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

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

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.



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    34 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    3 years ago on Introduction

    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


    7 years ago on Step 3

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

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Step 3

    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.


    Reply 6 years ago on Step 3

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

    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?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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


    7 years ago on Introduction

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


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    8 years ago on Introduction

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


    8 years ago on Introduction

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

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