Have you used a hole saw without the arbor?

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Forum topic by ChefHDAN posted 03-05-2015 05:02 PM 9075 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1227 posts in 3083 days

03-05-2015 05:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question drill press

Hey LJ’s,

I need to make a burger press to speed up production. I’m going to cut down a polypropelene cutting board into a 5” width and then space 5 4” holes across it’s length. What I’d like to do is cut a second strip and mount the discs cut out of the 1st blank to the 2nd, with SS screws from the top side creating a board to act as a press, and voila! 5 burgers at a shot. If I use the arbor bit the void in the pusher from the pilot bit would become an un-cleanable void. My thought is to set a fence and use heavy clamps with around 500rpm on the drill press to cut these but am starting to second guess the process, after all the bit is there for a reason, but is it just about using the hole saw in a hand drill???

Please let me know your opinion

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

16 replies so far

View JayT's profile


6002 posts in 2445 days

#1 posted 03-05-2015 05:10 PM

I’ve done it. The hole saw likes to walk around &/or move the board. The pilot bit is there to help with precise placement of the hole saw and to prevent the walking/kickback but if you clamped the material solidly, I don’t see a real problem on that front.

The only possible issue I can imagine for what you want to do is that hole saw teeth generally have a lot of set and cut a wide kerf. That means the press discs would fit very loosely in the holes and you could have a lot of squeeze out.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View DrDirt's profile


4526 posts in 3976 days

#2 posted 03-05-2015 05:11 PM

I think no problem the way you plan to do it.

The arbor is really for ‘freehand’ drilling to keep the hole saw from walking around…. especially a hand drill with a 4 inch bit to cut a dryer vent hole in vinyl siding…..(don’t know how I know that :-) )

With it anchored, should be no issue.

keep in mind you will have a good size gap around the edge where the kerf will leave a void, but for pressing burger…. no sweat!

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2721 days

#3 posted 03-05-2015 05:14 PM

The easiest way I have found to do that is to use a scrap piece attached to the face you want to cut out.
Set the drill bit back so it can only contact the scrap wood until you get the saw teeth into the main piece.
Once you are in to the main piece about 1/8” you can remove the scrap and the drill bit because the hole saw will then be automatically centered.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1829 days

#4 posted 03-05-2015 05:19 PM

1. Cut a hole in a piece of scrap.
2. Use that scrap as a template/guide to where you want to drill in your final piece.
3. Take the drill bit off or use a mandrel without the drill bit.
4. Drill away.

I haven’t done this but this was suggested to me by some who does a lot of hole saw work.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1227 posts in 3083 days

#5 posted 03-05-2015 06:29 PM

Thanks Y’all appreciate the affirmation that it’s not going to be a foolish digit jeporadizing idea.

The gap shouldn’t be an issue, the stock is 3/4” and it’ll be used to form 8oz and 6 oz patties of our custom grind, kills me to watch a cook stand there doing them 1 at a time with a ring mold, way back before patties could be bought pre formed we would do something like this, but it was still one at a time… If I don’t loose my day shoveling snow I’ll try to get it done today and put up a pic!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View TheFridge's profile


10814 posts in 1720 days

#6 posted 03-05-2015 06:51 PM

If you use it in a drill a template wouldn’t be necessary. Just cut lightly to start and then it’ll guide itself. You wouldn’t have to worry about walking much with a polyethylene like material.

If you’re using an portable drill then you prob should use a template.

If I can do it in sheet metal then plastic should be easy easy.

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

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2241 days

#7 posted 03-05-2015 07:38 PM

I remember as a young lad (of about 16) .. I was helping a neighbor add 6” speakers to the front doors of his Dad’s BRAND NEW Cadillac. He wanted to try to save the cut-out and use the cloth from it to cover the speaker grills so they’d blend in with the door panels. He bought a 6” hole saw and was trying to figure out a way to do just what you’re asking.

”No problem” I said. ”Just take that drill bit out and we’ll lay the drill sideways on this chair that’s the right height. That way, the bit wont wander when we drill the hole”

”Joey, you SURE this will work? I’m doing this to surprise my Dad for his birthday. He’ll be mad as hell if we screw up this door panel.”

”Yeah. No problem. I can do this. Gimme that drill.”

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View jmartel's profile


8276 posts in 2384 days

#8 posted 03-05-2015 07:42 PM

What I would do would be to leave the center bit in so that it drills the hole. Then you would drill the same sized hole into the backer board, and fill both with a peg when gluing. Sand/cut off flush and be done with it. That to me would be the easiest way to do it.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1227 posts in 3083 days

#9 posted 03-05-2015 09:37 PM


Joe what was the line in Fast times at Ridgmont High, Don’t worry my dad’s got an awesome set of tools… or something like that…

Martel , it’s hard as hell to glue polypropelene and thats part of the reason I’m trying to avoid having the hole, there’s prolly some uber glue that i don’t have, but i have to design to the abuse it’s going to recieve in the kitchen when I’m not looking. Having a customer bitch me out about an odd plastic plug in thier burger is the stuf that makes my hair fall out…

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3205 days

#10 posted 03-06-2015 02:16 AM

It’s the same problem I had using a hole saw to enlarge an existing hole.
In your case you just want to not make a drill hole in the cutout, in my case the bit had nothing to drill.

Simple solution, use the hole saw with the pilot bit to make a hole in a piece of 3/4 plywood.
Clamp the plywood hole template on the poly and clamp it down.
Remove the pilot bit, then place the saw through the template and cut the hole(s) you need.

This works perfectly and is not hard to do at all.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1570 days

#11 posted 03-06-2015 03:29 AM

I’m hungry for a burger now. Thx.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View BlazerGator's profile


25 posts in 1423 days

#12 posted 03-06-2015 04:46 AM

Maybe this is a long-shot … perhaps make a template and use a plunge router with bushing and 1/8” spiral-type bit to free the disc without a pilot hole?

-- Blaze

View ChefHDAN's profile


1227 posts in 3083 days

#13 posted 03-09-2015 01:15 PM

Well, here it is, started at 350 rpm, and wound up cutting well at 600 rpm, but the plastic was coming off pretty hot. DP didn’t really like spinning the big holes saw though, taper dropped out on the last one, but no damage or issues. 5 cut outs was leaving less than 1/2” between the holes so went to 4 to have stronger board, Now all that’s left is to have the crew put it to work

ElChe, you want that medium? & I reccomend adding bacon

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View dhazelton's profile


2803 posts in 2530 days

#14 posted 03-09-2015 01:23 PM

Will you have an issue with bacteria on the porous edges of your cut?

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4127 days

#15 posted 03-09-2015 01:40 PM

Ive used a hole saw without the arbour to tie copper wire around it, twist and solder the end, or use them as a template to draw a circle to scale

otherwise no

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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