Drilling into laminate - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Drilling into laminate

Hi all-- i need to drill a hole into my ADA-style stand that has a laminate finish. Can anyone recommend a 1.5"-2" hole saw that would work well for this purpose? I haven't done this before, so any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 01:23 PM
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The actual saw won't matter much. Done incorrectly they will all chip the laminate. Start the hole from one side and go most of the way through. The center drill left a hole all the way through. Use that as the guide to then finish the hole from the other side. No chipping.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Centromochlus View Post
Hi all-- i need to drill a hole into my ADA-style stand that has a laminate finish. Can anyone recommend a 1.5"-2" hole saw that would work well for this purpose? I haven't done this before, so any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!
As above and you can also cover the cut area w/ masking tape...That will prevent some chipping..

Punching a starter hole will help as well..

Drilling from both sides can be a bit problematic if the orig pilot hole is not perpendicular..

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 09:05 PM
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There are laminate blades available for jig saws. You would drill a hole large enough for the blade to fit into somewhere in the center of the hole you want to cut out and then cut your way to the outline of the larger hole. Tape the area first and draw the outline of the larger circle on the tape. You may want to cut the hole slightly smaller than you need and then enlarge it with a fine round file. If the laminate does chip you can find grommets for wiring etc. online. You may want to go this route anyway for a more finished/factory appearance. Just search 'grommets for wiring'.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Does it matter which side you start from?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 09:23 PM
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If you use the jigsaw method I would saw from the outside(side that shows). Depending on how thick the material is the blade may flex a bit and not be quite as exact on the bottom side of the cut. Tape a large enough area on the outside surface to protect from scratching the surface with the saw as you cut.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 10:57 PM
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If you know the holesaw size, use a sharp holesaw, use masking or duct tape over the area and start slow with light presssure until the laminate is scored, you shouldnt chip it even with a regular hole saw, if you are very worried, a diamond coated hole saw for cutting tile or glass would not chip whatsoever, but those holesaws tend to be expensive
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-17-2015, 11:30 PM
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If you use the jigsaw method I would saw from the outside(side that shows). Depending on how thick the material is the blade may flex a bit and not be quite as exact on the bottom side of the cut. Tape a large enough area on the outside surface to protect from scratching the surface with the saw as you cut.
The sabre saw cuts on the upstroke. If you want chipout on the outside that's exactly what you do.

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If you know the holesaw size, use a sharp holesaw, use masking or duct tape over the area and start slow with light presssure until the laminate is scored, you shouldnt chip it even with a regular hole saw, if you are very worried, a diamond coated hole saw for cutting tile or glass would not chip whatsoever, but those holesaws tend to be expensive
The problem is they don't really cut as much as abrade. As soon as you hit wood they will overheat.

Your first part however is on the mark.

When I had to put the lockset into my front door I did it from both sides as I stated. There was no way I was going to screw up a $2,000 door. It's the way I cut any hole of any size.

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There are laminate blades available for jig saws. You would drill a hole large enough for the blade to fit into somewhere in the center of the hole you want to cut out and then cut your way to the outline of the larger hole. Tape the area first and draw the outline of the larger circle on the tape. You may want to cut the hole slightly smaller than you need and then enlarge it with a fine round file. If the laminate does chip you can find grommets for wiring etc. online. You may want to go this route anyway for a more finished/factory appearance. Just search 'grommets for wiring'.
It's about impossible to get a perfectly round hole with square sides with a sabre saw.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 02:48 AM Thread Starter
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So i picked up a hole saw blade today and tested it out on a spare 2x4. I had a really hard time keeping it going until the hole was complete; the pilot bit frequently became detached from the hole saw while drilling. Am i doing something wrong? The final cuts were clean but with laminate i'm not sure if the finished product would be the same. I feel like this shouldn't be that difficult but i definitely would not be comfortable doing this on my stand right now.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 03:13 AM
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How is the pilot held in? Allen set screw? Is it tight enough?

The cabinet you are going through is probably 3/4". A lot easier than a 2x4. Just go slowly and carefully through the inside first and get 1/2 way through then go from the outside. If there is still any chance however slight you screw up a bit the chipping is inside where you won't see it.

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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How is the pilot held in? Allen set screw? Is it tight enough?

The cabinet you are going through is probably 3/4". A lot easier than a 2x4. Just go slowly and carefully through the inside first and get 1/2 way through then go from the outside. If there is still any chance however slight you screw up a bit the chipping is inside where you won't see it.
Yeah it's held in by a screw of some sort. I screwed it in very tightly so i'm not sure how it came loose so many times.

Guess i'll practice a few more times and then give it a go on the stand.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 01:02 PM
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Yeah it's held in by a screw of some sort. I screwed it in very tightly so i'm not sure how it came loose so many times.

Guess i'll practice a few more times and then give it a go on the stand.
Get your pilot through the wood. Then just make sure the saw is resting square on the surface. Then bump the drill trigger to start your score. Drill 1/2 way. That will get you pretty close to a squarely drilled hole. Do the same from the other side using the pilot hole as your guide. It takes more to explain than to do.

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Last edited by GraphicGr8s; 08-18-2015 at 03:54 PM. Reason: sp
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-18-2015, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
The sabre saw cuts on the upstroke. If you want chipout on the outside that's exactly what you do.

Bump:
The problem is they don't really cut as much as abrade. As soon as you hit wood they will overheat.

Your first part however is on the mark.

When I had to put the lockset into my front door I did it from both sides as I stated. There was no way I was going to screw up a $2,000 door. It's the way I cut any hole of any size.

Bump:
It's about impossible to get a perfectly round hole with square sides with a sabre saw.
Gee - I've been a woodworker for about twenty years, didn't know I could learn so much about it on an aquarium website. Jigsaws(or sabre saws) have a huge variety of blades available for their use. All of them that I've used describe the type of material they are suitable for and the recommended type of cuts to be made. For example - curves. For as long as I've been using a jigsaw incorrectly with good results I must be incredibly lucky.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 12:40 AM
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Gee - I've been a woodworker for about twenty years, didn't know I could learn so much about it on an aquarium website. Jigsaws(or sabre saws) have a huge variety of blades available for their use. All of them that I've used describe the type of material they are suitable for and the recommended type of cuts to be made. For example - curves. For as long as I've been using a jigsaw incorrectly with good results I must be incredibly lucky.
We've both been doing it for a long time. I've got over 40 years. I stand by what I said. A sabre saw is not the right tool to cut a 1.5-2" hole. Sure you can get upcut, which is the most common, and you can get downcut blades. Either way that sabre saw is a lot harder to control than the drill and hole saw for a beginner. Every time I want to cut a curve I first make a pattern and perfect it. I then cut the wood with the sabre saw shy of that pattern then run it against a pattern bit on my router table. Only way to really save a bunch of sanding and get square cuts.

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If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-19-2015, 01:53 AM
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Hole saw as stated, blue painter tape. Approach from both sides, go slow. The mandrel has 2 sets that need to rotate into the hole saw piece, unless it's a cheap hole saw in which case the set screw is not grabbing pilot bit. Pilot should have a flat spot to recieve set screw. Post a pic please.
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