best way to cut holes in metal lensboards?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by darinwc, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Hey there!
    I have a small drill press.
    What is the best way to cut holes in metal lensboards?
    Can I use a hole-saw or do I need large bits?

    THX.
     
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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  3. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Take my word for it, in the friendliest possible terms. If you have to ask that, you are about to make a mess of the job. This doesn't sound like it's going to turn out well at all. Regards.
     
  4. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Member

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    Holes 1 inch or less- drill bits.
    Holes over 1 inch- hole saw for metal only.
    Clamp the work piece firmly!
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    There are also tools consisting of a central drill with an adjustable arm and a turning tool at the end.
     
  6. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    I have used Greenlee punches on the thin metal Speed Graphic boards.
     
  7. George Nova Scotia

    George Nova Scotia Subscriber

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    I think AgX is referring to this type of bit: http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p=32275&cat=1,180,42316&ap=1 With careful use they can be used for soft metals. Get the best you can find and clamp everything down. Slow speed - can your drill press run at 300-500 rpm? If anything is off center you'll get a messy hole. Don't force it, slow is better. I'd guess a carefully set up metal lathe would be the option of choice.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I just use a hole cutter on a drill, and/or acurved file, it's a quick job.

    Ian
     
  9. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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  10. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I use one of these on a 10" Craftsman Press. Clamp everything down nice and tight, take it slow, and it works just fine. Afterwards, I clean the edge with a Dremel. I need to cut a Graflex board this weekend - I can take a shot of the setup if it'll help, but there's really not much to it.

    Measure twice, cut once!

    Dan
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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  12. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Practice on some scrap metal first.

    Jeff
     
  13. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I've used a hole saw on linhof style boards with good results. The biggest was for a 12" Commercial Ektar which I think is an Ilex #4. I then tapped some holes for screws to mount the flange. With care it can be done on a small drill press. As others have said you must clamp things down well. I also used some cutting oil in a spray can.
     
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  15. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Hole saws work well. I have also used woodworking Forstner bits, they work well, and make very clean holes, but you need to use a lubricant and a VERY slow feed, with the work peice held very securely.
    With something thin like a Graphic board I'd sandwich it between two pieces of wood.
     
  16. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I'm guessing the hole will be something like 35mm to 50mm in diameter? Here's how I used to do it with simplest equipment.

    Take a compus and draw a circle in the exact diameter I need.
    Draw another circle (concentric) that is smaller. The size of this hole will depend on the drill bit you use.
    Drill a bunch of holes all around the circumference of this smaller hole. I used to use 3mm bits.
    Make sure, the outer edge of the holes are about 0.5 to 1mm inside of the outer (original) circle.
    Then use a diagonal clipper or a small saw and connect the holes, so the disk can be removed.
    Use a half round file to smooth it out to the diameter of the outer (original) circle.

    It's not that much of work, if you are talking about relatively thin aluminum material.
     
  17. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    It's not that complicated. I use a hole saw (regular one made for wood, not even one made for metal) to cut mine and a half-round file to clean it up. I clamp the board to a piece of scrap 2x4.
     
  18. NormanV

    NormanV Member

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    Just to add another choice, you could mark the circle, drill a small hole near to the inside edge of the circle and then cut around it using a metal cutting blade in a fretsaw/coping saw/piercing saw. I would be concerned about distorting the panel if you used a chassis punch as suggested.
     
  19. Ashutterbug

    Ashutterbug Member

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    Use a hole saw, it works great. Clamp it down well and use your slowest speed on the drill press. Feed the cutter slowly into the lens board.
     
  20. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Hole saws for sure. Circle cutters have the extra height and diameter that need to be watched for. the board has tio be VERY secure. Well....so can hole saws, it's pretty exciting when the saw catches and spins the board especially if flesh is involved.
     
  21. silveror0

    silveror0 Member

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    Not to offer a solution, but this topic reminds me of a time when I wanted a hole cut in a Sinar board (about 3mm aluminum). I had a machinist friend who was also a supervisor in a large plant's machine shop for many years. He also had a GRAND shop in his basement. He put the board in his lathe and starting cutting, but stopped just before breakout, then with his pinky poked the piece out. I asked how he knew when to stop cutting. He said he could tell by the cutting sound. I asked what if the material was a different material. He said it would have a different sound. We're talking experience here.
     
  22. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    Avoid blood and gore!

    For the sake of your fingers and unless you enjoy the sight of your own blood, if you're drilling or hole cutting in sheet metal, put the workpiece in a vise or clamp it securely . As the drill bit breaks though its likely to snag the work piece and twirl it around, nicely butchering your hand. The chassis punches mentioned earlier are great things, but the ones I've used require a hole drilled in the center of the work piece, so still be careful.
     
  23. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The best way? A lathe with a four-jaw chuck and a trepanning cutter. If you don't have that, there are second-best (and third, and fourth...) ways as outlined in this thread, they'll all work with care and patience. The advice to clamp the board firmly when using a drill press is advice you will ignore exactly once. With luck you won't lose a finger.
     
  24. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I would use my Sherline Mill, drilling a small center whole so i could then rotate the board with geared table (forget what it is called) and cutting the hole as it rotates.
     
  25. Jon Goodman

    Jon Goodman Member

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    You could use a .410 shotgun. Just attach the lensboard to a piece of wood and stand a few inches away from it when you fire the gun. Hole too small? Back up and try again. Hole too large? Get some duct tape and chewing gum to plug up the holes. Good luck.
    Jon
     
  26. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Jon, professionals don't use chewing gum to fill in spaces caused by grievous negligence!

    That's what spray foam sealant is for.