Scared to Drill! Hints please! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-19-2012, 05:36 PM   #1
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: 13 ft Scamp
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Scared to Drill! Hints please!

Hey all,
I know this is very remedial...but PLEASE give me some hints before i drill.

I have just received my gravel guards (bought front and back) and the installation hardware from SCAMP for my (new to me) 83 SCAMP. I want some pointers before i drill any holes in my darling pod. I have been searching the forums and I do not see anything this basic BUT I AM AFRAID TO MESS IT UP!

Thanks to all in advance.
Lisa
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:59 AM   #2
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Lisa,

This is a topic that you could write a book about. Here are a couple of items that are general in nature but important to successful drilling.

1. and I'm not kidding...Look around the area before you drill. If you're "drilling blind", in other words, you can't see where the drill will come out on the other side of something make sure that you understand beforehand where the drill will surface. For example, drilling a hole on the underside of the floor and having the drill bit hit the water tank could be counter productive

2. The trailer "metal" is mild steel. It drills easily if and it's a big if, the drill bit is sharp. An old drill bit rescued from Grandpas' tool box will lead to grief. The primary reason inexperienced people find drilling holes in metal frustrating and difficult is caused by dull drill bits. Using a dull drill bit leads to pushing the drill harder to force the bit to drill and usually leads to a broken drill bit especially when using a hand held drill. If in doubt about the condition of your drill bits buy a new one in the size you need or have someone sharpen the ones you have.

Ron
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:17 AM   #3
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yup what he said...plus.
drilling in fiberglass. same check on the otherside to make sure your not drilling something you don;t really want a hole in. then place masking tape over the spot your going to drill, this will help prevernt drill wander , and chipping of the gell coat/paint. plus a handy surface for pencil marks, they don't stick to good to f/g.
otherwise common sense, drill at 90 degrees to surface. don't push too hard when breaking threw the other side so you don't chip it out.
and its ok to use a smaller pilot drill first then move to a larger drill.
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:26 AM   #4
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If there it "RAT FUR" on the inside it will wrap around the drill bit once you get through the fiber glass.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:03 AM   #5
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Fyi

Lisa
I was working on the same project as yours last night. The brackets you mount to the trailer are really prone to rust. I painted my new braclets with white appliance epoxy paint before inst. The bottom brackets I removed had had two thick washers (rivet backing washers) between the bracket and the shell on each pop rivet. My trailer has ensolite lining so I plan on using acorn nuts to cover the rivets on the inside. My front window is currently removed so it makes this job and replacing the curtain rod holders a lot easier.
Eddie
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:21 AM   #6
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Name: RogerDat
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Here is a post with some good suggestions on drilling in fiberglass without chipping.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/tips-for-drilling-holes-in-fiberglass-51049.html


I would add in places where you don't want to drill too deep, such as a door or double wall trailer when you only want to go through one side not all the way through, put a piece of masking or electrical tape around drill bit to mark where you need to stop. And approach that mark gently.


Oh and I used #8 stainless screws and acorn nuts insead of rivets to replace my curtain rod holders, #8 machine screws will go through the snap cap bases. Same idea as Eddie, having acorn nuts on the inside to give a finished look. Did take a person outside and inside to tighten.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:11 PM   #7
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Seems to me there could be more to this than simply punching a "clean" hole behind a base plate, extrusion, cleat, nailer, or whatever, where it probably won't be seen anyway.

The advice to know in advance what's behind your effort benefits not only the integrity of expensive tanks and such but also allows good accessibility (where it's possible at all) to thru fasteners of the nut&bolt variety.

Size of hole is a consideration. If you're bolting, you need clearance for the outer diameter of the bolt, no more no less. It's a matter of convenience and efficiency; a decent drill index for bolts and drills under 1/4" diameter or a hardware store caliper for those over avoids a lot of "cut and try" with several drill bits, which sometimes leads to oversizing and sometimes to wandering centers (the sharpness factor again).

If you're fastening blind (wood, sheet metal, and probably even self-tappers in glass anyway) you need an undersize "pilot" or guide hole. The same index and a "trial" at exactly one location (until you're satisified--one screw that won't bite and nine that will hold is better than ten that won't). I understand that the last advice may not be germane in a single-hull trailer with no backer but it could be useful sometime.

Successful layout (for looks and function) can be vitally important. You want to achieve level and plumb or, in the case of a trailer body, simply parallel to something else like a window, door, floor. Both layout and "finding" centers for drilling is an old, old bugaboo with a lot of old, old answers which are sometimes honored in the breach thereof. Center-punching on a layout "cross" with center punch, nailset, or even an awl or nail if that's what you have at hand should be a habit, not a last resort.

A surface which allows the placement of easily seen (and sometimes also delible marks after completion) is one mark of trained and efficient mechanical practice. I wouldn't for instance scribe crossing lines into gelcoat with an awl which might later be seen next to the fastener or the baseplate of the thing fastened. The masking or paper tape mentioned above is a good layout material and allows for correction of mistakes in the layout phase without leaving footprints on the complete job.

Here's a little trick that can save a good deal of layout. A strong double-sided tape allows adhesion of all sorts of items with even a modest base area to the surface on which they'll be fastened. You can literallly "mock up" the location of these items and then change it easily if you prefer an alternative location for looks, functionality, truth to geometry and gravity, accessibility to fasteners "inside", or to solve whatever problem makes itself apparent at this stage.

In addition, if the item adheres well and doesn't move under a slight twist, you can often shortcut layout and center drill each hole in the item "in situ" with a twist bit which will "follow" the mounting hole in the item. Placing a bolt in each hole you drill before drilling others avoids the possibility of displacing the item while holding the drill motor out of plumb (which always happens to a greater or lesser "degree") when freehanding without the aid of a drill guide. A "Vix" bit, a small size twist bit with a telescoping centering cone can assure that you get dead center on holes thru very thin (< 1/8") base plates, bracket bases, etc. Vix bits are usually employed for installing butt hinges large and small but have application to many other situations. Available at most speciality hardwares (not necessarily discount or big box stores).

Hope this helps now or with a future project. I can only attempt to tell you how many of us "approach" a task which presents more questions and problems than we might want to face. A preliminary recon to identify necessary tools and methods rather than a frontal attack is a good place to start despite our sense that we must "get er did." This is not intended to discourage the effort to learn but the opposite. "Experience is the thing that tells us when we make a misteak--again!" Soon you'll be saying That wasn't so hard now was it!

jack
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Old 08-21-2012, 06:11 PM   #8
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Thanks SOOOO much everyone. Will let you know how it goes.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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I would add in places where you don't want to drill too deep, such as a door or double wall trailer when you only want to go through one side not all the way through, put a piece of masking or electrical tape around drill bit to mark where you need to stop. And approach that mark gently.
Using tape on the drill bit is EXCELLENT advice. Easy and free too.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:09 PM   #10
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Using tape on the drill bit is EXCELLENT advice. Easy and free too.
And if you really want to get fancy, splurge on a drill stop.

Drill Stop - Harbor Freight Tools
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:17 PM   #11
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Tom, I've got a set of drill stops but actually prefer to use tape. I once didn't stop quick enough (with the drill stop) and "burned" a piece of wood. Tape just leaves a gooey mess, if not stopping soon enough, but it's easy to clean up!
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:37 PM   #12
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Tom, I've got a set of drill stops but actually prefer to use tape. I once didn't stop quick enough (with the drill stop) and "burned" a piece of wood. Tape just leaves a gooey mess, if not stopping soon enough, but it's easy to clean up!
Uh yea....but tape doesn't stop you from going through the second layer if ya push too hard.
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Old 08-25-2012, 01:37 PM   #13
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Think you're on to something there, Tom. Foremost among the single most popular reason why a pro grips a drill motor just behind the chuck with her left hand thumb and forefinger and places his knuckles or the heel of her hand or his forearm (depending on length of the bit) against the surface with the soon to be hole in it. That's called "control." A drill stop has some other uses (drilling a blind hole to a specified depth) besides being a crutch for those who haven't developed a feel for the speed of the drill motor and the point of penetration. But even pros pull a twist bit thru sheet metal every once in a while so drill stops are nice. Doesn't need to be fancy, adjustable, have a setscrew; a rectangular cutoff of dimensional lumber will do. When you develop control, then the tape works fine as a "depth gauge." It won't work as a "drill stop."

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Old 08-25-2012, 02:13 PM   #14
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......... When you develop control, then the tape works fine as a "depth gauge." It won't work as a "drill stop."

jack

I hear ya. I've used tape for eons. But when the consequences are high stakes, I sometimes use a crutch, too.
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