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Tutorial - Drilling holes in Cabs and Jewelry pieces

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Author Topic: Tutorial - Drilling holes in Cabs and Jewelry pieces  (Read 188 times)
Michael S Hoover - Redrummd
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« on: March 01, 2016, 12:22:05 am »

I prefer the keep it simple way.  I start with the piece sanded to 600 grit or 1200 grit.

1) Put down a zip lock bag.
2) Put a shop towel folded in half over the bag.
3) Put a tiny water container just  behind the towel/zip lock bag. I use a plastic baby food container.
4) Take a 1mm diamond coated bit and put it into the Foredom chuck.
5) Pick up the stone/cab you want to drill.
6) Use the dry bit to make a tiny spot where you want the hole.
7) Dip the stone into water, hold the stone and start drilling.
8) Watch the mud coming out of the hole, when it starts to thicken dip the stone into the water and wash off the mud. Do the same with the drill bit.
9) Repeat steps 7 and 8 until you have a hole deep enough to epoxy in the bail or through the stone if that is the need.

10) If you need a bigger hole follow the 1 mm with a 2mm diamond coated bit and then a 3mm diamond coated bit as needed. 

11) Use a 4 MM diamond coated ball bit the round the edges of the hole.

Finish polishing the piece.

12) I use a high temperature candle wax to polish the drilled hole.  I use a shop light to melt the wax in a sardine can sized can that should sit on a piece of wood for safety - spills forgetting the light is on for 30 minutes etc.  I have pieces of cotton string tied to a rod with the ends epoxied to be stiff.

13) Put the polished piece into the melted wax under the shop light. After 10 to 15 minutes use a toothpick to pick up the cab and a shop towel to polish off  the excess wax.  Go to string - pull through the drilled hole and run the string fairly aggressively through the hole.  You will get a much nicer "polish" through the hole.

No fancy clamps or equipment needed and faster, cleaner holes.

To help keep you hole properly centered flip the stone around every time you wash off the mud.   

With practice it is pretty easy to drill from both sides to meet in the middle on pieces too long to drill from one side and the holes tend to be better centered too. 

Here is a sample piece all drilled by hand.  The thicker pieces take about 30 minutes and are drilled from both sides.  The thinner ones take about 15 minutes and I usually drill even them from both sides.

On smaller pieces I drill the piece while holding it down on a small piece of hardwood.

I run the Foredom at about 1/2 to 3/4 speed most of the time.  The drilling seems to go faster than when running at full speed.

I rock the bits a bit from side to side while drilling as the diamonds on the bits will create channels and take a lot more pressure than when I use the rocking.   Some bits work a lot better than others.  So some I toss after about a minute as the quality control for these is poor.  Other bits last for many pieces.  I keep a dressing stick on the towel and occasionally test the bit to be sure it still has enough diamond on the tip to be effective and it seems to help keep the bits working longer.



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