Tips for Drilling Holes in Fiberglass - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
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Tips for Drilling Holes in Fiberglass

Actually, I want to drill ONE hole...the first one I will be drilling in my Scamp.
I want to mount a little battery-operated clock on the right side of the upper cabinet over the dinette. No faceplate. Just the hands will be visible. I want the hole to be very neat and clean since the only thing covering it will be the itty, bitty, teeny, tiny hex nut that holds the movement in place.

So, does anybody have tips to make the hole very clean? Shot of whiskey beforehand? Painter's tape? Type of drill bit? How to keep the bit from skittering across the cabinet face?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:46 PM   #2
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Painters' tape and first drill a pilot hole smaller than the intended size.A shot a whiskey to celebrate upon completion.
I like your idea.Post pix of the process.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:53 PM   #3
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Thanks Al! Tape, pilot hole, big hole, whiskey...in that order. Sounds good!
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:01 PM   #4
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Hi Lil. If I want a clean hole in wood I use a Brad point bit. The problem with standard twist drill bits is that they tear the wood fibers leaving a shaggy edge. They also pull the fibers upward. A brad point bit cuts the fibers on the outside of the hole, leaving a smooth cut. What I have found with my trailer is that while drilling the fiberglass is not an issue, the gellcoat can easily be pulled up off the fiberglass by the standard drill bit. If I wanted a very clean hole I would try a Brad point. Please be aware this is speculation on my part as I have never tried it. A good hardware store will sell Brad point individually. A 1/8" bit will be a few dollars. Might give it a try in a hidden place like under a piece of hardware. Let the drill stop before you pull it out. When you're done we would love to see a picture. Raz

HSS Lipped Brad-Point Drills - Lee Valley Tools
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:13 PM   #5
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You forgot to mention the hole size you are going for?

In general this is an installers trick that serves me well all the time on surfaces I am destined to mangle somehow?

Use a Paddle bit if you can and use the type with the little points on the end of the 2 paddles.
Drill most of the way thru with light pressure "Feeling" for the point going thru first and then just reverse the drill and finish with the drill in reverse.

Normally you can get tearout going forward with almost any bit but going the other direction lets the bit scribe a hole and slowly remove the excess.

Try it somewhere else first to get the feel for it or if you think I am crazy!
Actually that would just be changing the subject!
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:20 PM   #6
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Another way to make a clean hole is to use a tapered reamer. Drill a hole large enough for the tip of the reamer, then use the reamer to enlarge the hole to the finished diameter. Avoids any tear out.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:36 PM   #7
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Drill at a low speed.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:37 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the great suggestions! There's always more than one way to solve a problem, or assure a doubtful remodeler.

The website that I ordered my clock parts from was: Klockit - Continuous Sweep Mini Quartz Movement

Following is the movement I hope to neatly install. The thickness I ordered was 1/8". The hole I need to drill is 1/4" in diameter.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:14 PM   #9
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Just carefully drill the hole. I drilled a large hole in my cabinet to install a voltage gauge, I used a hole saw but you don't need anything that large for your project.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:03 PM   #10
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If you use a brad point as mentioned by P Raz, run the drill ackwards slowly at first. This will create a scribed circle in the gel coat and then run the drill in the forward position. If your carfull, you should have no problems.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:09 AM   #11
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depends,,,what size is needed for the hole?.45 caliber? .38 caliber?

wait....maybe you should just ignore me like my wife does....
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:49 AM   #12
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Go for it! If it is not quite right get a brass, chrome or black decorative washer as an escutcheon.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john warren View Post
depends,,,what size is needed for the hole?.45 caliber? .38 caliber?

wait....maybe you should just ignore me like my wife does....
Hmmm...that would make TWO holes...one in the cabinet and one in the outside wall.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
Go for it! If it is not quite right get a brass, chrome or black decorative washer as an escutcheon.
Floyd, that clock movement only has about 1/8" of thread on the shaft/post. I'm hoping I can just screw that little hex nut onto enough thread to hold it in place. Otherwise, I'll have to order another movement with a longer shaft.
Don't know why I ordered such a short shaft. I HAD intended to mount the clock on the big cupboard door and that would require a shaft at least 1/2" long. Musta been dozing off late at night.

Thanks everybody for all your help. Off to the hardware after I close up shop. Then to the liquor store for whiskey. Then home to drill that hole. Pics tomorrow.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:57 AM   #15
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Or you could do like a dentist and grind the hole out. Start with a 1/8" twist drill, then switch to a dremel tool with a small stone or diamond burr to enlarge the hole. On your clock the capture nut would probably cover small chips anyway. Be sure and post pics of your finished work.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #16
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OK
Now that you have said it is a small hole I would just go for it no matter how you do it.
A Brad Ponit bit will give a clean hole and just don't let the bit pull through when it breaks thru the backside and it should be OK.

Again though going backwards with the Brad Point will ensure it will not tear out.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil M. View Post
Hmmm...that would make TWO holes...one in the cabinet and one in the outside wall.
uh...drainage?
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:09 PM   #18
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Mission accomplished. I marked the location, protected it with painter's tape, drilled a pilot hole with an 1/8" regular bit, going in reverse and then forward, drilled 1/4" hole with the brad point bit, again going in reverse and then forward. Kept speeds low and things seemed to work out fine.
Then I tried to insert the shaft of the movement through the hole. Too tight, so I ended up reaming out the hole to about 5/16" just going at slower speed. The shaft finally went through. I secured the movement with the hex nut, aligned and mounted the hands, installed the battery, and the little clock started its circular journey.
I ordered some self-adhesive dots to mark the numbers, but they only came in gold, so I've spray-painted them black and they're drying as I type. Will install tomorrow.
Thanks everybody for all your help. I decided to celebrate with a glass or two of white wine...much more civilized than whiskey.
Attached Thumbnails
hole.jpg   movement.jpg  

hands.jpg  
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:20 PM   #19
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I love it when a plan comes together Can't wait to see the finished product
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:21 PM   #20
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