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Best Way To Make Holes For Pots & Jacks

10/23/1999 12:04 AM
David Best Way To Make Holes For Pots & Jacks
What is the best way to make control panel holes?  
Drilling? OR is there a better way to make the perfect hole? Fractional punches???  
My drill bits keep making triangle shaped holes, uneven or jagged holes, or require lots of filing and sanding.  
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10/23/1999 12:12 AM

Couple things help a lot when dealing with metal..  
1. Use a drill press or -  
1a use a center punch to mark the hole and give the bit a center to sit in (so it won't wander..)  
2. use a *slow speed* when drilling. It's not a race. (and I would know a race if I saw one! ;-) You'll get a cleaner hole and again, less tendency for the drill to get creative on you.. (you might also start with a pilot hole, say 1/8" and work your way up..)  
3. use the bestest sharpest newest meanest bits you can afford. Makes a big difference. Dull bits suck.  
4. Use Aluminum for chassis whenever you can. It's easy to work with, pretty strong, and polishes very well (if you're into that sorta thing..)
10/23/1999 12:13 AM
Gil Ayan

If you're working with a steel chassis, yes, it is hard to make nice holes. If you're working with aluminum, 1/2" seems to be the biggest hole you can drill before it starts to look really bad. If you have a drill press, you should be better off; I have a hand drill and I'm telling you, it ain't easy. If you want to make a professional looking chassis, you are better off sending the thing to a machine shop and having them make the holes for you -- ideally when the chassis is being made for you.  
Punches work really well, but then again, laser cut holes look much better -- as smooth as baby skin.  
10/23/1999 12:17 AM
Ed Rembold

There are probably lots of highly technical ways-  
but for years I've been using Unibits, a type of "stepped" drill bit, available in 3 sizes, covering holes to an inch in dia. If you've never used one before, you'll be kicking yourself for not trying one sooner. Nothing is better for  
sheetmetal or aluminum project boxes.  
Ed Rembold
10/23/1999 1:28 AM
Steve A.
Another vote for Uni-Bits!
    The Uni-bits work great for anything up to a "real" Fender chassis. The progressively-sized steps make for a very clean and round hole. I usually use a regular bit for the starter hole (just to save waer'n'tear on my $30 Uni-bit).  
    For holes larger than maybe 3/4" on a heavy steel chassis I usually use a Greenlee knockout-punch- the nominal 1/2" conduit punch is around 7/8" (for preamp tube sockets) and the nominal 3/4" conduit punch is around 1 1/8" (for power tube sockets). I mention the nominal sizes because you can usually get a great deal on a used electrician's set during the winter months when work is slow... Or just order the exact sizes you need from Mouser, etc.  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. A tapered repairman's reamer going up to 1" is another handy tool for enlarging or deburring existing holes.
10/23/1999 6:36 PM
Dave M.
Re: Another vote for Uni-Bits! I third the motion
Ed and Steve are right. The Unibits are a great way to go for drilling sheetmetal. If you want to, you can pilot drill with a standard twist bit first (~1/16") if you're working with steel or stainless. For aluminum, just center punch and go.  
Keep in mind that the problems associated with twist bits and sheetmetal is the thickness of the material (sheet, in this case) vs. the diameter (and geometry) of a twist bit.  
-Dave M.
10/23/1999 7:46 PM
Steve A.

    I always wondered why twist drill bits sometimes produce a very round hole and sometimes a rounded triangular hole... Perhaps you can elaborate on that?  
Steve Ahola

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