Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Helpful tips to drill straight holes in ring shank?


#1

Hello!

I’ve been practicing various in-band setting techniques in sterling
silver using cubic zirconia stones and I think I have a standard
methods for drilling part-way for a flush setting, but I am having
problems where I drill through to the interior of the band to create
the beginning of an azure, but find that my drill is going in
off-angle where is looks good from the top, but poor from the bottom
(all over the place). Since I am using an optivisor to do this work,
my ability to see if I am drilling 90 perpendicular to the band is
really difficult. Does anyone have any tips to share on how to help
bring the quality of my drilling up a notch or two? I am not pleased
with my results and want to improve. Another thought I just had was
to expand the azures, but don’t have any techniques for that in my
repertoire. Any hints on that would be appreciated too! :slight_smile:

Thanks, Ron


#2

It is very difficult to drill 100% perpendicular so to compensate
rotate your piece a 1/4 turn every time you remove the drill to
lubricate it which should be quite frequently. Using this technique
your hole will come out centered even if you are drilling at an
angle. As with everything else in this business, your drilling will
improve with practice.

Good luck, Tim


#3
I am having problems where I drill through to the interior of the
band to create the beginning of an azure, but find that my drill is
going in off-angle where is looks good from the top, but poor from
the bottom (all over the place). 

Well, there are number of solutions to such problems. I will be
talking about it in details on my blog,
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7znu

but that is coming later. Let’s see what can be done here.

Perfectly perpendicular holes can only be done with drill press
(modern solution) and drillstock (old way). Drillstock requires a
lot of practice and it is almost impossible to find flat drills in
our sizes. They can be made, which I do if there are no other
options. Drill press requires coordinate table and dividing head, to
drill eternity type rings. I personally abhor this solution, but use
it nevertheless, when working with steel rings.

I suspect what you are asking are methods when some deviation is
allowed, especially if azure ( ajure ) is to be employed. If you
making hollow type rings, check out my DVD “Eternity Ring”

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1f0

If you making solid type, with some practice you can get good
results too. The key is to learn to drill always using the same
position of the left and right hands and the same position on bench
pin. I again refer to the aforementioned DVD. If you do that, with
some practice, you will acquire muscle memory and will be able to
drill within 1 or 2 degrees tolerance. Azure will make deviations
unnoticeable. It is useful to have an idea of thickness where hand
drilling is acceptable. Assuming 2 degrees deviation and 5mm
thickness, distance from center to drill exit is computed as ring
thickness / tan(90-2) = 5 / 28.64 = 0.17mm. Even if you work with
half-pointers, the deviation is acceptable. Smaller thickness means
more dimensional precision and large thickness means increase in one.
So if staying within 2 degrees is too much to ask, reducing thickness
is another approach to think off.

There are few other methods of simulating drill press if you do not
have one, and others. The explanation requires drawings, which are
not possible here. So I will expand on the subject more fully in my
blog in some not so distant future.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#4

Ron- Rotate, rotate, rotate. I always tell my students when, filling,
sanding, drilling holes or cutting stone seats to rotate the work 1/4
turn every few seconds. We all tend to lean one way or another. If
you continue to rotate your piece on the bench pin or in the ring
clamp, drill a little, rotate, drill a little more, rotate. It will
eventually even out to straight. Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#5

My suggestion is to go to the hardware store and buy a small cheap
level and take the level out of it and velcro it to your flex shaft
hand piece. should give you a better idea of how straight you are
drilling… After a while you should be able to just feel what is
right… many holes

Vernon Wilson


#6
to compensate rotate your piece a 1/4 turn every time you remove
the drill to lubricate it which should be quite frequently. Using
this technique your hole will come out centered even if you are
drilling at an angle. 

It should be noted that this technique produces holes where entry is
larger than exit. It also increased chances of breaking a drill bit.
Amount of enlargement would of course depend on deviation from the
vertical. So it may be acceptable solution in some situations, but
not all. Developing muscle memory is still the best way to go.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#7
If you continue to rotate your piece on the bench pin or in the
ring clamp, drill a little, rotate, drill a little more, rotate.
It will eventually even out to straight. Drilling often irregular
jewelry sized articles with jewelry sized drill bits is actually
quite difficult to do well- 

you are not alone. I had a talk with a diamond dealer just the other
day about some setters we know. One of them is a most excellent
setter - he comes out of the old Nova Stylings, and if you know of
them you will be impressed. But the dealer said, “He can’t drill for
spit… We had this princess cut job and the drilling was just
plain unacceptable.” The real solution for getting perfect holes,
aside from the good advise given, is step drilling whenever you can.
For a small scale I’ll start with a #72, then to #68 and larger if
it’s called for.

You’ll be surprised how much you can tweak holes once the material is
pierced the first time. Little by little you can straighten them to
reasonable perfection if you are drilling 3 or 4 times. You can also
"pull" them straighter with an appropriate bur before drilling
the next step - that can be useful.


#8

It should be noted that this technique produces holes where entry is
larger than exit. It also increased chances of breaking a drill bit.

This is negated when one changes up to a larger drill as is normally
the case.

Otherwise the quarter turn method is perfectly acceptable.

I should know.

I have been doing a lot of pave setting for some of the German
jewellers here in Dusseldorf, and there is nothing that makes Herr
Fritz hop up and down in his sandle and socks like a hole that is not
absolutely precise.

In fact, this lot here think nothing of putting ALL the setting work
I do under a 60x microscope.

The other day I had to remove a nick from a BEAD of a 2mm pave set
diamond. At 60x it looked like a canyon. With a 10x loupe it was
invisible.

Straight holes?. Ask me, I 'm an expert…

www.meevis.com


#9

If you are going to drill many pieces and channel set, or do any
intricate stone setting I would recommend -highly- investing in a
Foredom All-set system. I guarantee after working with it for a
couple of days (to discover the capabilities of the different
attachments and changing them) you will get absolutely perfect
results every time whilst remembering to lubricate the drills. A
master set gives you all the pieces in one kit that will channel set
evenly and cleanly, azure perfectly, create illusion settings,
gypsy/flush settings, and in general allow for milling any shank into
the design you conceptualized in a fraction of the time using
ordinary tooling would take.

If you are using ordinary tools: with small drills of #72- 66 or
thereabout start the hole using the finest drill bit at least two
sizes lower than the actual size needed for the stone and graduating
to the size needed for the setting. If you need an angle buy a set of
digital angle finding calipers and use a sharpie or white out type
fluid and a straight edge to mark the angle on the piece using that
as the guide.You can also make a sort of quick drill stop by putting
a piece of gaffing tape (i like the visibility of blue painter’s type
best) at the point on the bit that is the deepest you can safely
drill without going past the tape mark. the drill stops sold usually
won’t fit a small drill, even if you were to place a collar inside to
accommodate the drill it would still wobble too much. A drill press
can be set at an indexable angle as can a dremel “workstation” which
holds a dremel tool at an angle to be used as a flexshaft, or as a
plunge router or indexed at a desirable angle, or as a drill press by
setting it up in a rotating fixture that comes with the 29 dollar
aluminum thing…if you are going to use it for precision work bolt it
to the bench as clamping it is less stable. As for the optivisor it
is fine- there are cheaper similar visors that work as well in fact I
think some don’t obstruct one’s vision as much as the optivisor does
that costs usually under 10 dollars with up to 3 flip-down
magnification plates that appear to be bringing the work very close
to the eyes…some can be fitted with a dark lens plate for soldering
or melting metal too, for less than optivisor brand optics. All said,
if you are going to do jewelry work for a living I would really take
a look at purchasing the Foredom All-Set system and go for the master
set from the beginning so that everything is all there in one box
from channel and setting attachments, milling table prong cutters
and the ‘L’ brackets needed to hold them to the handpiece(s)- as if
you opt for a kit including a standard #30 handpiece you can keep one
set up for your most repetitious operation.that is perhaps the most
limiting point about the system is that you are required to use a #30
handpiece with the set.I don’t like the #30 myself preferring a
slimmer handpiece ( without a duplex spring unless its for hammering)
but the results you get and the time saved once you master using the
set up is amazingly accurate every time - It is actually a quick
process if you have some experience setting to begin with (i have
zero affiliation with Foredom or its parent companies). t is well
worth the investment and it can be found on sale at FDj tools, and
other vendors or if you are interested talk to the salesman for
Foredom directly and ask him to point you to the lowest cost source…
he may even have a set used for a show that could be gotten cheaper
than an unused set, with or without the handpiece that comes with it.

It far easier to do a job with the right tools than to devise
systems that work but take a huge amount of time to get the task done
right with the cost of precious metals having shot up from the $400
dollars an ounce they were in 2004 or thereabout, Practicing on other
metals is a thought but that too takes time to get the shanks you
want to work with replicated/cast and the metal will perhaps be
softer if you choose a basic high zinc casting alloy which will
translate to the drilling as well as the type of drills you buy ( Ti
nitrite, cobalt coated, HSS etc.)- good thing small drills are sold
by the dozen!..rer


#10
I have been doing a lot of pave setting for some of the German
jewellers here in Dusseldorf, and there is nothing that makes Herr
Fritz hop up and down in his sandle and socks like a hole that is
not absolutely precise.

I guess you have been lucky that you do not have to use your method
on drilling for thread. I suspect that Herr Fritz would have jumped
so high that he might injure himself hitting ceiling in his shop.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#11

One thing I noticed from my practice with drilling is that after you mark the hole (make sure it’s centered), start to easily drill until you leave a shallow circle mark. After this stop and take a look under magnification. If this mark is perfectly rounded it means you are drilling straight, if there is any side that the roundness was cut from it means you are leaning in that direction when drilling. After the initial circle is marked you should strive to cut it so that you will never make the hole larger (and it will keep its size if you are drilling straight) and that you never break its roundness. Drill a bit and check often so that the roundness persists

I even go that far that after the initial circle is made so that I only try to put the drill in the hole so that I will not touch the walls and break its roundness, without judging its perpendicular position related to the whole ring, only to this little circle/hole. And it works every time :slight_smile:


#12

99.9% of the time, I use my micro drill press to drill holes. I guess it comes from my college days working as a machinist during the summer. I agree, drilling perfectly perpendicular holes requires a drill press. A dividing head isn’t necessary, however (better, but not necessary). I’ve been working on a locket-style amulet recently, and came up against this problem. Admittedly, an eternity ring requires more precision than I needed here, but this worked for me:

-Alec