Author Topic: Plunge router in place of a drill press?  (Read 436 times)

jeromedawg

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Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« on: October 04, 2018, 10:58:57 PM »
Hey all,

Don't have a drill press but I do have a plunge router. Could I generally accomplish the same thing if I wanted to drill a 7/16th hole on the side of a 1.5"/2" slab for a floating shelf?

J Boogie

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 08:02:09 AM »
Ooof. Technically, yes absolutely a router can do that.

However you'll need more than just a plunge router to accomplish this without a genuinely ass clenching experience fraught with peril*  . You'll need a two sided router edge guide aka mortising jig, and you'll also want a 7/16" router bit. Those won't be cheap.

Your best bet is to use a cordless (or corded) drill with a 7/16 drill bit and shop made jig that's basically just a 1-3" block (depending on depth required and drill bit length) that you drilled a nice straight hole into. Then you can screw a top board onto this block so that the hole lines up with your intended destination when you place it on the workpiece.


Clamp the jig onto the workpiece securely, and let it guide your drill bit.



*your router will jump on you if it's not secured and it's hogging out a decent amount of material - even if you go slow, once you waver a tiny bit in the hole it'll jump and the best case scenario is that you ruin your workpiece. Also, your RPMs are very important. If you've got the speed set too low, or engage the router bit before it gets up to full speed, or stop the motor before you've disengaged the bit, it'll jump on you.


jeromedawg

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 09:30:34 AM »
Ooof. Technically, yes absolutely a router can do that.

However you'll need more than just a plunge router to accomplish this without a genuinely ass clenching experience fraught with peril*  . You'll need a two sided router edge guide aka mortising jig, and you'll also want a 7/16" router bit. Those won't be cheap.

Your best bet is to use a cordless (or corded) drill with a 7/16 drill bit and shop made jig that's basically just a 1-3" block (depending on depth required and drill bit length) that you drilled a nice straight hole into. Then you can screw a top board onto this block so that the hole lines up with your intended destination when you place it on the workpiece.


Clamp the jig onto the workpiece securely, and let it guide your drill bit.



*your router will jump on you if it's not secured and it's hogging out a decent amount of material - even if you go slow, once you waver a tiny bit in the hole it'll jump and the best case scenario is that you ruin your workpiece. Also, your RPMs are very important. If you've got the speed set too low, or engage the router bit before it gets up to full speed, or stop the motor before you've disengaged the bit, it'll jump on you.

Thanks! After reading a little more, it doesn't seem like the best idea lol.

On the issue of drilling straight holes though - the block idea does sound like a good one however it seems a bit chicken and egg: how do you ensure you drilled a straight hole in the block jig itself without a drill press? I've seen those drill press 'attachments' they sell and am wondering if it would just be worth while to pick one up.

affordablehousing

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 10:56:14 AM »
I have a friend who tried to do this and lost a piece of his ear! I still have not figured out how he did it exactly but it was an interesting injury. I would comb cragslist and buy a cheap $40 drill press you can put on a bench. You'll undoubtedly be able to sell it for that much so think of it as renting a drill press for free. You may find it's even worth keeping. Make a few jigs, then decide whether to sell it back.

lthenderson

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2018, 11:10:55 AM »
To add onto the previous comments about a router, you also need a bit designed to plunge into wood. Many that you find in the router section of the hardware store aren't meant for plunging.

There are a thousand different ways for drilling square holes in a project. I've used small sections of leftover pipe tapes to a framing square to act as guides for a hand drill. I also have a small square that I can just hold right next to the drill bit and visually eyeball that it is square. Sometimes I have fixed my drill to something so that the bit is perfectly straight, set the trigger lock and then fed my piece into it just like a router table. Depends greatly on the drill body shape though.

If you goof, you can fill the hole with a chunk of dowel and wood glue and then try again. For smaller holes (normally holes that are stripped, I use glue and some toothpicks.)

J Boogie

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 11:59:30 AM »
Ooof. Technically, yes absolutely a router can do that.

However you'll need more than just a plunge router to accomplish this without a genuinely ass clenching experience fraught with peril*  . You'll need a two sided router edge guide aka mortising jig, and you'll also want a 7/16" router bit. Those won't be cheap.

Your best bet is to use a cordless (or corded) drill with a 7/16 drill bit and shop made jig that's basically just a 1-3" block (depending on depth required and drill bit length) that you drilled a nice straight hole into. Then you can screw a top board onto this block so that the hole lines up with your intended destination when you place it on the workpiece.


Clamp the jig onto the workpiece securely, and let it guide your drill bit.



*your router will jump on you if it's not secured and it's hogging out a decent amount of material - even if you go slow, once you waver a tiny bit in the hole it'll jump and the best case scenario is that you ruin your workpiece. Also, your RPMs are very important. If you've got the speed set too low, or engage the router bit before it gets up to full speed, or stop the motor before you've disengaged the bit, it'll jump on you.

Thanks! After reading a little more, it doesn't seem like the best idea lol.

On the issue of drilling straight holes though - the block idea does sound like a good one however it seems a bit chicken and egg: how do you ensure you drilled a straight hole in the block jig itself without a drill press? I've seen those drill press 'attachments' they sell and am wondering if it would just be worth while to pick one up.

You have unlimited attempts to drill a straight hole, so once you get it you're good to go. Drilling straight isn't that hard, but it's hard enough to the point where it's too risky to put your workpiece on the line for it. Also depends on your tolerances, which seem to be pretty slim for this application.

I'll be doing this pretty soon myself actually - I have a little benchtop drill press which I'll probably use.

BDWW

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2018, 12:13:15 PM »
Others have mostly covered it, but yes, the correct option is to create your own doweling jig.

Drilling the initial straight hole isn't that hard. All you need is a square piece of wood in an L shape (a piece of wood with a rabbet or two pieces joined at 90). if you have two faces at 90 degrees to the wood, you can put the drill bit in the corner and it should guide it straight. Use that to make your jig, then clamp it to your workpiece and use it to drill the holes.

Edit: typo, it would be pretty hard to drill a hole in a strait.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2018, 01:30:54 PM by BDWW »

jeromedawg

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 01:05:06 PM »
Others have mostly covered it, but yes, the correct option is to create your own doweling jig.

Drilling the initial strait hole isn't that hard. All you need is a square piece of wood in an L shape (a piece of wood with a rabbet or two pieces joined at 90). if you have two faces at 90 degrees to the wood, you can put the drill bit in the corner and it should guide it straight. Use that to make your jig, then clamp it to your workpiece and use it to drill the holes.

Ah great idea! I'll have to look into doing this

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Plunge router in place of a drill press?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2018, 04:11:46 PM »
You buy a plunge/drill guide for $20-30.