Tips, Tricks and Ruminations
Of Things Panels & Holes...
by, 05-20-2011 at 06:23 AM (1009 Views)
The recently debuted Builders sub-forum was the catalyst for this entry. I'm sure the focus will be "old news" to many builders here, but I'm hoping it may provide some useful information for any newbies.
The question arises, when starting a new project that includes machining a chassis, how does one go from here...
...to here without tearing up the metal and ending up with reasonable hole alignment?
I start with a template that represents the required holes. VISIO is my drawing tool of choice that's used to generate the template. The template is printed (at 100%) and then taped on to the chassis.
The drill-points are punched to give the drill something on which to center, and then a pilot hole is drilled. Attempting to drill large-ish holes (almost one half inch) in thin aluminum is a recipe for ragged edges and possible blood-letting. A special drill bit is used that gives very clean edges with none of the hazardous vibrating and choking that can happen with a standard bit. This bit is a...
...Unibit! And a wonderous invention it is!
Instead of a twisted bit, it has stepped levels that allow the drill to go smoothly from a small-ish to a large-ish hole with ease.
The end result is very clean holes, easily reproduced, with hardly any effort.
They are not cheap. I think I paid around $35 in 1998, but it has proved well worth the cost.
If able, I'd heartily recommend buying one.