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How to drill holes in rubber balls?

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Forum topic by Elizabeth posted 09-29-2013 06:28 PM 2204 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Elizabeth

803 posts in 1796 days


09-29-2013 06:28 PM

I have some dowels and small rubber balls that are destined to become drumsticks for my son. Does anyone have suggestions for a safe way to drill a hole about halfway through the center of a small rubber ball?


32 replies so far

View joek30296's profile

joek30296

34 posts in 1519 days


#1 posted 09-29-2013 06:34 PM

You might try freezing them and drill before they thaw out. I remember years ago seeing my boss drill some sheet rubber. He dropped some dry ice into acteone and them dropped the rubber in and drilled after being in the mixture for a few minutes.

-- "There are two theories to arguing with a woman....neither of them work"

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firefighterontheside

4274 posts in 509 days


#2 posted 09-29-2013 06:45 PM

I would say the freezing thing is worth a try. I’m curious.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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Blackie_

3391 posts in 1165 days


#3 posted 09-29-2013 07:09 PM

clamp them in a wooden clamp or between two blocks of wood using bar clamps and using the drill press, would be my guess.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

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PaulLL

148 posts in 629 days


#4 posted 09-29-2013 07:16 PM

I had same thought as Blackie, clamp them in wood handscrews, or between 2 blocks then you can clamp to drill press or bench top. If you don’t have a drill press, measure the depth you want to drill to on the ball, and mark that depth on your drill bit, put a piece of masking tape around the bit there so that you can easily see where to stop. Hope this makes sense, good luck!

View Tim's profile

Tim

1267 posts in 614 days


#5 posted 09-29-2013 07:34 PM

Freezing seems like it would help with tearing and make a smoother hole, but may not be a good idea if you don’t have a drill press. It will make it harder to drill, making clamping more important. An awl or other pointed object to make an indent should help discourage the bit from wandering if you don’t have a drill press.

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Elizabeth

803 posts in 1796 days


#6 posted 09-29-2013 07:37 PM

I will try freezing; thanks. I do have a drill press and will probably try to make some kind of jig for repeatability.

I thought about just clamping it, Blackie, but was concerned about the fact that the clamps would be compressing the rubber and increasing the pressure on the sides of the drill bit. Unless if I somehow clamped it on top and bottom and then drilled through the clamping surface; that’s a thought for the jig design I guess!

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Blackie_

3391 posts in 1165 days


#7 posted 09-29-2013 08:42 PM

Another thought, make an L shaped jig large enough to hold the ball sorta like a fence using 1/2 ply, drill a hole through it at the location to pierce the rubber ball with the tip of a wooden screw, screw the ball up against the fence to hold the rubber ball firm to the fence, clamp the fence to the table and see if that would work, only down side it would leave a small hole where the screw entered.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

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patron

13034 posts in 1993 days


#8 posted 09-29-2013 08:48 PM

an alternate thought
if they are solid rubber
is to heat a smaller metal rod
(enough to melt not burn)
and melt it in
then squeegee the stick in
it should hold it tight

and round the end of the stick slightly
so it doesn’t rip the rubber going in
maybe some random notches on the stick end
so it has more to hold it on

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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Stephenw

273 posts in 1038 days


#9 posted 09-29-2013 09:12 PM

I would drill a deep hole in a block of wood, slightly smaller in diameter than the rubber ball. Drill a smaller hole all the way through the block. Force the ball into the hole with a clamp. Remove the clamp. Place the block of wood in the drill press vise and drill the hole in the ball. A brad point would probably work best for drilling in rubber. Use a dowel through the smaller hole to remove the ball from the larger hole.

This is an idea. I haven’t tried it.

-- http://www.garagebulletin.com/

View REO's profile

REO

614 posts in 726 days


#10 posted 09-29-2013 10:15 PM

Elisabeth you will most likely have trouble with the drill self feeding. Your idea about clamping on top and drilling through the clamp is a good one! set the depth stop on the drill as well so the drill doesn’t get sucked totally through the ball.

You can make a shaped clamp by drilling a pocket hole with the correct size forstner bit. drill so that the top surface of the ball hits at the same time as the edge of the hole. It needn’t be the same diameter as the overall diameter of the ball. If you screw two pieces of stock together and drill a pilot hole through then use the forstner to make the indentations in each half to the proper depth you can position the bottom piece on the table and clamp that first. Then clamp the ball in place with the second peice useing screws where they were used to hold the pieces in place to initially drill the pilot hole. Set the drill stop and have a go. The spur bit would probably be your best bet for the actual hole in the ball.

View NormG's profile

NormG

4170 posts in 1656 days


#11 posted 09-29-2013 10:24 PM

I have made several tongue drums for kids and have had to make the drums sticks for them. I used a Forster bit to drill hole in a 2×4, just enough for about a third of the balls to set in, set the depth of your drill bit (I use point twist) so the it will go slightly better than half way through the ball. Hold between thumb and first finger, drill slowly, when you set the the proper depth, let the drill bit sit a few seconds at the bottom and then remove. Should have a nice clean hole. I use 5/16” oak dowels.

Have fun

-- Norman

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TopamaxSurvivor

14742 posts in 2328 days


#12 posted 09-30-2013 03:01 AM

A quick easy way to make a holder for the balls is to paste wax one, make a hole larger than it in a couple of blocks of wood, use epoxy to form around it. Cut the blacks apart when the epoxy is cured. You’ll have a perfect holder for your jig.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2831 posts in 1896 days


#13 posted 09-30-2013 07:26 PM

A regular twist drill won’t work. A hole saw might, if you take small “stabbing” shots at it. Make the hole first; then fit the stick to it after, trimming as needed for a good tight fit.

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MrRon

2831 posts in 1896 days


#14 posted 09-30-2013 07:31 PM

Depending on the size of the ball, you could find a round glass Christmas ornament; coat the inside of the glass ball with a release agent or cooking oil; pour in silicon caulk; push in the stick; let set; break glass. Just an idea to file away.

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SCOTSMAN

5361 posts in 2237 days


#15 posted 09-30-2013 07:35 PM

why not buy a set of drumsticks nothing will be better for the job even used they should be cheap enough .If you must do it yourself then start out with a centre drill then a standard drill with luck it should work.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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