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Author Topic: Drilling stones to make pendants  (Read 2160 times)

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stoneya93

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Drilling stones to make pendants
« on: November 16, 2016, 06:28:32 PM »

Hey everyone,
So I recently saw some work from an old friend up in Taos. He makes pendants now just by drilling a hole into the cabs he makes and putting some faux leather rope or twine of some sort through as the necklace...I am learning metal working but am not nearly as drawn to it and don't have a current partner to work on some jewelry with...so I've been thinking I'll just try to make some of my own pendants. I'm unsure if I need to buy a special smaller drill press to do this work, or if I can use my regular drill press I have to drill the holes in the stones?

 :coffee2:
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jakesrocks

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2016, 06:45:06 PM »

Depends on how big your drill press is. Will the chuck tighten down far enough to hold the small diamond drills you'll have to use ?

Stone needs to be drilled in water to cool the diamond bit, and to clear rock dust from the hole.

You need to drill with an up & down motion. Lower your bit to the stone & put light pressure on it for a couple of seconds. Raise the bit & repeat until you've completed  your hole. It takes a lot longer than drilling wood or metal.

You'll need a way to secure your stone in a container of water, so it doesn't move around while drilling.

Depending on size, diamond bits can be expensive. Expect to break a few until you get the hang of drilling stone.

Some find it easier to drill their stone before grinding it to shape & polishing it.

Remember that you're working with both water & electricity. The two don't mix. Be sure that your drill press is well grounded & plugged into a ground fault outlet.
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A day spent without learning something new is a day wasted.

Redrummd

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2016, 07:05:51 PM »

I do not recommend using a drill press.  It costs too much, takes too much time and gives most a worse result than learning to drill by hand.

I use an 18,000 rpm Foredom that is reversible and with a variable speed foot pedal.  For most stone I run it at about 1/3 to 1/2 speed.

The basic set up is a shoplight, a small plastic container for water; a 6 inch long 3/4 by 3/4 inch piece of hardwood; a kitchen counter size towel; and 1mm, 2mm and 3mm diamond plated drill bits.  I fold the towel in half, put the water right behind the towel and the hardwood block about an inch in front of the water container. As I am left handed,  I put the shoplight to shine from the right, in position to light the drilling spot on the hardwood used for backing of the cab.

I hold the piece I am drilling in my right hand at an angle that puts the spot I expect the bit to come through on the hardwood.  I start the drill spot on both sides of the cab and drill from both sides, starting with a 1mm bit.  I did the piece in water about once a minute and flip it over each time.  I drill slightly from the point I expect to be the top of the
hole as it takes time to learn how to drill freehand and straight and it is better to have both sides meet just a bit low than a bit high. 

After doing this a few dozen times I got to the point I could drill from both sides of a piece about 1/2 inch thick and hit in the middle with just the 1mm bits.

Once you have a 1mm hole up to the 2mm and the 3mm if you want a bigger hole.

I then use a 4mm round ball bit to clean up the edges of the drilled hole.  I drill the pieces after sanding to 600 grit as occasionally you will slip and the 1mm bit will leave a pretty good tail that usually will be fairly quickly removed by going back to the 600 grit wheel.

I RECOMMEND DOING THE FIRST FEW DOZEN HOLES IN A SOFTER STONE!  A good hard agate can take up to 30 minutes to drill through a 1/4 inch thick piece!

Buy the cheap plated bits on Amazon.com and use a aluminum oxide dressing stick to clean the bits and to see if they are still drilling.  If you see black mud the bit is toast.  Some of the cheap bits die in seconds and others will drill many holes as quality control in China is not so good!  Reverse the direction of the Foredom every few minutes of drilling if you have a good bit and it will last longer.

You use a very slight circular motion and a few pounds of pressure on the bits.  The circular motion is needed or the few diamonds on the tip will create a circle pattern and simply stop removing material - another reason to pass on the drill press.  When using a 1mm bit the top of the hole will be about 1.5 to 1.7 mm across due to the circular motion.  You can also go in a back and forth (or up and down) linear line to get the same effect which is better if you need a 2mm + hole size and drilling goes faster too.

stoneya93

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 11:21:46 AM »

I've been thinking about getting a Foredom. I want to get further into carving as well, so I think it would be a good purchase all-around. So, Redrummd, you're saying that you drill the holes by hand with a Foredom? That's the one thing I'm unclear about. Because Kingsley North does sell a small drill press to put a Foredom in. From your description, I'm assuming you're doing this by hand. It sounds simple enough. I'd like to save the nearly $200 the small drill press costs. I appreciate the detailed description.

jakesrocks- I appreciate your input too man. I don't think my chuck will tighten down that far. It comes in handy when I'm making my stone pipes, but for this job I guess I'm gonna have to get something different.

Any other input would be greatly appreciated, but I think I got what I needed from this information. Anyone else?  :occasion14:
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Redrummd

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 08:44:29 PM »

.... So, Redrummd, you're saying that you drill the holes by hand with a Foredom? That's the one thing I'm unclear about.

"I do not recommend using a drill press.  It costs too much, takes too much time and gives most a worse result than learning to drill by hand."

Well, I wasn't writing about filling the holes back up.  :LOLOL:

Phishisgroovin

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 08:51:43 PM »

I'm doing an agate with a foredom right now.
Takes awhile,  free hand and i go from both sides.

I broke one bit starting the second hole.  First hole took three hours.  Hope the second one breaks through to the hole on the other side soon.
I always go from both sides,  prevents the face of the stone to break out a bigger hole.





Sent from my SM-G928T using Tapatalk
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Phishisgroovin

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2016, 08:53:11 PM »

All on my wash machine. 

Sent from my SM-G928T using Tapatalk

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Phishisgroovin

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2016, 09:13:05 PM »

Almost there.


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Redrummd

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2016, 10:09:37 PM »

Way too complex for me.  I need a towel, a piece of wood, a tiny water container, a light and the Foredom/bits.....  One hole in that piece should not take more than 20 to 30 minutes with experience.

It looks fairly translucent so hold it up to a bright light or use a bright flashlight.  Backlight into the drilled hole and you can often see if it is aligned.  The other way is to stick in two bits - one from each side and see if they align.

Honestly, with experience this is real easy and can be done on a desktop with no shields needed or mess beyond the towel.

Phishisgroovin

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2016, 11:52:18 PM »

This agate dulled two brand new bits in minutes.
Ive never taken longer than 30 minutes to drill two holes
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crazyjays

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2016, 10:36:43 PM »

Thanks for the info on how to do that and the Photos you guys.
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Slabbercabber

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2016, 03:37:00 AM »

I long ago gave up on the really cheap bits.  I use a Dremel drill press with high quality plated or sintered bits.  Put the stone in a small plastic tub and clamp it town to a block of maple.  Cover with water and oscillate with a gentle orbital motion.  In other words, the up and down motion never pauses.  The hard maple block backs up the stone and with just light pressure I see almost no breakout.  Knock on wood.  What little chipping I have seen goes away when I chamfer the hole.  The better bits do not suffer from dead spots that would cause them to stop cutting in this type of application.
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Glenn

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Re: Drilling stones to make pendants
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2017, 11:21:02 PM »

This agate dulled two brand new bits in minutes.
Ive never taken longer than 30 minutes to drill two holes

I drill everything by hand, my bits last a long time (cheepo ones also)  drill presses tend to apply too much pressure and dull bits.
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