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Drilling Holes in Minis - Part I

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unknown member writes:

I have been able to use my battery powered Ryobi drill with the speed dial on it turned to slow speed. Amazingly the chuck holds small bits to about .57 size.
I use the finger drill to start the hole so that when using the drill the bit doesn't wander before grabbing.

As an aside, on my 6mm tanks, I drilled a hole into the turret and superglued a small brad into it. Then a slightly larger hole in the hull body for it to slip into. The longer brad is better than the original cast peg in preventing the turret from easily falling off while allowing it to be rotated.

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10 January 2016page first published

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unknown member writes:

Here is today's problem: I have some 6mm sci-fi tank hulls and turrets. The turrets have pins to fit into holes in the hulls… but the hulls only have indents, not holes. (I don't know if this is by manufacturer's intent, or if the molds are just aging.)

Hull and turret

So I'd like to drill out the holes. (Or I could clip the pins very short and try to make them fit, but I think drilling out the holes is a better long-term solution.)

The hole looks like it should be about 1/16". Now in the old days, I might wrap some tape around a 1/16" drill bit to make a primitive handle, and start twisting away. Or I could grab a pin vise and fit it with a drill bit. But I've run into something that looks more convenient...

Finger Drills

Catalog picture of Finger Drill set

Finger Drills are essentially drill bits with handles! MicroMark has a set of four Finger Drills: 1/64 inch, 1/32 inch, 3/64 inch and 1/16 inch. Each comes in its own plastic container.

Finger Drill
MicroMark also makes a range of Finger Drills rated in number gauges, in 16 sizes from #80 (.0135 inch) to #50 (.0700 inch). The gauges match sizes of wire, which are also commonly rated in gauges.

The idea here is that instead of messing with changing drill bits in a pin vise, you can just pick up the Finger Drill you need and start twisting away.

Holding a Finger Drill

For me, the process is to take the Finger Drill between my thumb and forefinger and twist, reverse twist, twist, reverse twist, twist, reverse twist… a few hundred times. Progress is slow but you have total control, and the metal comes out as dust.

Finger Drill

The picture shows me drilling (lefthanded!) into a hull on my workbench, but it's more comfortable for me to hold the hull in my left hand and drill with my right hand. I just can't take the picture that way! grin

However, it takes a few minutes to drill out each hull to about 1/16" depth. (It's faster for smaller diameter holes.) And I have about a dozen tank hulls to drill out…

So while I like the Finger Drills, and they definitely have a place on my workbench, they're not the optimal tool for quickly drilling out a dozen or so tank hulls.

Assembled tank

Next Time: Drilling With a Screwdriver