View Full Version : drilling profile rails

18-12-2016, 02:39 PM
Do all pillar drills hang enough to lean over the frame to drill? Once I've done the epoxy resin I will need to drill the holes for the profile rails so I'm looking into buying a decent pillar drill, I'm pretty heavy handed so I don't want to use a hand drill.

Any suggestions?


18-12-2016, 04:27 PM
I don't quite know what you are looking for, but my best guess is a radial drill. I have got one in Nottingham (Alfreton Road). If it is the right tool for the job. It is similar to this https://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Ffine woodworking.s3.tauntoncloud.com%2Fapp%2Fuploads%2F 2016%2F09%2F05173148%2F011192006_02_md.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.finewoodworking.com%2F2 007%2F05%2F14%2Fradial-arm-drill-presses&docid=LRgE7PIh7LM2ZM&tbnid=uOmIaGtDM1tpmM%3A&vet=1&w=230&h=288&client=firefox-b-ab&bih=932&biw=1920&q=radius%20drill&ved=0ahUKEwi1vKahk_7QAhVIcVAKHeOEDT4QMwgoKAwwDA&iact=mrc&uact=8 PM me if you think this is any use.

18-12-2016, 05:07 PM
Thanks but what i mean is when looking at various drill presses you put you material under it and then drill but i cant be sticking the whole frame under it lol, once ive leveled the frame and the epoxy resin has cured i will then be marking the holes out for the hiwin rails and then carefully drill and tap, ive not seen how people actually do it with drill press but i really dont feel comfortable using a hand drill.

18-12-2016, 05:33 PM
You could try a magnetic clamp drill, or some sort of clamp-on stand with a hand drill.

18-12-2016, 06:44 PM
Hi Reefy,

I've just finished drilling and tapping my rail mounting holes in the frame, but this is BEFORE the frame is assembled and the epoxy added.

My plan is that when everything is assembled in place, moat made, etc I will put long bolts into the holes covered in grease. After the pour, when things are nearly set I'll take them out.

The epoxy will not stick to them and the threads will be clear. I can then lay the rails down and bolt them in place. This method means you can drill the frame on a normal pillar drill.


I used my cnc machine to spot drill mark the holes:

But as yours is not ready yet you can use transfer punches to mark through the rail and into the frame (with the rail clamped in the right place and aligned parallel to the other one). Select the right diameter transfer punch which just about fits in the hole in the rail, and tap with a hammer. The pointed tip will create a centre mark on the frame below:

Clive S
18-12-2016, 08:28 PM
My plan is that when everything is assembled in place, moat made, etc I will put long bolts into the holes covered in grease. After the pour, when things are nearly set I'll take them out.
Don't forget you will get the epoxy rising around the bolts like the sides of the moat will so will have to be shaved off .

Boyan Silyavski
18-12-2016, 09:40 PM
Using a small drill press, the smallest ones, you could turn the base 180 degrees and clamp it to the table . Then drill, then move and so on.

But honestly you can not skip the drilling and tapping. I used a nice pro Makita 2 speed Rotary drill, new drill bits and Big Gator Tap and Drill Guide Block. Plus a clamp or two.

Using the Big Gator Tap and Drill Guide Block when tapping was a big help and i did not break a bit. Quality cordless drill with a machine tap also will help speeding the last part of the process.

I also use transfer punches as above.

Also drilling before mounting the rails against a straight edge ???:stupid: The acceptable error is not so much as you imagine it. If you do not do things precisely from the start you will have to open some rail holes further.

19-12-2016, 12:30 AM
Thanks guys really appreciate your input, will look for a decent pillar drill that i can clamp :)

19-12-2016, 01:00 PM
Well I've stopped buggering about and started drilling and tapping the first (reference rail) rail. I put the two reference sides of the rails together , as suggested, and I couldn't get a 1 thou feeler gauge to even start to go between them.

I've drilled and tapped about 7 holes so far with my set up as below and all the holes are nicely central with approx 1/2mm each side of the hole so plenty of room for any adjustment if needed.




Tooling plate is on order but will be 5-6 days [emoji17] and now going to order a straight edge from the same place as Silyavski in Germany to make sure that there isn't any (or negligible) twist in the rails.

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions guys!

I've got a FERM pillar drill and I clamped it to the bed of my machine to drill the holes. I also used a DIY jig to ensure that the holes were in the middle of the rail hole.....then hand tapped the holes using another jig....