rod acts as a guide for the bit. Also, the positioning of the holes relative to the centre line of the 2 mm rod will remain constant.

If you can accurately drill multiple guide bores in the jig it will be possible to repeat the operation with a constant pitch between each pair of holes in the 2 mm rod. Alternatively, if using only one guide bore, make sure that there is no rotation of the rod as you advance it through the jig before drilling the second hole. One way of doing this would be to attach something to the 2 mm rod that will ensure that no such rotation takes place.

If a choice is available, I would always much prefer a HSS bit for this, as it is less brittle than a carbon steel bit.

The tricky part of this job, in the absence of a sensitive drill press, is getting a bore through the guide plate that is truly at 90 degrees to it in the 'z-axis'.

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:58 pm

When you say a "sensitive" drill press what does that mean? I have a not very expensive drill press to hold a similar electric minidrill.

Not having facility to machine metal for the jig I presume I can use ready cut brass strip/sheet. Looking at Eileen's Emporium list I could solder together two 4x2x250s on top of a 10x2x250 which would give me the lower part. I'm guessing the upper part with the drilling holes would need to be thicker, perhaps three of the 10x2x250s soldered together?

John Palmer
Posts: 587
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:09 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby John Palmer » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:35 pm

I think you stand a good chance of success with the drill press you describe. I used the word 'sensitive' with the intention of excluding some of the devices I have seen that are intended to convert a power drill into a vertical drilling machine - sensitive they are not!

Ready cut strip is exactly the kind of material I had in mind. I worked up my sketch in CAD, using 2mm deep strips to flank the rod (obviously), mounted on a base 1 mm thick. The top plate containing the guide bore I drew with 5 mm thickness. I chose this thickness on the basis that it wouldn't be too hard to make the guide bore even without a drill press (some long, hard work if you were to do it with a pinchuck, but should be easy enough with the press you've got) whilst having sufficient depth to supply an accurate guide - in this respect the sketch, whilst not to scale, does accurately show the proportions of the components used. You might well get acceptable results using thinner plate having a correspondingly shorter guide bore.

If you've got some aluminium rod of the appropriate diameter, you can clamp your 2 mm thick sections against a length of this and to your baseplate in order to form the channel that wil take the workpiece when soldering up the jig. The aluminim rod will form a suitable gauge for the channel width required, but won't be soldered to the jig.

<edit> Thinking some more about it about it, I would first solder the strips that will flank the workpiece to the plate containing the guide bore, and attach the baseplate last. If you have already formed your guide bore in the 'top plate', you can then insert .9mm rod into that guide bore, flank this on either side with strips .55 mm thick, and press the flank pieces of the jig against these before soldering up. This way, your guide bore should end up centrally located in the channel to receive the workpiece. </edit>

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:46 pm

Thank you very much for all this useful info. I will (eventually) set about this, and if I can get it all to work I will report back.

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:50 pm

I jumped the gun and replied before your edit. I was thinking of keeping the top part of the jig seperate, just clamping it in place, as I will need at least two with different spacing between the drilling bores

User avatar
David B
Posts: 1126
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby David B » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:12 pm

Thank you, John, from a non-engineer. It's a different way of thinking and I was definitely not thinking 'jigs'.

Even with a jig, you are going to need to fix the rod somehow to stop it rotating.

With a drill press, what do people think is the minimum drill size that can be used. Are there particular considerations or settings for very small drills? I have a Proxxon and have not been very successful below 1mm which is why I suggested using the Archimedes above.

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:53 pm

The rod in my jig will have a 90degree bend at one end, which will go into a hole in the jig base, so it won't turn. I'd be inclined to use a gluethat could be dissolved out afterwards if this wasn't he case.

Lindsay G
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:16 am

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby Lindsay G » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:47 pm

This isn't too far adrift of the cutting hypodermic needles thread! I've only drill a couple of holes in thin wire, so experience isn't extensive, but outcome was successful. I soldered brass tube (with ID the same size as the diameter of the brass wire) onto PCB, drilled a hole in the tube, then inserted the wire and drilled again.

This could be used to drill a number of "horizontal" holes by bending one end of the wire thru' 90 degrees and laying that end flush on the PCB - all holes would then be in line. The holes can be spaced accurately by marking and measuring the protruding end of the wire.

Lindsay

Philip Hall
Posts: 1325
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:55 pm

David,

I have a Proxxon TBM 220 and can use drills down to 0.3mm. However, I have the same (Rohm) chuck fitted to my Unimat SL and it will not quite go down that far, say to 0.35mm. Obviously this is down to tolerances in manufacture. I think the practical limit is how fragile the drill is (HSS much tougher than carbon steel) and how gentle you are with the pressure.

Philip

User avatar
jayell
Posts: 500
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 8:20 am

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jayell » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:32 pm

Philip Hall wrote:I have a Proxxon TBM 220 and can use drills down to 0.3mm.


With the Proxxon drill you should be able to use their collets for holding small drills. Some micro drills have fixed size shafts, on ebay I found some with HSS ones with 2.3mm dia shafts and there may be other sizes, I suppose ideally they should match the 2mm or 3mm collets Proxxon use.

I do have one concern with the Proxxon though and that is it only has three speeds and the slowest may be too fast for very small drills and risk overheating them.

I have an Axminster drill stand for my dremel but there is too much slop in the travel for it to be usable for drilling small holes without a drill guide The jig suggested would I think help keep the drill from wandering too much. (The dremel is also too fast for drilling.)

john lewis

billbedford
Posts: 684
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:40 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby billbedford » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:32 am

So many questions -- Why would you want drill holes in wires? how many of these things are you thinking of making? are you going to solder the components?

If you are going to solder then the simplest way of producing the holes is to squeeze the wire with a pair of round nosed pliers and drill through the flat that you've formed. A couple of stroke with a fine file after soldering should remove the 'bulges' from the sides of the wire.
Bill Bedford
Mousa Models
http://www.mousa.biz

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:19 am

Hi Bill
This is an attempt to simulate the combination of tube and handrail down the side of the boiler on later L&NWR locos. The rail was fastened to the tube, but the tube only had a single center bracket attaching it to the boiler, being othrwise only attached at each end. The tube is round, so squashing the wire isn't an option. The handrail knob holes could be soldered but might possibly be glued at a late stage in the painting process. Since there are two of these tube/rail assemblies on any loco built from 1894 onwards then really these might be made in some numbers.

User avatar
Will L
Posts: 1676
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby Will L » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:30 pm

Are, I see, you mean your trying produce these.
lnwr handrail.jpg
lnwr handrail.jpg (80.35 KiB) Viewed 6765 times


If you use a tube of that sort of diameter it will be easier than using solid rod for lots of reasons. Among these you find drilling into the tube will not cause you much trouble as it reactively big compared with the drill size. There isn't the same need to go accurately through the centre, there being nothing in the centre to go through and you have no reason to want to go out the other side. So the drill doesn't wander, nicking across the tube with a knife edge file where you want to drill should be sufficient.

User avatar
HowardGWR
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:42 am

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby HowardGWR » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:23 pm

billbedford wrote:So many questions -- Why would you want drill holes in wires? how many of these things are you thinking of making? are you going to solder the components?

If you are going to solder then the simplest way of producing the holes is to squeeze the wire with a pair of round nosed pliers and drill through the flat that you've formed. A couple of stroke with a fine file after soldering should remove the 'bulges' from the sides of the wire.


Ooh you are clever - but I like you. :D Just at the right time, that advice. Most of us who have a Bachmann 57xx pannier body for improvement will undoubtedly have clumsily knocked off the two plastic 'screw down handles' on the water tank filler caps (they are clasp devices on the later 8750 types which themselves are oval-ish instead of circular). They are of course very thin, I think .33mm wire does it, so the junction between the upright wire that will be glued into the drilled out hole where the plastic one sat and the horizontal part that goes 'through' the vertical one can now be achieved, thanks to your tip. The same goes for brake standards and the like.

Thanks very much.

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:41 pm

Will L wrote:
If you use a tube of that sort of diameter it will be easier than using solid rod for lots of reasons. Among these you find drilling into the tube will not cause you much trouble as it reactively big compared with the drill size. There isn't the same need to go accurately through the centre, there being nothing in the centre to go through and you have no reason to want to go out the other side. So the drill doesn't wander, nicking across the tube with a knife edge file where you want to drill should be sufficient.


This sounds good, but bending the tube into a right angle where it enters the smokebox might be difficult

User avatar
Will L
Posts: 1676
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby Will L » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:39 pm

jon price wrote:... but bending the tube into a right angle where it enters the smokebox might be difficult


In theory what you need is a bending spring which slides over the tube, however It'll bend OK so long as the hole up the middle is full in the area of the bend. I suggest a close fitting bit of wire. It won't come out once you've made the bend but do we care?

billbedford
Posts: 684
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:40 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby billbedford » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:28 am

jon price wrote:Hi Bill
This is an attempt to simulate the combination of tube and handrail down the side of the boiler on later L&NWR locos. The rail was fastened to the tube, but the tube only had a single center bracket attaching it to the boiler, being othrwise only attached at each end. The tube is round, so squashing the wire isn't an option. The handrail knob holes could be soldered but might possibly be glued at a late stage in the painting process. Since there are two of these tube/rail assemblies on any loco built from 1894 onwards then really these might be made in some numbers.


Ah yes, exhaust ejector pipes, most companies used brackets that clamped the handrail knob to the pipes, but that seems to be too simple for Crewe....

I would be tempted to take the spigots off the hand rail knobs and solder them directly to a piece of rod. This is probably best done before you fix the pipe to the boiler. You can align the knobs to each other with a length of suitable wire and align the wire to the pipe with lumps of blutack or plasticine at each end of the wire.
Bill Bedford
Mousa Models
http://www.mousa.biz

User avatar
jon price
Posts: 484
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:34 pm

Re: Drilling holes in round rod/wire?

Postby jon price » Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:37 pm

billbedford wrote:
I would be tempted to take the spigots off the hand rail knobs and solder them directly to a piece of rod. This is probably best done before you fix the pipe to the boiler. You can align the knobs to each other with a length of suitable wire and align the wire to the pipe with lumps of blutack or plasticine at each end of the wire.


I think I might try this as well as some kind of jig/drilling a tube and see which comes out best. My soldering skills are latent

Jonj


Return to “Other Workshop Practice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest