Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Got a question about techniques, materials or other aspects of physically building a model? This is the place to ask.

Moderators: DasPhule, Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Tchail
Posts: 3979
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:40 pm
Location: Nowhere in Particular

Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Tchail » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:07 pm

I bought a Rogue One Star Destroyer model, and am interested in lighting it with 0.25 mm fiber optics.

The problem is, how do I drill the thousand(s) of tiny holes?

I have a pin vise, but based on my experience with #80 drill bits, I would end up breaking a lot of those. And the cheapest I've been able to find them is 10 for $6.00.

I do have a really crazy idea about using a laser diode from a DVD or Blu Ray burner to burn tiny holes. I've seen a bunch of videos of people using laser diodes to light matches, engrave wood, and pop balloons, but I wonder if anyone has ever tried it with drilling holes in polystyrene or resin...

One problem is how do you keep the beam focused as the laser drills through the plastic.

Any thoughts?
“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has generally been regarded as a bad move." Episode 5, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

wowyz
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 2:17 am

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by wowyz » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:14 pm

Use a pinvise with lots of small drill-bits(snap easily).

Add fiber optics from an LED.

Ant
Posts: 390
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2002 8:02 am
Location: Oxford UK
Contact:

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Ant » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:21 am

I made myself a mini drill from a 12v motor & 600RPM gearbox combo, and miniature chuck, both from ebay for a total of less than 5 quid that I have been using with 0.5mm drills on my Zvezda SD and haven't broken a drill yet. It's fast enough to drill a hole in a couple of seconds, but not fast enough to melt the plastic. Being so small and light it's much easier to hold steady than my Dremel too.

Image

I think any laser solution would be extremely difficult- you'd be melting a hole many times deeper than its diameter which is going to leave a mess. A BR laser only just has the power to burn dark materials, white styrene would reflect most of that energy and you would almost certainly end up causing yourself eye damage at some point along the way. No model is worth that.

User avatar
southwestforests
Posts: 1761
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:09 pm
Location: Right smack in middle of Missouri

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by southwestforests » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:08 am

Since early 1980s I've used number 80, 79, 78, bits for various things in model trains such as adding metal grab irons to plastic body shells. Best I've been able to determine is that there is no easy way and bits will eventually break in much the same way as how cats will eventually hack up hairballs.
Some helpful hints are:
Be very aware of developing getfinisheditis on each and every hole, that is prime time for breaking bits; you can bet your grandkids' inheritance on it.
Nibble at it about 5 holes at a time then get up and leave: yes, it will probably take a year to do the job.
Drill with no distractions, none, zero, zilch, no TV, no radio, no CD, no iTunes, no screaming toddlers, no relatives asking where the 16 ounce iced tea glasses are, nothing, if you aren't 100% focused you will break the bit.
The drain from being that focused is why only 5 holes at a sitting.
"There are a thousand things that can happen when you go light a rocket engine, and only one of them is good."
Tom Mueller of SpaceX, in Air and Space, Jan. 2011

User avatar
Tchail
Posts: 3979
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:40 pm
Location: Nowhere in Particular

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Tchail » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:08 pm

Ant wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:21 am
I made myself a mini drill from a 12v motor & 600RPM gearbox combo, and miniature chuck, both from ebay for a total of less than 5 quid that I have been using with 0.5mm drills on my Zvezda SD and haven't broken a drill yet. It's fast enough to drill a hole in a couple of seconds, but not fast enough to melt the plastic. Being so small and light it's much easier to hold steady than my Dremel too.

Image

I think any laser solution would be extremely difficult- you'd be melting a hole many times deeper than its diameter which is going to leave a mess. A BR laser only just has the power to burn dark materials, white styrene would reflect most of that energy and you would almost certainly end up causing yourself eye damage at some point along the way. No model is worth that.
This looks like a great solution!

Thanks!

-T
“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has generally been regarded as a bad move." Episode 5, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

wowyz
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 2:17 am

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by wowyz » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:31 pm

I got a wave pen style router, small, light and smooth speed dial.
This one: https://hlj.com/product/WAVHT-190

But prefer a pinvise as I go down to 0.1mm bits (look at it wrong and it breaks).

Great advise above. go slowly, few holes at a time.

User avatar
Tchail
Posts: 3979
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:40 pm
Location: Nowhere in Particular

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Tchail » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:06 pm

Never mind!

I figured out the answers to my questions!

Thanks anyway!

-T
“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has generally been regarded as a bad move." Episode 5, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

E-Dub
Posts: 6276
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:44 pm
Location: MICHIGAN

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by E-Dub » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:03 am

If you're friendly with your dentist he (or she) would probably be willing to give you old dental bits. Even when they're no longer good for teeth they're fine for styrene and resin. Been using them for years and have only broken two.
PITHY SAYING TO BE ADDED LATER

User avatar
Tchail
Posts: 3979
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:40 pm
Location: Nowhere in Particular

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Tchail » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:09 pm

E-Dub wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:03 am
If you're friendly with your dentist he (or she) would probably be willing to give you old dental bits. Even when they're no longer good for teeth they're fine for styrene and resin. Been using them for years and have only broken two.
I found these on Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O0 ... UTF8&psc=1

I think a big part of the problem of using a hand/manual/spring loaded pin vise is the amount of pressure you end up putting on the drill bit.

I like Ant's suggestion, and I've ordered the parts off of Ye 'Ol Bay of Evil. I think the bits will last longer if they're able to "nibble" at the plastic.
“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has generally been regarded as a bad move." Episode 5, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

User avatar
Zubie
Posts: 1445
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 2:03 pm
Location: Orion arm of Milky Way Galaxy
Contact:

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Zubie » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:01 pm

I remember using a heated needle when making holes for rigging in braced airplanes (typically wwi type stuff). Of course this isn't like doing the huge number of holes for lighting a Star Destroyer or some such vehicle, it does involve nothing more complicated than a candle, a pin, and a pair of pliers.

Haven't done it in a while, but I recently picked up a Glencoe J2F so I'll probably be revisiting it soon.
Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day - Slatibartfast, renowned fjord designer.

User avatar
naoto
Posts: 24526
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2002 3:22 pm
Location: Temple City, California, USA

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by naoto » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:23 pm

I guess utilizing the technology used by the C.M.D.F. is out of the question?
Naoto Kimura
木村直人

User avatar
Tchail
Posts: 3979
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:40 pm
Location: Nowhere in Particular

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Tchail » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:11 pm

Ant wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:21 am
I made myself a mini drill from a 12v motor & 600RPM gearbox combo, and miniature chuck, both from ebay for a total of less than 5 quid that I have been using with 0.5mm drills on my Zvezda SD and haven't broken a drill yet. It's fast enough to drill a hole in a couple of seconds, but not fast enough to melt the plastic. Being so small and light it's much easier to hold steady than my Dremel too.

Image

I think any laser solution would be extremely difficult- you'd be melting a hole many times deeper than its diameter which is going to leave a mess. A BR laser only just has the power to burn dark materials, white styrene would reflect most of that energy and you would almost certainly end up causing yourself eye damage at some point along the way. No model is worth that.
I bought a 600 rpm gearbox combo, and a miniature chuck.

But I’m having trouble mating the two in such a way that I don’t get any “wobble” on the tip of the drill bit.

Part of the problem is that the gearbox shaft has a diameter of 3 mm (and is a “D” shape), and the inner diameter of the miniature chuck is 3.5 mm.

I’ve tried wrapping a small length of Scotch tape on the gearbox shaft, and that does tamp down the wobble.

But since I plan on using 0.25 mm drill bits, I’d like to eliminate the wobble, if possible.

Does anyone have a suggestion?

[-o<
“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has generally been regarded as a bad move." Episode 5, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

User avatar
Zubie
Posts: 1445
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 2:03 pm
Location: Orion arm of Milky Way Galaxy
Contact:

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Zubie » Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:29 pm

Tchail wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 2:11 pm
I bought a 600 rpm gearbox combo, and a miniature chuck.
But I’m having trouble mating the two in such a way that I don’t get any “wobble” on the tip of the drill bit.

Part of the problem is that the gearbox shaft has a diameter of 3 mm (and is a “D” shape), and the inner diameter of the miniature chuck is 3.5 mm.
I’ve tried wrapping a small length of Scotch tape on the gearbox shaft, and that does tamp down the wobble. But since I plan on using 0.25 mm drill bits, I’d like to eliminate the wobble, if possible.

Does anyone have a suggestion?
[-o<
I haven't used this, but a thought occurs to me that might work better than scotch tape. Electronic supply houses sell heat shrink tube insulators. These are plastic insulators that you can fit around a wire, and then when heat is applied it shrinks down snugly around the wire. These are typically used to insulate and secure wire splices. Needless to say they do add to the diameter of the original, between a mm to 1/2mm depending on the sleeve gauge. Since they shrink around the wire, there is normally no substantial distortion around the wire. My only concern would be that being plastic the insulation may not stand up to the torque applied by the chuck, but it can't do much worse than tape. It would definitely be easier to use; just slip a slightly larger diameter over it, apply heat from match or soldering iron nearby, and done. If not wide enough, you could slip a next size and shrink over that. You can always strip it off later with an Xacto knife or wire stripper.

https://www.google.com/search?q=heat+sh ... 94&bih=638
Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day - Slatibartfast, renowned fjord designer.

User avatar
Tchail
Posts: 3979
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:40 pm
Location: Nowhere in Particular

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Tchail » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:34 pm

Thanks! I’ll take a look at what I have in the way of heat shrink tubing. It’s definitely worth a shot.

I should add that there are two hex screws on the chuck, positioned opposite from one another.

But trying to screw them in so that they’re equidistant from one another has been a challenge...
“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has generally been regarded as a bad move." Episode 5, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

User avatar
Zubie
Posts: 1445
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 2:03 pm
Location: Orion arm of Milky Way Galaxy
Contact:

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Zubie » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:57 pm

naoto wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:23 pm
I guess utilizing the technology used by the C.M.D.F. is out of the question?
If you have seen "Innerspace" you will know that the guy with that technology and the drill...
(SPOILER ALERT->)came to a bad end(<-/Spoiler Alert)

As a more constructive note, you may need to mark and count turns on those screws at that scale in order to get them even.
Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day - Slatibartfast, renowned fjord designer.

User avatar
Tchail
Posts: 3979
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:40 pm
Location: Nowhere in Particular

Re: Drilling Really Tiny Holes?

Post by Tchail » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:41 pm

Zubie wrote:
Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:57 pm
naoto wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:23 pm
I guess utilizing the technology used by the C.M.D.F. is out of the question?
If you have seen "Innerspace" you will know that the guy with that technology and the drill...
(SPOILER ALERT->)came to a bad end(<-/Spoiler Alert)

As a more constructive note, you may need to mark and count turns on those screws at that scale in order to get them even.
Innerspace is still a fun movie!

As for the screws, yeah - I’m afraid that you’re right...
“In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry, and has generally been regarded as a bad move." Episode 5, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests