Drilling Precise Grids


Drilling precise grids without a CNC machine can be tough to pull off. [Ookseer] has come up with a nifty method for dilling aligned holes with a drill press. He uses a right-angle jig on a Dremel drill press with stacks of business cards as spacers. The same number of cards is added between the substrate and the jig to space each new hole evenly. This method comes in handy when drilling grids in an enclosure for speakers, temperature sensors, or for an aesthetically pleasing design.

13 thoughts on “Drilling Precise Grids

  1. Moving the bed instead of the drill.
    Anyone have 2 printers they can scrap (I mean hack) into an X Y moving bed? I would think the carriage belt & stepping motor would provide enough torque to move low mass objects like printed circuit boards and the like.
    I haven’t done this yet, but I always though if I were going to drill out a PC, that I would cut a pre drilled board down the holes, attach that to a moving bed and slid that against a fence with a protruding notch sized so as to catch the edge of the holes of the pre drilled board. So much for the X direction, for the Y you would have to move the fence in 1/10 inch increments. But most boards are laid out w/the IC aligned from left to right (you know what I mean). So it should be easy to drill multiple rows of 1/10 inch holes using this technique before moving the fence.

  2. I was expecting more. My definition of precise is at least +-0.005″. Stacking business cards is only useful for small holes and grids, and will vary hole spacing by pressure applied and type of paper.

  3. I just use my CNC. ;)

    But you could always make a movable bed with some printer parts or something, as the first guy mentioned.

    And contrary to what he implied, moving the bed is standard. Most CNC’s and manual mills operate with an x-y movable table and a z axis head. Though knee mills allow the table to move up and down a bit too.

  4. Taylor said:
    “And contrary to what he implied, moving the bed is standard. Most CNC’s and manual mills operate with an x-y movable table and a z axis head. Though knee mills allow the table to move up and down a bit too.”

    Guess I was thinking woodworking when I was thinking “fixed bed”. Well… I guess I have seen 1 woodworking CNC where the wood was “shuttled” back and forth leaving the head to do Z and Y (or X depending on where you are standing:)).

  5. @tom that’s not very strudy, it’s thin acrylic only meant to mark points to drill consistently.

    What you could do is use a drawer guide, they aren’t too expensive often but run smoothly in only one dimension, then attach it to the underside of some sort of plate and you can manually CNC, if you forgive the expression.

  6. I think you could use a pin sticking up out of the table to set the distance… Just offset the pin by the amount you want, set the stock against a rail to keep the direction and it should work.

    Here’s one way of doing it:

    I’d probably go with a modification of this, though:

    You make one cut, stack it on the finger to index it over, and make another cut, etc…

    I’d do something similar, but using a pins and a fence that indexes the same way.

  7. For a larger grid, you could cut up a bunch of identically-sized spacer shims on a table saw, or make metal shims by cutting up flat stock of the appropriate thickness. Use a machinist’s center drill countersink bit (which will not wander) to start and layout all the holes in the grid. Then repeat the shimming process to drill all the holes using the final through drill bit.

    A center drill countersink bit is something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Anytime-Tools-CENTER-COUNTERSINK-Tooling/dp/B000N216SU

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