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Thread: Drilling a straight hole in the end of a cylinder

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    wisconsin
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    Drilling a straight hole in the end of a cylinder

    Hello,

    I am a beginner turner and have a question on a project I am working on. Basically what I am trying to do is turn a cylinder about 6” long by about 3” in diameter. In one end of the cylinder I want to drill a 1” hole exactly in the center going about 4” deep.

    I have been able to turn a straight cylinder on the lathe between centers to the dimensions needed. I used a piece of board and sandpaper to get it so that it is perfectly straight when checked with a straight edge. I then put it on my chop saw to cut both ends off square.

    The next step is where I am having some trouble. I thought the best way to drill the hole would be using a drill bit in my tail stock so I mounted the cylinder in my barracuda 2 chuck. The problem is that when I put it in the chuck with the end completely seated against the bottom of the jaws, the cylinder doesn’t run perfectly straight on the lathe. This means that if I try to drill the hole, it won’t run straight down the center of the cylinder.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or tips on how something like this should be done? I’m not sure where I am going wrong. Would the hole be better drilled on the drill press? Has anyone done something similar to this before?

    Thanks,
    Ryan Brown
    www.cleghorncreations.com

  2. #2
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    Ryan, let's look at this from another angle. How about drilling the hole first. Then make a dowel to fit in the hole so the piece can be turned. Thus, it in essence self centers if you line it up on the lathe by the center of the hole/dowel. Clear as mud?
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  3. #3
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    It is a matter of how you mount into the chuck. Mount but do not fully tighten. Turn by hand and place the live center into the center of the wood then tighten the chuck.
    I think taking off in the first place to chop saw is what is causing your prolblem. You would do better to start by rough turning the cylinder, making a tenon and chucking for finish turning. Then, while still on lathe part off waste at tail end, all will (should) remain true. The bring up live center, or drill bit, to center and have at it.

  4. #4
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    This requires something special, but what I do is drill the hole first, then use a cone on the tail stock when I turn the piece round. The cone guarantees that you're centered around the hole.

    You can drive the piece with it in your chuck at the headstock.

    Mike

    [Frank's suggestion of turning a tenon on the headstock end before you drill the hole is excellent. It'll guarantee that the headstock end is held accurately before you drill the hole. Just part off the tenon when you're finished.]
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    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 01-20-2009 at 04:36 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Wow thanks for the fast replies! I'll put these ideas to use as soon as I get time to head back out to the shop. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Another option that doesn't require a chuck or cutting precise faces is sticking the Jacob's chuck in the headstock instead of the tailstock. Since you have perfect center marks on both ends of your cylinder from turning it between centers, the hole will be centered as long as your bit doesn't wander.

    You can also use the toolrest as a depth stop as I do below when making a tap handle. It is helpful to have a drawbar to hold the chuck in the morse taper.







    -Joe

  7. #7
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    I agree with Frank that a lot of your problem is caused by turning your cylinder first, cutting it, then trying to drill it.

    Try this; rough your cylinder well over sized and put a tendon on the end to grasp with the chuck. Once you have it secured in the chuck, drill your hole with the tail stock. With the 1" hole through the middle, use a bull nose live center inside the end to center everything back up. With it properly supported and centered between the chuck and tail stock you can turn your cylinder to the final dimension. That will insure your hole stays perfectly centered while you complete the turning.

    The HF bull nose center is cheap enough, but you can also make one using a scrap turned onto a cone shape with an indent on the outboard side for your regular center to fit into. I used the home made version for many years to do pepper mills and the like before I picked up the HF.

    Mike

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryan brown View Post
    Hello,


    I have been able to turn a straight cylinder on the lathe between centers to the dimensions needed. I used a piece of board and sandpaper to get it so that it is perfectly straight when checked with a straight edge. I then put it on my chop saw to cut both ends off square.

    The next step is where I am having some trouble. I thought the best way to drill the hole would be using a drill bit in my tail stock so I mounted the cylinder in my barracuda 2 chuck. The problem is that when I put it in the chuck with the end completely seated against the bottom of the jaws, the cylinder doesn’t run perfectly straight on the lathe. This means that if I try to drill the hole, it won’t run straight down the center of the cylinder.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or tips on how something like this should be done? I’m not sure where I am going wrong. Would the hole be better drilled on the drill press? Has anyone done something similar to this before?

    Thanks,
    Ryan Brown
    www.cleghorncreations.com
    I agree with Frank and Mike that your problem is you say you turn it round, sand it round, take it to a chop saw to square the ends and then bottom it out in the chuck. You are not going to get your cylinder to run straight for two reasons. Your chop saw really does not square the end in my opinion and I can tell you if you bottom your piece out in your chuck it is not going to run true.

    Rough turn it round, cut a tenon about 1/4" long either dovetail or straight depending on the chuck, chuck it up and then drill your hole. Use a livecenter with a cone and turn to final size. You should be good to go.
    Bernie W.

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by M Toupin View Post
    I agree with Frank that a lot of your problem is caused by turning your cylinder first, cutting it, then trying to drill it.


    Mike

    Joe, from your pictures I see you are using the chuck incorrectly, many do.... the Jacobs chuck is meant to be used in the tailstockl ONLY Read the warning that came with the chuck. Put the work piece in a jawed chuck on the headstock and the Jacobs Chuck mounted on the tailstock, then drill the hole. The correct way. I know a lot of fellows do it that way but danger does ride with that practice, you can escape from time to time but all the world says the jacobs chuck should only be used in the tailstock for such drilling.

    You are expressing the "Drill Press" attitude, this is not a drill press (although Shopsmith owners have a lathe for a drill press) the work turns and the drill bit is stationary, The correct way. How can ou control the work when it is held by only a point on a center? Approach it for another (correct) way. Turn the work and hold the drill bit stationary in the chuck mounted in the tailstock and feed the drill using the tailstock advance screw.
    Last edited by Bill Simpson; 01-21-2009 at 03:12 AM.

  10. #10
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    Easiest is to rough turn, drill and then turn to final dimensions relative to the drilled hole as others have suggested.

    This is the method demonstrated by Bill Grumbine at the past year's Five Barns get together for handle making.

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