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Thread: How to Drill Accurate Holes in a Cylinder or Flute ??????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Laurinburg NC

    How to Drill Accurate Holes in a Cylinder or Flute ??????

    I make flutes as a hobby. I use a drill press and have tried some different ways of placing the finger holes accurately in line on these flutes. It is so easy to get "off". I though about getting a bench top milling machine which some makers use but wish there was a cheaper way that was still accurate.. A bench top milling machine on the cheap is still $700 to $800 plus all the necessities.. (My drill press is not the best but works) Ive been looking at Craigslist and have actually posted an ad wanting to do a swap/trade for some things I have...some nice deer hunting stuff and some other odds and ends...Any ideas on the placement of these holes??? Thanks!

  2. #2
    You don't have to buy a milling machine to get an x-y table....

    I don't know how long a flute is, but will 9" of travel do ya? $124 + tax + shipping, straight from Grizzly:

    Their 12" travel model is only $132.

    Of course, these are Chinese made "precision" pieces, so your mileage definitely will vary. I'd not want to use these guys for precision drilling holes in pistons or multiple piecework that required repeatability in the fixturing... but they should be plenty workable for a wooden flute.

    If you REALLY want to go cheap, you can build a simple sliding table really easily. Hopefully your area has a good metal supply / welding supply store. Buy a 36" stick of acme threaded rod for $15-$20, a couple acme nuts for $5 each, and JB Weld everything to a wooden superstructure and TA-DA. Sliding Table.
    Last edited by David Agnew; 08-15-2012 at 02:19 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Santa Claus, In
    That's what I was thinking as well. Just make the table move and not the bit.

    I think a guy could make something with some thread-all and maybe some channel or T track.
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV
    I just hope the CNC guys don't get ahold of this!

    I'd say get one of those cheap X/Y tables. I've got one for my DP and it comes in handy for all kinds of things.

    Only works well on small projects, but it does do a good job of helping me get more accurately placed holes.
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    I would think something along the lines like making a fluted column.
    Secure the cylinder between to points, then build a jig to hold a plunge router and slide the router down the jig and put the holes where you need them
    Human Test Dummy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    I was thinking a V cut lengthwise in a board, clamp the flute into the V and then slide along a fence. That should center it along the way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    San Antonio, Texas
    I use one of these for drilling cylinders, but I'm not sure it is what you are talking about.
    Billy B.

    "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    +1 for any of the above.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Burt View Post
    I use one of these for drilling cylinders, but I'm not sure it is what you are talking about.
    I was claiming a redneck homemade version of that - a picture is worth at least 50 words...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    What kind of flutes are you making. I've done the Native American flutes and yes, that was the hardest part for me. I once thought of maybe trying to do the process backwards and drilling those holes first, while the blank was still a square, but then you would have the problem of the correct location of the holes as you shape the rest of the flute. I wonder how the Native Americans did it with no fancy tools.
    "We the People ......"

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