Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, CHJ, Noel, Charley

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By Honest John
Just wondering how people drill small holes in your projects. My scroll working seems to go in fits and starts and I can feel myself building up to a project. Past work has not required very small holes most likely by accident rather than design. I’m thinking of trying some finer work, perhaps making a pattern from a photograph? And it looks like I’m going to require som tiny holes. Tiny to me might be considered 1 -1.5mm. The chuck on my Axminster bench dril doesn’t like very small drill bits, it always takes me many attempt to reinstall the bit so that it runs true. I can’t try it out because I’m away from home at the moment, but I’m wondering if I could drill freehand with a Dremel ? I note that Dremel also make a router attachment that looks like it may be perfect for accurately drilling tiny holes plumb to the surface. How do you make your holes, and do you think a Dremel is the way forward?
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By MikeG.
I drill many small holes of that sort of size, just not in a scrolling situation. I tend to use an old fashioned "egg beater" type hand drill, but sometimes use a cordless electric drill.

Why are you so concerned that it be drilled perpendicular to the surface? These holes are only decorative, aren't they? It doesn't take much skill to keep a hand drill as near as damnit vertical.
By sunnybob
I drill very small holes by hand, using the stanley 803 hand drill (the egg whisk one).
Smallest bit I have is 0.5 mm, but usually I drill 1 or 1.5 mm for pilot holes for tiny wood screws.
I find it hard to get the dremel vertical to the wood, whereas the much taller stanley is easy to align.
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By Trevanion
Get an old secondhand Eclipse no. 160 Pin Chuck like this one if you want to use the pillar drill. They enable you to hold drill bits to a much smaller size than a standard drill chuck, all you do it just chuck up the pin chuck in your regular one.

A small Archimedes drill is also a spot-on tool for the job.

Dremel would also work fine if you had the right size collet.
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By brianhabby
I use a Dremel with the optional drill stand and I can drill really tiny holes and they are always perpendicular to the workpiece.


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By Droogs
Depending on how many layers of veneer I use either an Archemides drill with appropriate chuck or if I have lots to do (20+) then I use the rotary tool in the veritas plunge base
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By Honest John
Thanks for your replies. I had completely overlooked using a hand drill. I certainly have one of those. The real issue I guess is all the methods suggested utilise a smaller chuck that is more able to deal with the fine drill sizes. Il give it a go when I get home. Thanks again.
+1 for a pin chucks (or a set, as per CHJ's post - remember that pin chucks have a collet which automatically means that the range of sizes each can handle is quite small).

Alternatively, +1 for the "egg beater" hand drill, and I also use my Dremel (free hand) when boring pilot holes for small screws.

And if you don't like pin chucks and don't mind spending a bit more (not a lot) you can buy a second chuck mounted on a shaft (usually a hex shaft) which you can simply chuck into your pillar drill when a hole MUST be really vertical. Mine goes from zero to about 4 or 5 mm and cost roughly a tenner equivalent. Made by Wolfcraft. I also use it in my (metal working) lathe sometimes.

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AES wrote:...And if you don't like pin chucks and don't mind spending a bit more (not a lot) you can buy a second chuck mounted on a shaft (usually a hex shaft) which you can simply chuck into your pillar drill when a hole MUST be really vertical. ...

Although my 16mm chuck holds 1mm, I use one of those regularly for small bits.
+1 CHJ's little drill chuck (though his looks a lot smarter than mine).
By Toonie
I use the same method as brianhabby. Dremel with the optional drill stand & it works very indeed, Usually down to 1mm bit size

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By Honest John
Soo I have a mall chuck just like the one in CHJs photo. I’ve never been very impressed with it as it never seemed to run true. It was cheap, from one of those table top sellers at Harrogate some years ago. However..... made a cheeky offer on an Eclipse 160 as another member suggested, and was accepted it arrived today, complete in its original box and with 3 collets. I am super impressed with this little piece of engineering. Runs perfectly true in my bench drill press and handles Rey tiny bits. I should now be able to drill tiny holes for silver findings, something I’ve always struggled with. And should be brilliant when drilling out fretwork work pieces