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Old 06-11-2015   #1
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
Drilling multiple holes in frame

So i need to drill multiple holes in anodized aluminum pipe for my frame. These holes need to be exactly parallel and in the right places for this to work - any ideas for accomplishing this?

Obviously I will be using a drill press, but does anyone have a recommendation for a tool/jig that will 1) keep the pipe in place 2) center the pipe to ensure that the drill goes through the center of the pipe and 3) will allow for multiple consistent holes.


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Old 06-11-2015   #2
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,660
There is probably better ways, but when I did this I drilled a 1 5/8" hole (with a forstner bit) into a block of wood a few inches deep. I then marked center of the block and drilled a pilot hole all the way through. Then I cut the block in half (parallel to the hole and perpendicular to the pilot hole) and had two templates. These well get you centered. Then I clamped or screwed the block to my drill press table and set a stop at 2" from the end of the pipe (I was mounting lopro's). All I had to do to drill was slide the pipe into the template till it hit the stop and start drilling. I drilled both sides in one pass.

The tough part was getting the other end on exactly the same angle. For that I would attaché the low pro and clamp it to a dummy piece of pipe, then plumb that pipe so it was vertical (with a level). The rest of the process is similar. I built all this on my work bench so I could do it myself and would clamp the pipe where I wanted it so it didn't move.

Hopefully that all makes sense... It would be way easier to show you but I didn't take in pictures...

Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 06-11-2015   #3
BruceB's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 170
Some other ways

If your drill press has a fence, use it - this is what it is for. If not, you can use a "v-block" to hold the pipe centered or just clamp a straight block of wood such as a 2x4 to the table. Then just slide the pipe along. Be sure to use two clamps for the jig and two to hold the pipe. There are youtube videos showing this.

Even with a perfect setup, drill bits, especially small ones, can wander off course. So start drilling the hole really slow.

If you are in the Fort Collins area and need help, my drill press sets up well for this.

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Old 06-11-2015   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
I live in Fort Collins and would greatly appreciate some help/advice/access to your drill press. I will repay your time with lots of beer and blessings from the river gods. Let me know when you have some time. You can pm me or reach me at 97o-988-9596. Thanks again for the offer.
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Old 06-11-2015   #5
codycleve's Avatar
salmon, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 639
this is what I use... As for keeping them all the same.. make two marks on the end of the tube and use a level every time to make sure the two marks are verticle.

Eagle America Eagle America 448-5990 Center-It Drill Press V-Block - -
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Old 06-12-2015   #6
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
When I went to do this I found the chuck on my drillpress had frozen and I could not get it it to break free!

I was in a hurry, so I made a simple jig out of 2x4s to hold the pipe while clamped down to it, put a lowpro in it and taped 'em up good so they didn't shift and just drilled straight through...and was careful doing it to make sure it was straight. The day frame I made is perfectly flat and has perfect 90deg angles..... so it can be done freehand.
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Old 06-13-2015   #7
Whitewater Machine Works's Avatar
Groveland, California
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 31

I think the easiest way to do this at home would be to use the fitting for the fixture, this makes sure that the hole is drilled relative to the pipe ID and not the OD (can be quite a bit of concentricity error between the two) and that the hole is drilled at the proper distance from the end of the tube, taking into account a not quite square end cut etc.

1) Level your drill press. (So both holes end up drilled in the same plane.)

2) Over hang the end of the fitting that slips into the pipe. With the power off, run a 5/16 drill into the pin hole in the fitting and clamp the fitting to the table. Make sure that it slips through without binding/hitting the sides. (For best results use the shortest drill possible to keep wandering to a minimum, screw machine length if available.)

4) Clamp a board or piece of metal etc. to the middle of the section of the tube, something that won't rotate and is big enough to rest a level on. Place the most accurate level you have on the block, level the pipe (rotationally) and drill the hole. Flip the pipe to the other end, level and drill. It would be helpful to have a friend hold the level/tube. Feed in lightly so the tube does not try to rotate.

5) Deburr the inside of the pipe with a knife blade etc.

6) Repeat......

Good luck with the project, hope this is helpful,
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Old 06-16-2015   #8
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 321
If you can get your hands on a Hollander fitting sized for the NRS pipe, use that as a template. You want something that has been accurately pre-drilled, and Hollanders fit that bill. I slide on the fitting, put it where I want it, and clamp it. Then I hand drill one side's hole and put an alignment pin in it, rotate the pipe, and drill thru the pre-drilled hole on the other side of the Hollander. I use the Hollander, but any fitting the fits the pipe snug and is properly aligned will work.
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Old 06-16-2015   #9
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 321
By the way, I only use the Hollander technique when I can't do it any other way. If I was doing something like a cross-pipe with lopros on both ends, I'd just pay Mark at AAA the $10 drill & cut fee. Much cheaper than messing up pipe and lopros. Somewhere in the Fort there is a machine shop.
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Old 06-18-2015   #10
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
After a little trial and error we made it work with a drill press, v-block and a chaulk line. Thanks for all the input everyone.

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