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Author Topic: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??  (Read 5446 times)
Derrick
Posts: 24


Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« on: October 20, 2004, 09:39:41 AM »

Hello! What is the best way to mark the holes before drilling FX boxes (like the Hammond 1590BB) so that the holes are where you want them and the job is professional. I've seen RG Keen's PDF with the template, but is there any other methods, jigs, or possabilities for doing this task?  The hole itself I am confidant I can do cleanly enough.  I'm looking for a method least prone to making any mistakes and quickly where I won't run into problems with pots hitting the case side, battery not fitting between switch and cae, or battery too loose, lopsided alignment of holes, etc.
Thanks!!
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Derrick

For The Love Of God... Please Don't Ware So Much Cologne Or Perfume!  You STINK!!!!
cd
Posts: 1784



Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2004, 09:44:33 AM »

Make a steel case that fits snugly over the box you want to drill.  Then drill the holes in the steel, and use that as a "template" for future builds.  

Of course, a drill press and/or unibit is a necessity.
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mrsage
Posts: 432


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Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2004, 09:44:50 AM »

Do you use a Unibit?

They're made by Irwin, and you can find them on Small Bear or on eBay or at your local hardware store. They make drilling holes easy...
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mlabbee
Posts: 288


Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2004, 09:45:21 AM »

I've been struggling with this, too.  I've been holding the box in a vice and drilling by hand. I mark the point to drill with a centerpunch placed on a template, but I still wind up a little off.  My guess is the only way to do it consistently and precisely is with a drill press and some kind of jig to hold the boxes fairly precisely.
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GreenEye
Posts: 338


...
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2004, 09:46:11 AM »

I broke down and got a Unibit.  Those things are like $15 or something at Home Depot.  Alas, it works great, and makes things so much easier.
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The Tone God
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Posts: 5299


Maggie


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Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2004, 10:59:25 AM »

Jiggerealla

Andrew
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D Wagner
Posts: 258


Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2004, 10:59:39 AM »

Derrick,

I have found that the best way to get perfectly centered holes is with a template generated in AutoCAD.  Tape it to your box after carefully aligning it.  Use a center punch to put dimples in the aluminum, but be sure to use a block of wood beneath it to absorb the shock.  

Then use a 1/16" drill bit to make holes in all of the dimples.  The small bit will not wander from the punch mark like a larger bit.  After drilling the 1/16" holes, work on larger holes with a Unibit or progressively larger drill bits.  Don't try to drill a 3/8" hole after the initial 1/16" hole.  If you are using standard bits, try 1/16", 1/8", 1/4", etc.  Trying to remove too much material at once gouges the hole out and leaves it ragged.  It can also damage your drill bit.  

FWIW, the Unibit is one of the best tools that I have used for this purpose.  Well worth the money.  (Be sure to keep it well oiled when not in use.)

I hope that this helps.

Derek
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Satch12879
Posts: 265


Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2004, 11:19:32 AM »

I'm thinking of abandoning the stepped bits in favor of Greenlee punches, especially for the very large Neutrik 1/4" locking and XLR jacks I use (15/16" diameter) on my patch boxes and other things.  One size, one hole, no burrs, easy alignment.  And they come in tons of sizes as well as squares and rectangles for the Bulgin battery drawer (not exactly the right size) or AC power plug receptacles.

But if you are sticking with the stepped bit, definitely the Unibit  (Lowe's carries them) or a similar titanium bit (makes the difference - Sears has a good one) with a drill press.  I got a small press from Home Depot on sale for about $80 and mounted it on a homemade stand with wheels of 2x4s and MDF.
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Paul Marossy
Posts: 12527


Just Another Guitarhead


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Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2004, 11:52:49 AM »

I have used a UniBit to drill countless holes, and it's still going. I also use AutoCAD to make my templates. I do the center punch thing, but my holes are usually somewhat less than perfect in terms of centering...  :oops:  :cry:
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Derrick
Posts: 24


Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2004, 01:27:56 PM »

Thanks everyone!  Yes, I have a unibit.  I'm really very confident with the drilling itself.  Sorry, I don't think I was being very clear in my post...  What is the best way to lay out where holes will be made when making a pedal?  I'm looking for a method least prone to making any mistakes (like the 9v battery not fitting between switch andcase... or too loose, pots hitting side of case, lopsided alignment of holes, etc.) and is very quick for marking where the holes will be drilled with enough accuracy not to have anything lopsided or off.  Someone said to use a CAD program which is like what RG Keen has done in his layout.  I don't have a CAD program and would like to know if there is another or better way?  Is it possable to make a great jig to do this or am I stuck with the CAD option only?
Thanks!!
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Derrick

For The Love Of God... Please Don't Ware So Much Cologne Or Perfume!  You STINK!!!!
Satch12879
Posts: 265


Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2004, 01:46:59 PM »

I see Wink

+1 on AutoCAD :mrgreen:

Here's my method:

First thing I do is get the data sheet for each component I'm using, switches, pots, battery holders, enclosures, etc. to get dimensions.  If there isn't a sheet or it doesnt have dimensions on it (which is odd), I grab the part in my hand directly and move on to the next step.

I have large (11"x17") grid paper that's spaced on 0.1" (really good for laying out perfboard by the way) and I draw out the enclosure top and sides.  Then using drafing templates and a triange or two, I position all of the components neatly.  So let's say I put my stomp switch on top at a certain place, I make sure that it doesn't protrude down too far into the box and doesn't interfere with any other component.  Having the item in your hand helps, too particularly when you are drawing 1:1 like this.

Once I'm satisfied with the layout, I take my enclosure and cover it with WIDE (2" and 3") masking tape on all sides.  I measure and mark out the centerlines and using my full-size drawing, I dimension off all the centers of all the holes I'm going to drill/punch.  I then trace the holes with my circle template, center-punch, and pilot-hole drill.

Just one method; the template is a fantastic idea as well.
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lumpymusic
Posts: 38


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Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2006, 04:42:44 PM »

I'm thinking of abandoning the stepped bits in favor of Greenlee punches,
especially for the very large Neutrik 1/4" locking and XLR jacks I use (15/16" diameter) on my patch
boxes and other things.  One size, one hole, no burrs, easy alignment.  And they come in tons of
sizes as well as squares and rectangles for the Bulgin battery drawer (not exactly the right size)
or AC power plug receptacles...

I'm having a hard time seeing an advantage to a Greenlee punch over a Unibit.
You can buy probably three Unibits for the price of just one punch. The punch
cuts only a single size hole. You still have to drill a substantial size hole for
the punch bolt. And I've never had any burrs or alignment problems
with a unibit.

If you're cutting D shape holes for some reason, that would be the only
time I think I could justify the high price of a greenlee, IMO.


Lumpy
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Yes but no blue notes. Just blue hairs.
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MartyMart
Posts: 6064


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Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2006, 04:58:33 PM »

Well measured or templated marks, centre punched and a "Unibit" - couldn't
live without it Cheesy
We have "metric" here so mine is 4mm/6mm/8mm/10mm/12mm
That's everything from 3mm LED holes to stomp switches, 6mm does small spdt
switches and 8mm for small 16mm alpha pot shafts. ( though 7mm would be perfect! )

MM.
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captntasty
Posts: 391


Patrick G.


Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2006, 05:24:38 PM »

My method is lo-tech and easy but by no means exact - I've gotten a feel for it though.  Once my board is populated I just place all the components inside the box, just loose, until I find what works.  I then mark (inside the box for most components except input, output and power jacks) a small dot with a Sharpie.  The in & out jacks are in the box I mark center point on the edge then transfer it around to the center of the box side walls on the outside.  My power jacks go wherever they will fit but usually on the top wall center.  I always use 1590BB's even if I could fit it into a 1590B - I like having room to work with.  My stomp-switch goes to one corner and the battery fits on the other side of that.  I really just eyeball it and haven't had a problem.  I tried templates and measurements and was nothing but frustrated.  If you're really trying to squeeze alot of stuff into a small enclosure you have to account for everything.  A larger box than is necessary leaves a lot of wiggle room.  If your trying to produce pro quality stuff, that probably requires everything to be in the right place and all measurements accounted for. 
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petemoore
Posts: 18797


As Yet Unrated


Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2006, 06:06:19 PM »

  Seems like Uni-bit takes it.
  I like to champhor as many holes as I can get to from the inside of the box. the pots fit better if there are no burrs. Fpr the jacks I take a screwdriver with a square tip side egde and use the other side of the hole to pry burrs off in rotating motion.
  I just get a stiff piece of cardboard, lay the box on it, mark and cutout the size of the box top.
  Then I mark from corners, 45 degree lines, and then 90 degree lines where the 45's intersect, soon I have evenly spaced points on a grid.
  If I need a row of pots lower I draw a parallel line, then...sometimes it takes a little figureing/fudgeing marking just off points to fit say 3 pot holes when you have 8 marks there [I just put one at 1/2 way, then space the other two along the parallel line].
  Anyway I double stick tape the template centered on box top, punch where marked.
  I'll make a new template or paste a new sheet if I want holes in different places next time.
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dr
Posts: 258

Dan R


Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2006, 08:10:26 PM »

....I scribe lines across the top with a compass by dragging it along the edge of the box to get a straight line for the pots; I scribe again to give me a line for the switches, and then again the sides for the jacks...I use the compass to find the centers and use a spring pin punch to dimple and then use a Unibit on a Big Lots drill press-comes out great every time....(I made wood blocks that fit inside the boxes I use, and they have bolts that keep it from sliding off because they fit the holes in the drill press worktop)....they come out great for the amount of time it takes me!........I also made a board to make wiring harnesses for the boxes size I use, and thats just a matter of putting small nails in a piece of wood and breaking out what goes where by bending the wires out of the harness around the nails.......does anybody else here do wiring harnesses for theirs? it makes it a whole lot easier so it drops right in and sometimes looks like they are "painted" in there.....very neat!... 
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saemskin
Posts: 35


Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2006, 08:45:23 PM »

a drill bit is always going to walk a little bit.  There are 3 things you can do to minimize that, depending on the type of drill press you are using.  You *are* using a drill press arent you?   icon_wink

1.  Always use screw size drill bits.  These are half the length of jobber bits, and therefore will not flex nearly as much.
2.  Say you are drilling a 3/8" hole.  That's too big to locate itself, just look at the width of the initial contact surface.  It's nearly 3/16 wide, so on most metals its going to move some, centerpunched or not.  Take the second step and pre-drill your hole about 30% the size of the finished hole.
3.  Buy a drill bushing.  Those are bronze sleeves that keep your bit from flexing.  You'll have to fixture it in place exactly concentric with the bit, and close to the workpiece.  on deep holes or thru holes which pass through multiple walls they are an invaluable resource.  You should be able to buy one at any tooling supplier like Fastenal.

Lastly, I'm new here so I really dont know what y'all know so forgive me if I'm insulting you with simple things.  But, always center punch your holes.  Get yourself a set of centerpunches.  I have a Starret kit that has 6 sizes.  The larger the hole, the larger the centerpunch the larger the indent to locate from.
Also, if you are repeating patterns over and over again, have a local shop either laser cut or water-jet a template for you.  Then you buy a transfer punch for each hole size, and voila` you have repeatability.
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Josh
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SAEMSKIN RECORDINGS
http://www.saemskin.com
saemskin
Posts: 35


Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2006, 08:51:00 PM »

Also, consider that when you use mechanical force to pierce material (ie a punch) you will bend said material.  Meaning the long side of the material will "dish" toward the hole.  The thicker the material in relation to the size of the hole, the worse this condition becomes.

example, at work we have 2 iron workers which punch, shear, notch, bend, etc... material.  If I take a piece of 1/4" x 2" flat bar and punch anything larger than a 1/2" hole in it (centerline) it will bend and have to be hammered back flat.  No one wants hammer blows on their workpiece that is for show.

Were I you guys I would shy away from that Greenlee thing.
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Josh
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ke4unr
Posts: 45

Ray K.


Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2006, 02:05:28 PM »

dr,

I've got the Unibit, spring pin punch, drill press, etc. But, I didn't think to make use of a compass, especially for lining up pots. Great idea!

Thanks,
Ray K.
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Gilles C
Posts: 1491


Quebec, Canada


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Re: Best Way To Drill FX Boxes??
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2006, 09:42:42 PM »

I used R.G.'s template for the 1590BB boxes many times as a guide to make the boxes with a center punch.

Then I use a small bit to begin with, and then these days it's an Unibit. Before it was standard bits. And I normally use a press drill.

I also use a reamer on the side of the holes to make them smoother.

Gilles
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