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  1. #11
    Senior Member jeff-oh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvarley View Post
    Brilliant, I'll certainly give those methods a go. I assume some form of grip/vice would help hugely!

    Thanks!
    By hand drill I am assuming a corded or cordless power drill and not a traditional hand drill or brace & bit. This is what I picture as a hand drill. 71iDvonkIAL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

    Just holding it by hand and applying light pressure as the bit starts to bite is all it takes. For a decent straight through hole. After you punch through one side, hold the drill square length wise and continue drilling from the inside out. The bit should find the low area and square you up circumferentially. When done make sure to clean off any burrs.

  2. #12
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    The key is making sure that you are straight through. I used a piece of paper that I wrapped around the tube and then marked where they overlapped. Take the paper off and you can use a ruler to mark it into 2 equal sections. Now it back on the tube and tape it using clear tape, don't make it to tight or it won't come off. Now mark both sides of the tube and slide the paper off of the tube (you will use this on all of the tubes). Now drill from the outside of each with a smaller drill bit. Take you final size drill bit and drill through the tube from one side to insure that they are on the same plane. It is a little bit more work but if you don't have the correct tooling and a drill press this is the best way to make sure that your holes are through the middle.

  3. #13
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    Or use square tubing rather than round.

  4. #14
    New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by rweb82 View Post
    Center punch or nail first. This gives the bit a place to grab. It worked great on my Tensa build last week.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
    Quote Originally Posted by cougarmeat View Post
    I don’t know why, but my mind is saying, “put some tape (like masking tape or that blue painter’s trim tape) around the pipe (then dimple it).” I’m guessing the tape will reduce the bits tendency to slip. As Harrison Ford said in Six Days, Seven Nights,"I’m not one of those guys.” (who can do stuff).
    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-oh View Post
    By hand drill I am assuming a corded or cordless power drill and not a traditional hand drill or brace & bit. This is what I picture as a hand drill. 71iDvonkIAL._AC_SL1500_.jpg

    Just holding it by hand and applying light pressure as the bit starts to bite is all it takes. For a decent straight through hole. After you punch through one side, hold the drill square length wise and continue drilling from the inside out. The bit should find the low area and square you up circumferentially. When done make sure to clean off any burrs.
    Haha - I meant a cordless, definitely not a traditional hand drill! Thanks, I will give that a go.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by scouter68 View Post
    The key is making sure that you are straight through. I used a piece of paper that I wrapped around the tube and then marked where they overlapped. Take the paper off and you can use a ruler to mark it into 2 equal sections. Now it back on the tube and tape it using clear tape, don't make it to tight or it won't come off. Now mark both sides of the tube and slide the paper off of the tube (you will use this on all of the tubes). Now drill from the outside of each with a smaller drill bit. Take you final size drill bit and drill through the tube from one side to insure that they are on the same plane. It is a little bit more work but if you don't have the correct tooling and a drill press this is the best way to make sure that your holes are through the middle.
    Thanks for the tip, had not thought of using paper like that previously. Sadly, a drill press is something I am yet to buy.

  6. #16
    Just dropping this here, as I found this thread looking to answer the same question.

    I found a video from a guy who mounts bird houses that looks helpful. He suggests using a milescraft drill block (https://www.lowes.com/pd/Milescraft-Template/1001470700). Here is his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XX907nf2bs

  7. #17
    PopcornFool's Avatar
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    I just discovered this thread. I wish I had seen it before I started to build my EMT tensa stand. Unfortunately, I didn't have a drill block (I didn't even know they existed) and I had to get through much trial and error and broken drill bits and swearing before I stumbled upon a trick that worked for me.

    The technique that eventually worked for me was to start with a very small drill bit (I think I used 1/16") to create a pilot hole and then expand the hole incrementally with slightly larger bit sizes until I got to the size hole I needed. A small bit was much easier to drill through the EMT than a large bit, but do you need to be careful to provide even, straight pressure (and not force too hard) otherwise those small bits will break. Once you have a pilot hole, it is a simple matter to make the hole slightly bigger with a slightly larger bit and then even larger with a larger bit, etc. I think I wound up using four or five drill bit sizes to increase the holes to where I wanted them. It is somewhat time consuming changing the bits in and out, but the actually drilling went much smoother and faster and generated a whole lot fewer broken drill bits and a whole lot fewer curse words out of me.
    ~ All I want is affordable, simple, ultralight luxury. Thatís not asking too much is it?

  8. #18
    Senior Member tangara's Avatar
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    I used a punch and a step bit, which is a similar idea. Both are handy to have. I just have a cheap set from Harbor Freight. The punch was a free item at some point. They don't do those free coupons much any more.

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