Over the years I have moved away from short “this is cool, check it out” types of posts. But after watching Jimmy DiResta’s 17-minute drill and drilling tips, I couldn’t not share it with you.
Before you watch the video, keep two things in mind. 1) DiResta knows what he’s doing, but it’s generally inadvisable to hand-hold whatever you’re drilling into, specially sheet metal or very thin metal plates.
And 2) please chime in with your own drill tips!
I can’t think of many good tips right now, but in light of last week’s post about hammer drills and other drills that lack depth adjustment rods, you can use shaft collars for repeatable drilling depths with a handheld drill. I can’t easily link to McMaster’s catalog, but this 3/16″ collar is an example of the type of clamping collar you should look for. You don’t want set screw-type collars.
Want more? I really enjoyed DiResta’s DIY Leatherman multi-tool clip, which involved metal bending and welding. It has nothing to do with drill tips, but is nonetheless a good watch.
Don’t forget to share your own drill tips in a comment!
Some great tips – thanks for pointing us to this video.
One caution is that a rat tail file may be more brittle than a drill bit so it mar shatter if it gets stuck.
My tip for drilling straight is to make up a short L-shaped block out of 2 small pieces of hardwood cut square. The inside corner of the “L” gives you a place to align the drill bit at 90 degrees in 2-planes square to the surface to be drilled.
1). If you need a drill stop, and don’t have one, cut a dowel to the length of the amount of the drill bit that will be exposed when at the proper depth. Carefully drill through the center of the dowel, and leave it on the bit. Friction will hold it in place, at least for several holes, and you have a positive stop that is easy to remove, and cheap.
2). When drilling steel with a cordless drill (or any drill with an adjustable clutch) set the clutch just so the bit doesnt slip while drilling. If the bit suddenly grabs, like it often does as the bit breaks through, the clutch will slip, saving your wrists from twisting, and goes a long way in preventing the bit edge from chipping.
When we were drilling wide flanges – and did not have room for a magnetic drill press – we’d use a corded 1/2 drive impact wrench with an auxiliary Jacobs chuck. When breakthrough was imminent and the typical torque reaction starting the gun would automatically move into impact mode – avoiding that wrist-breaking torqueing.
For this crowd, the following is likely a given. However, I am surprised how many don’t know some of the basics like taking the time to clear out the chips when drilling deep into wood or stepping up in drill bit sizes when you need to drill large holes in steel with a hand drill.
I also like to use scraps of wood as depth stops with hand drills versus collars or depth adjustment rods. I’ll drill a slightly over-sized hole in the scraps and chuck the bit so it protrudes the distance I need for the hole depth. I then let the chuck hit the scraps instead of my nice wood and it’s free material. It also came in handy when drilling holes in my enclosed trailer wall supports for mounting e-Track. Without a stop you have to be really careful so you don’t dent the outside sheeting from the inside out when you break through the metal support channel. Usually you end up where one gets away on you anyway, so this allows you to work faster with a better end result.
1) Grip and trigger. Use your MIDDLE finger for the trigger, not your index finger. Extend your index finger forward on the drill, “pointing” your hole. This greatly improves accuracy of drilling because it’s very natural to point.
2) Use the drill with your offhand occasionally when you’re in casual, comfortable shop activities. That way, when you’re all twisted around in an attic or some such and you have to use it offhand, you’ll be comfortable doing so.
I too use my middle finger on the trigger, like you said I find having your first finger pointing down the drill makes it far easier to get accurate repeated holes.
Due to what I do fora job I have to use my offhand regularly but your idea to practice makes sense too.
For depth marks I use a marker pen to draw a line around the drill bit.
Glad you linked the videos…I’ve been a huge Diresta for the last couple of years…but be warned…He will make you feel incompetent…He is that damn good!
Are his drills purposely white so you can’t tell the brand?
He started doing it so it would discourage theft and be easier to identify his tools in pawn shops if they were stolen. He also paints “Diresta” (as his logo) with a stencil on everything. He has better shops now so it is more of a branding and fun thing.
He is awesome! Didn’t know about him at all…
As custom cabinet makers often times in the field we have to improvise during an install for smaller diameter holes we’ll use regular drinking straws cut to length – they’re cheap, handy and disposable, larger holes we use the old tried, tested and proven method of a loop of tape around the bit at the proper depth- we always have some painters tape for marking or layout, granted it’s nothing fancy for sure, but then again nothing to be lost, stolen or forgotten on some job site either.
If you need fancy blocks and stop guides perhaps you should slow down and pay more attention to the actual work you’re doing rather then relying on some mechanical device to keep you safe and sound.
It depend on what you do and how often you do it. For a novice having the correct setup make it easier to get it done right the first time. For an industrial setting having the correct setup guarantee the repeatability that are often call for. Plus it minimize training time if you need to get somebody else to fill the same spot.
For professional like you, just keep on doing what you have been doing. There is an art to improvising that usually come with experience that not all of us have.