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Thread: Teeny, Tiny Drill Bits

  1. #1

    Teeny, Tiny Drill Bits

    Hi folks... Occasionally (and lately more frequently) I need to drill holes with bits that are a 1mm or less.
    This would be about #64 bit; sometimes I've needed #65 or #66.
    I currently use a very old Craftsman benchtop DP (1/2 HP I think) and the chuck has been able to hold a #66 bit just fine.
    Any smaller than that, it doesn't hold very well.

    I want to upgrade to a Nova Benchtop Viking but the chuck can only hold 1/16" bit or larger (I already contacted Teknatool about the chuck specs).
    So I thought about using a pin vise. But most pin vises are not tightly machined, so they introduce wobble.
    I know this because I've tried using a Starrett pin vise for bits smaller than #66.
    The Starrett should have worked but its the line of Starrett tools made in China, which I discovered after the fact...'nuff said.

    Does anyone know where I can find a well machined pin vise that has minimal wobble?
    OR does anyone know of a way to hold a teeny tiny bit in a chuck that was never meant to hold something that small.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    They make smaller drill chucks with a hex shaft to allow inserting into your existing drill chuck. I have one from DeWalt that was in the DeWalt drill bits area of my local Lowes. I think it cost me about $25. This chuck has handled every small drill bit that I've ever tried to use in it and I have a big drill index with about every size, including the fractional, numbered, and letter sizes. My (3) drill presses are all Delta and about 30 years old. The hex shaft on this small chuck has the snap-in groove, so you can even use it in an impact screwdriver, if you should want to (sometimes easier to carry impact driver and this chuck when small work jobs don't require big drill bits and slower speed drilling).

    Charley

  3. #3
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    I bought a no-name mini chuck on eBay to hold 1/32" drill bits for inserting model railroad spikes in banjo fretboards. It cost under $10 and works quite well. It has a 1/4" hex shaft, which I chuck into my 18v DeWalt. It looks kind of silly, but I'm used to that by now.

  4. #4
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    I have this adapter from Mcmaster: https://www.mcmaster.com/30505A5

    I use it to hold tiny bits for drilling circuit board holes. For the price, it's pretty good. Perhaps a bit more runout than you would have with a precision chuck made to hold small bits, but it's been good enough for my use.

    As an alternative, I'm sure you could get a chuck to replace the one on the viking. Albrecht makes keyless chucks that go down to .008 (smaller than #80 bit). You would buy an arbor that has a taper for the chuck on one end and a taper that fits the viking on the other end. Downside is Albrecht chucks are $$$, but they are top notch.
    --The bad news is: time flies. The good news is: you're the pilot.-- (Michael Altshuler)

  5. #5
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    I clip off the heads of a pin or brad and chuck it into my DeWalt Driver Drill. Usually works.
    Regards,

    Tom

  6. #6
    Thanks all ...will check out all the suggestions

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patty Hann View Post
    …Does anyone know where I can find a well machined pin vise that has minimal wobble?
    OR does anyone know of a way to hold a teeny tiny bit in a chuck that was never meant to hold something that small.
    How deeply do you need to drill?

    I have one of those tiny jacobs chucks that is held in a larger chuck and grips extremely small drill bits but unfortunately can’t remember where I bought it. However, what I use more for small bits is a pin vise made for holding and twisting with the fingers. With small bits I usually don’t need to drill a very deep hole so the finger power works fine.

    JKJ
    Last edited by John K Jordan; 12-04-2022 at 9:35 AM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Hi John... I have done exactly that with a pin vise...done it by hand when the wobble was unacceptable.
    But that was only when drilling through wood, typically not very hard (maple or walnut) and no more than 1/2", or into thin metal.
    But I have had to tap 1/4" thick brass, copper and aluminum for #00-90 machine screws.
    And even though those three metals are soft, it takes a while to do it by hand (especially as the hands are getting a bit arthritic ).
    Yet I can't use the DP with the wobbly pin vise because that will make a too large of a hole to be tapped.

  9. #9
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    Back when I was collecting metal working tools I bought an Albrecht sensitive chuck which allows you to control the feed manually. But Google tells me that they are now almost $500.

    Perhaps a better option would be a collet chuck?

  10. #10
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    I use the Dremel with Dremel small drill bit and collet set. I think the smallest bit in the kit is 1/32 . The smallest collet will squeeze a little smaller.

    The small collet appears to go to zero. It will grip sewing thread.

    IMG_1007.jpg
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 12-04-2022 at 9:48 AM. Reason: image
    Missouri, it's not that bad. Best Regards, Maurice

  11. #11
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    Another thought...if you search for printed circuit board drill bits or PCB drill bits, you'll find tiny bits with larger shanks that can easily be held in a larger chuck. They go down to at least 0.6mm, probably smaller.

    Also, a search for printed circuit board drill press will show you some other options.
    --The bad news is: time flies. The good news is: you're the pilot.-- (Michael Altshuler)

  12. #12
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    drill press, use a sensitive drill feed.
    Or just buy a sensitive drill press for a lot more money. Hamilton and Dumore are two brands off the top of my head.
    Bill D

    https://www.amazon.com/LittleMachine.../dp/B07GL2ZXS8
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 12-04-2022 at 11:25 AM.

  13. #13
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    I have the Nova floor model and the best upgrade I made to it was changing the chuck. The chuck that came with it will not hold small bits and the runout was more than I'd like. Albrecht is probably the best but I couldn't see spending that kind of money as a hobbyist. I ended up getting a Jacobs 14N Ball Bearing Super Chuck 1/2" for $150. It is listed as 1/32 - 1/2" but it held my smallest drill bit which is .022" just fine. And runout was less than .001". Good used ones can be had on eBay for less than half new cost.

  14. #14

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ziebron View Post
    I have the Nova floor model and the best upgrade I made to it was changing the chuck. The chuck that came with it will not hold small bits and the runout was more than I'd like. Albrecht is probably the best but I couldn't see spending that kind of money as a hobbyist. I ended up getting a Jacobs 14N Ball Bearing Super Chuck 1/2" for $150. It is listed as 1/32 - 1/2" but it held my smallest drill bit which is .022" just fine. And runout was less than .001". Good used ones can be had on eBay for less than half new cost.
    Thanks John.... This sounds like the route take; i.e. replace the chuck on the Nova...
    But I have to do it in stages:
    First, buy the new DP.
    Second, wait for the budget to recover.
    Third, buy the Jacobs chuck.

    In the meantime, I will make do with some of the other suggestions.
    Someone on a model RR forum suggested winding very fine wire (which I do have) around the bit, effectively increasing the diameter.
    Not a few of the RR forum-ites suggested the same.
    Anyway, thank you to everyone who took the time to reply

  15. #15
    Several years ago I purchased a Starrett pin vise for the same situation, and I have to wrap the bit shank with a couple turns of blue masking tape and clamp the tape in a cordless drill chuck when drilling holes. Even with the tape, the pin vise would not allow me to drill turning the pin vise by hand.

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