Drill Holes Using a Template




Introduction: Drill Holes Using a Template

About: I've built some weird stuff over the years, but most of that stuff has remained unseen by the world outside of me and a few friends. But then one day, one of these friends, he says to me, "Hey Jack, you shoul…

Drilling holes is boring.

That's supposed to be a joke. Get it? Drilling is boring. The words "drill" and "bore" are synonyms. Uh... yeah.

Seriously folks, drilling holes can be tedious, especially for projects demanding a large number of holes; i.e a whole bunch of holes.

I think the worst part of this hole drilling business, besides the bad puns, is doing all the measurements that determine where the holes should go, plus marking these measurements on the work piece, etc.

But what if there were a way to do most of the measuring in one step? E.g. put the measurements on a piece of paper, and then transfer those measurements directly to the piece.

Well, that's essentially what this instructable is all about.

By the way, the example work-pieces in which I'm drilling holes are some pieces of aluminum channel that I think used to be part of a Venetian window shade, in their former life. These pieces are intended to serve as heat sinks for some hot little LEDs. Maybe you'll see them again in another instructable of mine.

However, the particular shape of these pieces of metal and the pattern of the holes is not important to this instructable.

This instructable is intended to illustrate the general principle of transferring marks on a piece of paper, onto marks on a piece of metal, upon which holes can be drilled.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

paperworking tools:
straight edge ruler
single-hole hole punch

hole driling tools:
spring loaded center punch
small drill press, drill bits, etc

masking tape

Step 2: Draw the Template.

Figure out where you want your holes to go, and mark these locations on a piece of paper using a pencil and a ruler

Note that this drawing is done to the same scale and orientation (not flipped, mirrored, etc.) as desired locations of the holes on the work piece.

The use of graph paper with 0.25-inch spacing was particularly helpful for the pattern of holes in this example,

Also on this drawing you want include at least two geometric points, "key" points, for the purpose of lining up the paper template with the work piece.

The phrase "key" points is not canonical, I don't think, because I just made it up right now. I don't know what the canonical lingo for this concept should be, so I'll continue to use the word "key" in quotes, since this language is not perfect.

In the picture, I have drawn little circles around hole center locations, and I have drawn little x's on my "key" points.

Step 3: Cut Out Template. Punch Holes in Paper "key" Points

Use the scissors to release your paper golem, and set it free from its notepad bondage!

Well, truthfully, this paper golem you have created is not "free", nor would you want it to be. You may decide to set it free later, but for now you want it to do your bidding, faithfully transferring hole locations, as many times as is required, or at least as long as its fragile paper form can endure.

Also use the hole punch to punch holes through your "key" points. Notice that each "key" point is defined by the intersection of two perpendicular lines. For this trick to work, these lines must extend beyond the radius of the hole punched out by the hole punch.

You'll see why this is important in the next few steps.

Step 4: Mark Key Points on the Work Piece.

Measure and mark the location of your "key" points on the work piece.

Again each key point is at the intersection of two perpendicular lines, and again these lines must extend further than the radius of the hole punch. You'll see why in the next step.

In the picture there are two of these work pieces. The reason for this is because I am hoping to use the template twice on two separate pieces.

Step 5: Line Up the "key" Points and Tape the Template in Place.

At the "key" points the perpendicular lines on paper neatly line up with the lines drawn below the paper on the work piece.

Once all the "key" points are aligned (two in the picture shown below), then tape the template to the work piece to keep it in place.

Step 6: Transfer Hole Locations to Work Piece.

Transfer the hole locations from the paper template to the work piece using the spring loaded center punch.

Step 7: Carefully Remove the Template... and Use It Again.

Carefully remove the template, and it can be used again (by repeating Steps 5 and 6) on the next piece.

The second picture shows both pieces, complete with little dimples punched where the holes are destined to go.

Step 8: Drill Some Holes.

This is what it's all about. All the planning. All the work done in the previous steps.

It's time to drill some holes.

The dimples produced in the previous Step are used for starting the holes.

Put a hole through each dimple.

Step 9: More Drilling.

Some of these holes are destined to be larger than others. I use larger bits to "drill out" some of the holes from the previous step to make them larger.

Step 10: Voilà, C'est Fini.

Holy perforated metal Batman!

It's metal, with holes drilled in it.

First pic in the stack below shows the finished pieces and their paper template side by side. Some of the other tools take their place upon the stage too, to take a final bow before the curtain closes.

Trailing pics in the stack document some of Jack's previous paper-template-to-metal-hole-drilling adventures!

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    Lateral Thinker

    MAYBE CHECK OUT > http://sketchup.google.com/ < in 2D mode?

    Edges and Faces: Thats all there is to itPencil

    Every SketchUp model is made up of just two things: edges and faces. Edges are straight lines, and faces are the 2D shapes that are created when several edges form a flat loop. For example, a rectangular face is bound by four edges that are connected together at right angles. To build models in SketchUp, you draw edges and faces using a few simple tools that you can learn in a small amount of time. It's as simple as that.
    Push/Pull: Quickly go from 2D to 3D push/pull

    Extrude any flat surface into a three-dimensional form with SketchUp's patented Push/Pull tool. Just click to start extruding, move your mouse, and click again to stop. You can Push/Pull a rectangle into a box. Or draw the outline of a staircase and Push/Pull it into 3D. Want to make a window? Push/Pull a hole through your wall. SketchUp is known for being easy to use, and Push/Pull is the reason why.
    Accurate measurements: Work with precision Tape measure

    SketchUp is great for working fast and loose in 3D, but it's more than just a fancy electronic pencil. Because you're working on a computer, everything you create in SketchUp has a precise dimension. When you're ready, you can build models that are as accurate as you need them to be. If you want, you can print scaled views of your model, and if you have SketchUp Pro, you can even export your geometry into other programs like AutoCAD and 3ds MAX.
    Follow Me: Create complex extrusions and lathed forms Follow Me

    You use SketchUp's innovative, do-everything Follow Me tool to create 3D forms by extruding 2D surfaces along predetermined paths. Model a bent pipe by extruding a circle along an L-shaped line. Create a bottle by drawing half of its outline, then using Follow Me to sweep it around a circle. You can even use Follow Me to round off (fillet) edges on things like handrails, furniture and electronic gadgets.


    12 years ago on Step 2

    Another great way to mark out the dill points is laying them out in Illustrator or a CAD program. Then just print out the pattern (100% scale, of course!) and proceed as described above. The great part about this method is that if you happen to destroy your template you can just print another one that's exactly the same.

    Jack A Lopez
    Jack A Lopez

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    That's a damn good idea! Like you say it would definitely facilitate storing templates resurrecting them later. However I think I've still got some learning to do wrt drawing programs. In the past I've done a lot of drawing with MS Paint, but uh... I'm beginning to realize that's nothing to brag about. I mean I've made a lot of drawings in the past using crayons too! I think I can get OpenOffice Draw to do the trick. It claims to be a vector drawing program, with the ability to print to scale. I'll report back to this comment section if I learn anything.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Any decent vector drawing program will give you X,Y coordinates of the cursor, making it easy to simply draw a crosshair where you want the hole to be. You can also group points together and copy and paste them, if you have a few sets to lay out.

    Jack A Lopez
    Jack A Lopez

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Success! I managed to create and print-to-scale a template using OpenOffice Draw. This template, and the original, are shown in the pic below.


    Reply 12 years ago on Step 2

    Perfect! Looks great!


    12 years ago on Step 3

    Instead of a hole punch you need a tiny point such as a scriber or even an ice pick. The idea being that in order to be accurate you want to transfer a tiny mark. Then use a punch to form a dimple and drill with a small bit before bringing the hole to a final size. When finished on any piece that has a number of holes in a line you can check with a straight edge to see if the top and bottom edges of the holes are in a perfect line.