How to drill a hole in a sphere without a drill press

Picture of How to drill a hole in a sphere without a drill press
 This is a guide on how to build a reasonably accurate jig for drilling a hole in a sphere with a hand drill. Following this step by step is very important to get successful results. There are basic measurement skills involved. The more accurate the measurement combined with the ability to match that measurement to the proper tool, the more successful your results will be. There is probably room for improvement to this technique.
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Step 1: Parts & tool list

Picture of Parts & tool list
•bolts(2), washers(2 or 4) & nuts(2)
•drill bit
•hole saw or spade bit that corresponds to the size of the ball

Step 2: Determining measurements

Picture of Determining measurements
 I wanted to drill a hole in a 1" ball, so in this instructable all of my measurements will relate to that size. it is easy to adjust this jig for a sphere of a different size but once the jig is created it will only be accurate for the size of sphere it was created for. First, measure the size of sphere you would like to drill into, in this case 1". You want the middle layers to be roughly the same width as the diameter of the sphere. I used 1/2" plywood for my jig and 4 layers. In my example my ball is 1", so the two middle layers are 1/2" and they add up to 1".This technique can be done with as little as three layers or several if necessary. I wouldn't recommend using layers any narrower than 1/2" for the top and bottom layers. The top and bottom layers  will be your drill guides, so, for accuracy's sake the thicker the better. 
  Cut your pieces to be the same size with sufficient amount of area around your ball. You want enough space to put two screws in each end and plenty of area around your sphere to be able to drill into it without compromising the strength of the jig. It will be easier to assemble if the pieces are cut the same size. 

buck22171 month ago

Great idea

darksb3r2 years ago
Hehe, last picture reminds me of the NeverSoft logo. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/77/Neversoft_Logo.png
Nice tut :)
rimar20002 years ago
Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
Laminarin2 years ago
What if, instead of the sphere being placed in a hole of similar diameter, it was placed between two pieces of wood with a hole diameter smaller than the sphere. This would allow the sphere to be clamped in place between the center plates while still using the outer wood plates as a drilling guide. This would also allow you to accommodate spheres of several sizes with the same jig. Alignment of the two halves might become a problem if your bolt holes began to wear however.
blackfire4116 (author) 2 years ago
The rest of the story is that I have access to a drill press but it was the middle of the night and I didn't want to wait until morning to continue with my project.
tholopotami2 years ago
Nice! As an amateur wood worker with a minimum of tools I am happy to see such kind of solutions. I use a drill press a lot but still to make a hole to a sphere would require a similar alignment procedure, with only one base plate instead of 4.
blackfire4116 (author) 2 years ago
Sure, glad you found it useful!
Gregbot2 years ago
excellent! thanks!!!