Introduction: How to Enlarge a Washer (No Drill Press Needed!)
Stuck on a project.
The internal holes of all the washers you own are too small by half a millimeter, and none of the bolts will fit.
HALF a millimeter! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
You've been through this already. Drilling through washers to enlarge them is pretty much impossible, since they always catch in the drill and slip, and are too small or thin to be clamped in a vise.
What do you do?
In this Instructable, I will show you a quick and simple hack that's really useful for holding washers that can't be held in a vise or with any other method without damaging them, so you can drill into them safely - whether if they are made of metal, wood, plastic, silicone, coins (for making rings), or anything else! I'm certain this will help me make my own washers in the future from aluminum sheet metal, as I've been planning to do for a while!
Let's get started!
(Watch the YouTube video: LINK FOR MOBILE VIEWERS!)
Step 1: What You'll Need:
Hardware, Materials & Consumables:
- Some scrap wood (preferably harder woods)
- Water (or any other coolant/lubricant, if needed)
- Drill (or drill press)
- Drill bit set (+step or masonry bits)
- A torch (if you want to de-temper NON-GALVANIZED washers)
- Two clamps
Subjects: Woodworking, Metalworking, Workshop Tips & Tricks
Approximate Time: <15 Minutes
Difficulty: Super Simple!
ALWAYS USE PROPER PPE.
Step 2: Make the Jig (from Scrap Wood!)
My plan was to drill a hole into a into a block of wood, and clamp it to my workbench, so the washer would be sandwiched and held tightly in between wood on both sides.
The hole in the piece of wood would then allow me to reach the washer with the drill bit, and drill into it without allowing the washer to spin or move.The hole you drill into the piece of wood should be only slightly larger than the drill bit you plan on using to enlarge the washer, to allow for as much area of the washer to be clamped as possible. It's more friction, and how you break the laws of physics! ;)
Step 3: Clamp the Jig Over the Washer
After the drill drills through the washer, it's going to keep going, and will drill into your workbench, so I recommend clamping it in one corner of your workbench, the corner that will be used for drilling into more washers!
I put the washer on my workbench, and carefully placed the jig onto the washer, making sure the hole of the piece of wood was centered exactly over the internal hole of the washer (Just kidding! See the next step :) and clamped it down tightly.
Perhaps if you use a step bit you'll need to clamp it down even more since you don't push down, but I haven't tried it yet. A̶n̶d̶ ̶i̶f̶ ̶i̶t̶'̶s̶ ̶e̶a̶s̶i̶e̶r̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶d̶r̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶v̶e̶r̶t̶i̶c̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶v̶s̶ ̶h̶o̶r̶i̶z̶o̶n̶t̶a̶l̶l̶y̶,̶ ̶I̶ ̶g̶u̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶c̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶c̶l̶a̶m̶p̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶v̶i̶s̶e̶ ̶i̶n̶s̶t̶e̶a̶d̶,̶ ̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶l̶e̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶t̶t̶o̶m̶ ̶h̶a̶l̶f̶ Hmmm... That just over-complicates stuff.
Step 4: Drill!
Drill! Does this need to be explained? :)
If you feel the drill bit is unable to drill into the washer, it's possible that the washer has been hardened. You can either skip to the next step, or anneal the washer by heating it up with a torch and letting it cool down slowly, but you should do this only to non-galvanized washers, meaning that they are not coated with zinc (gray color), since you DO NOT want to inhale zinc fumes (for the same reason you shouldn't weld galvanized steel), which are created when you melt zinc.
As a side note, I do find that it's easier for me to drill into steel with a corded drill, since it offers more speed for less noise and weight on my hand, and is overall weaker and more sensitive, which makes it easier to feel before the drill bit protrudes through the other side, catches and possibly snaps, or has more resistance for some reason.
Step 5: Dirt Cheap Carbide Drill Bits?!
Some of the washers in my collection are pretty thick, and that equals dull drill bits!
I had the idea of trying to use masonry bits to drill into the washers, since they are made of carbide which is way harder than the steel of a hardened steel drill bit. Overall this does work, but they do drill slower, but should last very long if not forever! They make more noise, although that might've been because they were chattering due to the low RPM of the drill. I think you can actually sharpen these to make them cutting edges and be a bit (pun not intended) better for the job, but I don't have the tools to do that.
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I read ALL comments, and reply to as many as I can, so make sure to leave your questions, suggestions, tips, tricks, and any other ideas about drilling into metal and washers in the comments below! - Thanks!
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