Introduction: DIY Pcb Hand Drilling Machine

Picture of DIY Pcb Hand Drilling Machine

hello all,
This is my first instructable.
I am just a hobbyist who interested making circuits and their pcb's in complete DIY manner.i saw lot of articles of home made PCBs.they were quite good except one step.making holes for mounting components.start from laser printing the PCB layout to mounting the components you can carry out in home except the drilling shld have a drilling machine with small drill chuck,which is capable of holding 0.5-1.5 drills.
Then i had in my mind,why not DIY PCB Hand drilling machine.
My goal is to built one from junk which is capable of drilling small holes to mount components.

Remember this is not sort of professional drilling machine.with it u can just make holes small enough to mount electronic components over PCB.
Finishing of the drilled holes will depend up on the type of drill you used.(made)

Below is my PCB hand drill and my PCB making setup.

Step 1: Stuff Needed

This is what u need to built a PCB Hand drilling machine.

1. 24v DC motor (takes from old dot matrix printer)
2. Nylon pulley (from printer only)
3. Mounting screws 3mm (these are used to mount mother board in CPU cabinet)
4. 3mm hardened screws (2-2.5 Inch in length)
5. 24V supply,some basic tools,Grinding machine with Rough and smooth wheels.

Step 2: Procedure

Picture of Procedure

Making drill bits:

Take 3mm hardened screw and cut off its head.then use a smooth grinding machine to grind it as shown in the below picture.this step require little experience of grinding operation.
In the picture drill 2 is not can make hole but the finishing of the hole will be its area increased from tip to the end .where as drill 4 has same area from tip to with it u will get exact circular hole.

In the another picture u'll find different types of drills.(sorry for such bad pic i was in hurry so had use MS paint)
drill 1 has circular edge so u have to apply lot of force to drill hole where as its grinding is easy.
drill 2 has square there will be 4 cutting faces.with it u'll get good hole but its hard to grind.
same with drill 3 but instead of 4 it has 3 cutting edges.

so you have to experiment ,which one is good and suitable to you.

Step 3: Assembly

Picture of Assembly
Now start assembly
take the nylon pulley and try to create internal threads.for this u don't need any spl. tools.take 3mm screw and tighten it in to the pulley with little the pulley is made of nylon internal threads will be created by that 3mm unscrew it and fix the mounting screw firmly.
then fix the previously made drill bit inside the mounting insert this hole assembly in to the motor shaft.
*If my explanation is not clear please follow the pictures below.

Voilah! your home made drilling machine is ready.before going to drill ur PCB,test it on a waste that you can confirm which drill is good and with which ur getting good finish.

some points that i want to repeat
1.This is not professional type drilling machine.
2.hole finishing will depend up on ur tool(i prefer square type drill).so make it carefully
3.try to get motor with High RPM and some good torque.

Have a look at the drilling operation sample video

As i said before this is my first instructable,so let me know abt my mistakes.


UtkarshVerma (author)2017-04-22

For those who are still struggling with it, try my instructable:

PerryinjaxB (author)2015-07-05

Can I heat the tip of a safety pin and punch a hole in my PCB since I only need to do it once and do not care if the hole is a bit sloppy?

PerryinjaxB (author)2015-07-05

Why not just grind flat two sides of the motor's shaft? I have so many tiny electric motors from the tail motor of crashed mini-helicopters that once it goes dull I could just grind a new one on a new motor. Would that work? Or is it necessary to use the threaded screw for a reason I am not thinking about? Btw- I do realize that I would need to keep the heat down while grinding in small steps, off then on again on the grinding wheel to keep from melting the brushes the shaft is connected to inside the motor. But what about other than that, any reason why it wouldn't work just as well, and get to avoid the making of the "chuck"? Maybe one could even use a small hand file to file some kind of sharp edge on the end of the shaft? IDK

arupbsk (author)2011-07-11

I'll also build a such drill.
But is there any wat to attach our normal titanium drillbits into the motor?

ac-dc (author)arupbsk2012-12-13

Normal PCB drill bits are a brittle carbide rather than titanium, and are too brittle for hand drilling unless you use an excessively large bit.

If you wish to try using them anyway, use a "dremel tool" (rotary hobby tool) since it is essentially a handheld motor with the chuck and collet needed to align and attach the drill bit to the motor shaft in a non-permanent way.

Ortzinator (author)arupbsk2012-11-15

You'd have to find a very small chuck and figure out some way to attach it.

Spaceman Spiff (author)2012-11-16

I've always just used my dremel to do this kind of job, but perhaps a smaller tool would help with precision drilling. Do you find this to be easier than using a dremel or drill press?

glorybe (author)2012-11-15

The old fashioned dentist drills that used cords and pulleys operate at very high rpms. Many nail techs use them as they can shape a finger nail quickly. A good used unit costs about $200. US and they are bulky.

tony54 (author)2012-05-04

In the video you are holding the drill at an angle. Drilling at exactly 90 degrees is VERY important. otherwise you are coming out at a different location on the other side and component leads like IC wont fit properly unless the hole is drilled too large. Drillig to large creates other problems.

You need to use a FIXED drill at as high a speed as possible. Commercial drilling machines use 50,000 - 100,000 RPM. Since that isn't something the average person can find or afford, use at least 30,000 RPM with a Dremel and if possible replace its' bearings with BETTER bearings. Use in a Dremel drill press or make your own version but you shouldn't tilt more than 1 degree. You can be more relaxed if you are only drilling large 1/16th inch or larger but smaller bits and parts REQUIRE the accuracy.

Also, you can get CARBIDE PC board drill bits for around $1 - 2 each used. They are much better that new high speed steel but don't tolerate side movement. They will break like glass if much side force is applied.

I used to work designing and manufacture commercial PC boards so I know from what I'm doing.

diy_bloke (author)tony542012-06-23

You are ever so right: the carbide drill bitsmake perfect holes but indeed break like glass if they are just slightly bended. Couple that to the price and making your holes could become very expensive. I herefore now use HSS metal drill bits: a lot cheaper and they allow for a lot of sideways bending. There are a few cons: they holes they make are a bit rougher (but very acceptable) and they wear out sooner. Still I no longer have the frustration of breaking two 2 euro drill bits on a PCB with one or two holes to go on a saturday evening and no stores open on sunday

spawnos3717 (author)2011-12-26

What are you using as a power supply?

coder512 (author)2011-11-09

I wonder if I get the drill which a Dentist uses to drill a tooth like this one lolzz

margrove (author)2010-09-07

You can go further! See:

It works really well.
By the way, I had no trouble with your English. For a first instructable you have done remarkably well. Let's have more!

beehard44 (author)2010-08-26

sorry if i double post but, can i use a needle for this or is it too brittle?

beehard44 (author)2010-08-26

is it just me or do your drill bits dont have any cutting edge?

Mr. Smart Kid (author)2007-06-14

cool but , throw out the iron the is insulated with abestos

PyroMonger (author)Mr. Smart Kid2009-01-29

did you mean to say the power cable is insulated with asbestos?

beehard44 (author)PyroMonger2010-08-26

the coil inside is coated with asbestos

PyroMonger (author)Mr. Smart Kid2009-01-29

you would be wrong anyway. an iron wouldn't be coated with such a dangerous material. Have some common sense.


Derin (author)Mr. Smart Kid2008-04-23

spell correctly that is asbestos not abestos

tony54 (author)2009-08-29

Any holes drilled in a PC board should be perfectly vertical (or as close as you can get). When you hold them by hand (I don't recommend it) you can never get it perfect but it might be good enough. Another problem is very small carbide drill bits for PC boards break easily if bent. I recommend a drill press at its fastest speed. Commercial drilling machines run between 40,000 - 100,000 RPM. I Dremel might get you 20,000 to 30,000, which does a good job IF held very still. Their Dremel vice is a better solution but more expensive.

brunoip (author)2009-04-09

is that a jdm programmer?

LasVegas (author)2007-03-02

For your first instructable... Not bad. I would have liked to see more detail in the steps of construction. Especially the grinding of your bits. Your spellchecker is working okay, but somehow accepted 'u' as a word. It isn't. It's a letter. Also, 'about' has three vowels, not one; There is a 'space' and a capital letter after a 'period'; And, finally, what exactly does "voilah" mean?

zorif (author)LasVegas2007-03-02

yes i do accept.My english is not so good.and it is further spoiled by my SMS language about making drill bits,i will try to get a video.

LasVegas (author)zorif2007-03-02

No problem... Surprisingly, your grammer is excellent. Just remember, it's 'you', not 'u'.

carlos66ba (author)LasVegas2007-03-03

Cool comments, but note that it is "grammar" not "grammer" :)

LasVegas (author)carlos66ba2007-03-03

You're right... You caught my typo, smart-ass.

Mr. Smart Kid (author)LasVegas2007-06-14

vages your funny

It's vegas not veges. I agree nice instructable but work on the grammar a little. If I'm understanding you correctly english is your second language so if that is the case then I'll give you that. Nice effort and an excellent first instructable.

lemonie (author)LasVegas2007-03-04

Anyone interested in "voilah" may find this of some use:

piper1234 (author)2007-11-05

hey wassamara wita writn' "U" ma man? dis addy is kewl ; ) xD haha

microman171 (author)2007-03-02

That is so AWSOME!!!!!!!! I hate having to use my pin vice to drill my holes (My dremel wont hold the bits and New Zealand sux so I cnt buy smaller collets) If I can get around to it then this it awsome. Now I need a bench grinder.........

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