I need YOUR Ideas and Input for a custom Horizontal Drill Table design!

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Forum topic by Greg posted 02-23-2015 05:55 AM 1567 views 1 time favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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332 posts in 3051 days

02-23-2015 05:55 AM

Topic tags/keywords: community project horizontal boring horizontal boring table custom tools diy tools homemade tools drill press drill-driver

Hi all! I have been contemplating this custom boring machine for some years now, and the time has come to get serious. I am really looking to make this a community project and would really appreciate your thoughts and continued help in designing this tool. The amount of brain power on this site is pretty staggeringand I want to work with several LJers who would like to see it through to completion, though if you just wanna throw in your $.02, I am all ears. At the end, I will post the finished build, and maybe even a video on it in action.

Here’s the challenge: I build custom fly fishing nets for a living. One opportunity I have is to improve the slow process of hand drilling 20 or so 3/32” holes in the hoop. I drill them by hand now, and I am pretty good at it, but sometimes, they are not straight and I keep swearing to myself each time that there has to be a better/faster way! I believe that way is a custom Horizontal Boring table.
There are a few standards we must fulfill: #1) I need a backer that keeps the bit from tearing out on the inside of the hoop. Ideally, this backer will always stay aligned with he bit so it has a clean entry/exit every time. I think maybe a bit of cork or rubber over this backer will allow it to contour to the many different curves it will encounter.#2)All of my net hoops come in slightly different thicknesses & Widths-Typically around .76”-.83”, and .39-.42, respectively. Therefore, either the net or the drill AND backer, must move vertically to align the bit with the .125” groove which runs along the outer center line of the hoop’s outside edge. #3) It must be fast. There cannot be toggle clamps or the like for each hole. It should go like this, “Place, drill, move. Place, drill, move. Place, drill, move….” For control purposes, I think I would prefer to keep two hands on the net as the hole is drilled, though I am open to ideas on this (Maybe a foot actuated?).

I was also thinking that this table could be inverted and maybe I would need less floorspace, and gravity could help keep the drill tight to the backer. Would like your ideas on a compact drill too.

Here is a basic overview of the task at hand.

Thank you in advance, and let the ideas and questions fly! This should be fun!

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

28 replies so far

View Greg's profile


332 posts in 3051 days

#1 posted 02-23-2015 06:38 AM

I just had a revelation! This is the functionality I was looking for (you have to imagine some slides in between the backer base and the drill base) but I need to work out details on the up/down movement of the drill & Backer in relation to the table. I think it might be easier to make the drill move up & down.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View REO's profile


929 posts in 2251 days

#2 posted 02-23-2015 10:34 AM

there should be no need to move the backer and the drill independently. set it up with a replaceable piece for the backer that fits in a recess. The drill could be a VS trim router.

View alittleoff's profile


541 posts in 1454 days

#3 posted 02-23-2015 02:25 PM

Look on Craigslist and see if you can find an old shopsmith. You should be able to build a jig for it and have it both ways. Vertical or horizontal. I see 4 or 5 for sale around here all the time.

View shipwright's profile


8133 posts in 2975 days

#4 posted 02-23-2015 02:27 PM

You might find a few ideas in this post. there’s a video here.
I made mine for a different purpose but some of the ideas may work in your context.
Another thought is a used ShopSmith. It would do the job with no modifications at all and you’d have a bunch of other functions thrown into the bargain.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1706 days

#5 posted 02-23-2015 02:56 PM

Here’s a thought….(Probably only cost 20 – 30 thousand to get started.)

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Redoak49's profile


3607 posts in 2166 days

#6 posted 02-23-2015 03:21 PM

I think that I understand what you want. An option would be a Shopsmith. While it has limitations for somethings, it does a pretty good job as a drill press and horizontal boring. I have a shop full of tools and the Shopsmith is used for tasks like this. The table is easily adjustable up and down.

You can usually find one for a reasonable price.

View ChrisK's profile


2004 posts in 3259 days

#7 posted 02-23-2015 03:45 PM

I can see how you use a 3/8 VS drill clamped to a stationary block. That block mounted to a base which has slides or glides to allow the table with the net to slide in and out from the drill bit. The net table could have simple spacers to account for the different net styles. A hardwood or plastic stop that is replaceable would by my choice for a back stop.

You could also space the drill base and change the stop, or rotate it for the different thicknesses.

100lb rated quality draw slides with some HDPE glides to prevent the slight side ways slop in the drawer glides would work.

-- Chris K

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2802 days

#8 posted 02-23-2015 05:17 PM

I tried using the horizontal boring function on my shop smith for the hoop and found it to be a PITA. Not that the function of the SS is carp but getting the bit lined up with the intended line. Then you have to deal with the ever changing angle. I still drill using a battery operated drill driver, with a sharp brad point bit and go slow. When the tip of the brad point comes through I go even slower. Now I don’t make a living making nets but have made quite a few. By hand they less than 15 minutes.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2802 days

#9 posted 02-23-2015 05:20 PM

Landed this little beastie recently with one of my nets.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View TheFridge's profile


10513 posts in 1663 days

#10 posted 02-23-2015 05:43 PM

Check out

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View bondogaposis's profile


5056 posts in 2529 days

#11 posted 02-23-2015 06:46 PM

I think you could use drawer slides to make the table slide in and out and an acme screw to move the drill vertically.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1772 days

#12 posted 02-23-2015 06:57 PM

It is possible to drill the holes before it’s laminated?

I would go with a standard drill press and use a foot switch toggle clamp to hold the piece. Either an air powered clamp or a DIY brake cable setup.

Another idea is to laminate the net in the hoop.

Or line the inside or outside with a metal strip that the net attaches to.

Or make the hoop smaller in diameter so you can weave it into the net’s holes.

My brain hurts now. I’m going to nap :) good luck!

View Greg's profile


332 posts in 3051 days

#13 posted 02-23-2015 07:21 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone! For those suggesting the shop Smith, unfortunately I have no more room for any stationary tools. I need something fairly small that I can took away when not using.

Paul, nice tool you built for your marquetry. What tool did you garner the guide rails from. I looked on HF and could not find anything. I think I would like to build something along the lines of this drill raising fixture. I need a good place to find the rods and bushings though.

I Wud4u, where the heck did you find that picture?! LOL! I would love to have that but again spaces the issue.
Plus my nets are custom and that is an obvious production tool. I know you weren’t serious, just saying.

ChrisK, thank you for your great ideas. I don’t think shimming the table will work as the differences in height are so minute. I think I need a way to adjust either the table, or the drill and backstop, hence the photo above.
I like your idea with the HDPE glides. I have also been considering finding some linear bearing rail guides like this. any ideas on a good place to find used linear guides would be helpful.

JumboJack, first off, nice trout! I appreciate your feedback and expertise on the shop Smith. I don’t feel like lining up is going to be an issue due to the semi-rounded shape of the backer block which will allow me to quickly align the whole location without the use of clamps.

TheFridge, thank you for the link!

I would appreciate any ideas on a base for this beast. I guess I am kind of thinking it would be a somewhat open base with equally space supports around the table. The adjustable motor/backer-board assembly would float beneath the table and be attached to the raising mechanism as in the picture above

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View Greg's profile


332 posts in 3051 days

#14 posted 02-23-2015 07:26 PM

I just found these linear bearings that look perfect for the job. Almost as cheap as a good set of your slides but much more accurate. Heck, maybe I buy two sets of two of these, and use them on the vertical raising mechanism as well.

Linear guide rails on eBay

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1706 days

#15 posted 02-23-2015 10:20 PM

The linear guides are good. (look up THK Linear motion Systems)
You might also consider using an auto feed drill so that you would have hands free to move the work pc around, just step on the pedal to drill.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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