How to Drill a Hole in a Pipe

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Drilling a hole in a pipe can be a challenging task. The first thing people generally would think of when asked to drill a hole in a pipe would be to take a hammer and a center punch and hammer a dimple into the pipe, take a cordless drill equipped with a bit the size of the hole to be to drilled in one hand and the pipe in the other and have at it. The problem is you're going to wind up either breaking your drill bit, drilling a crooked hole, or slipping with the drill and possibly drilling a hole in your hand. There's really only one proper way to drill a hole in a pipe or any other curved surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill press
  • Drillbit set
  • Piece of pipe
  • Awl
  • Milling vice
  • Loosen the chuck on a drill press by inserting the chuck key that came with the drill press into the hole on the side of the chuck, engaging the teeth of the chuck key with the teeth of the chuck and turning in a counterclockwise direction. Install the desired size drillbit for the hole to be drilled into the chuck and tighten the chuck by turning the chuck key in a clockwise direction until the drillbit is held firmly in the chuck.

  • Mark the spot on the pipe that is to be drilled with an awl. Clamp the piece of pipe into a milling vice by setting the pipe between the two vice jaws and turning the handle on the vice in a clockwise direction until the pipe is held securely. Ensure that the spot that has been marked with the awl is facing up and is centered in the vice. Do not over tighten the pipe.

  • Set the milling vice on the table of the drill press and position it under the drillbit. Pull down the handle of the drill press and align the tip of the drillbit with the spot that has been marked on the pipe. Slowly release the handle of the drill press.

  • Turn the drill press on by turning the on-off switch to the "on" position. Pull the handle of the drill press down slowly and gently touch the tip of the drillbit to the pipe. Release the drill press handle enough to bring the drillbit up approximately 1 inch and visually inspect the pipe to ensure that the hole will be drilled in the correct position.

  • Bring the drillbit back down to the pipe with the drill press handle and apply steady pressure to the handle until the drillbit has drilled a hole in the pipe. Release the drill press handle bringing the drillbit all the way out of the piece and to the top of the drill press travel.

  • Turn the drill press off and unclamp the pipe from the vice by turning the vice handle in a counterclockwise direction, completing the project.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses and protective clothing when operating a drill press.

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