1. Member Since
    Mar 2011
    May 19, 2011, 9:44 AM - drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #1


    Anyone got any tips for drilling holes into pvc/abs pipe?

    I'm trying to drill the holes for an e11 and I'm not happy with the results, hole size is 7/16 or 11mm.

    Holes keep ending up oval shaped, or just a bit wonky and chewed up looking.

    Using a hand drill at the moment, standard drill bit, anything better out there for this sort of stuff?

  2. RPF Premium Member Hogosha's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2010
    May 19, 2011, 9:57 AM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #2

    I found this Drill Rite Drilling Jig at Van Sant Enterprises, Inc

    I realize it might be a bit pricey, but maybe you can rig something similar on your own.

    This might be a good place to start.

    You are also better drilling the first one undersize and reaming up to the proper size.
    Last edited by Hogosha; May 19, 2011 at 10:13 AM.
  3. RPF Premium Member BornKilr's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2010
    North Carolina
    May 19, 2011, 10:34 AM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #3

    That jig would probably work if you don't have access to a drill press. That's the best for drilling consistent holes in odd shaped material
  4. RPF Premium Member Hogosha's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2010
    May 19, 2011, 11:39 AM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #4

    You can get a cheap drill press usually for under $100 at garage sales, or on craigslist, that is your best bet. Other than that, go get yourself a speed square, they are dirt cheap, and have a million uses. Use it to make a V-Block out of scrap wood, and clamp the
    pipe down with a pipe or conduit clamp. Use the speed square as a drill guide to drill a pilot hole, and gradually come up to the size you need.
  5. SDGlyph's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2010
    Manchester, UK
    May 19, 2011, 12:25 PM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #5

    If you're not using a drill press and/or can't get hold of one, the most important thing is to keep the pipe clamped still while you're drilling. I found it easiest to clamp the pipe in a small workbench, aligned so that I was drilling straight down. Drill a smaller pilot hole first, to keep the larger bit centred, and keep the bit spinning as you pull it back out to clear material & avoid snags. I didn't have any problems getting clean and regular holes entirely by hand/eye, and I'm all thumbs with this stuff.
  6. Maelstrom's Avatar
    Member Since
    Aug 2007
    May 19, 2011, 10:47 PM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #6

    If you watch Big Lots and or Harbor Freight you cab get a decent drill press with a vise rig for under 50 bucks. Drill press will probably be your best bet by far.
  7. badmojo's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2010
    NEK, VT
    May 20, 2011, 8:49 AM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #7

    I can't believe how much use I've ended up using using the Step Drill bit I bought last year. Gives you perfect round holes, even with a hand drill. When I made my Wet & Wild Blaster entry I used it by hand, no vise. It cost about $35 but it was well worth it.
  8. Lichtbringer's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jul 2010
    May 20, 2011, 10:37 AM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #8

    For plastic i prefer these type of wood-drills.

    No small feedhole first - just place the needlepart in the center and drill it.
  9. Member Since
    Nov 2001
    Langhorne, PA - just outside of Philadelphia
    May 20, 2011, 12:42 PM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #9

    you also need a jig/vise/something to hold the part in place while drilling. the only substance that I have never had to have clamped down has been wood. everythign esle metal plastic whatever seems to bind and move during drilling.

    Jedi Dade
  10. Noeland's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2005
    Cheboygan, MI
    May 20, 2011, 12:48 PM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #10

    I have found that using pilot holes helps a lot with PVC. This means use a thin drill bit to drill the center of the hole out. Then the bigger bit can sit in that hole. If you're getting ovals, just be aware of the angle of the bit before you drill.

    Use an x-acto knife and some fine grit sand paper to clean up any flashing.
  11. Member Since
    Mar 2011
    May 23, 2011, 6:37 AM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #11

    Thanks for all the replies guys, that gives me loads to think about.

    I'm now seriously considering getting a pillar drill too!
  12. CB2001's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2009
    Madison, Florida
    May 23, 2011, 9:48 AM - Re: drilling holes in pvc/abs pipe #12

    Normally, I clamp the pipe down to a piece of wood so to keep it still. Then, I slowly begin running the drill until there's enough of a groove cut into it. And I slowly continue to run the drill, so to cut down on any mess. I do my drilling by hand, especially with doing it with PVC (I've made two PVC drink carriers and a DIY Slider).

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