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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-27-2009, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Default drilling phenolic router inserts

Hi Ho: Well we live and learn. I have never drilled phenolic before and figured it would be something like plastic. Wrong!!! That stuff is hard and seems to be very brittle, to say nothing of hard on drill bits.

I am installing a router raizer which requires a 3/4 inch counterbore with a 1/2 in through hole in the insert. Well the counterbore went ok but was hard to do, even on the drill press at low speed. The through hole broke the phenolic instead of exiting cleanly.

My question is: When I get my new insert should I do the through-hole with a forstner bit as with the counter bore or a twist drill, or what? I wish I had carbide drill bits but I only have small ones that I used with printed circuit boards. Any other good ideas?

Thanks, Dirk
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-27-2009, 09:52 PM
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hi Dirk

forstner bits work well but put in a 1/8" 1st and then drill it from both sides with the forstner bit..it will come out clean..but don't hold back ,nice and easy with just a little presser ..don't push it, let the bit do the work 1st..


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Originally Posted by dirko View Post
Hi Ho: Well we live and learn. I have never drilled phenolic before and figured it would be something like plastic. Wrong!!! That stuff is hard and seems to be very brittle, to say nothing of hard on drill bits.

I am installing a router raizer which requires a 3/4 inch counterbore with a 1/2 in through hole in the insert. Well the counterbore went ok but was hard to do, even on the drill press at low speed. The through hole broke the phenolic instead of exiting cleanly.

My question is: When I get my new insert should I do the through-hole with a forstner bit as with the counter bore or a twist drill, or what? I wish I had carbide drill bits but I only have small ones that I used with printed circuit boards. Any other good ideas?

Thanks, Dirk



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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-27-2009, 09:56 PM
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Dirk,

Did you have the phenolic on top of a sacrificial surface, to support the phenolic as you broke through the top?

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 03:20 AM
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Did you like the smell when drilling? Never smoke when you cut/drill/route phenol products.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 03:44 AM
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I heard you shouldn't breath the vapors or smoke or whatever, someone says it isn't good for you--- well except in moderation!!

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Ho: Thanks, guys. The smell is something else. As usual about 3:00 am this morning I woke up and realized that a support block and drilling from both sides would be a good idea. I also went to the Grizzly catalog and found carbide tipped Forstner bits. I think that is the real solution as the HSS bits just don't like the hard phenolic.

The problem with not pushing hard enough is that the Forstner bit tends to polish the surface instead of cutting. When it does cut it works but doesn't like to cut that material. I think I will cut the counterbore then fill the hole with a plug and turn it over next time. And a wood support is probably a good idea even if the bit makes it through the 1-inch hole in the drill press table. Hey, what do you think about starting the hole with a Forstner bit and then changing to a carbide tipped router bit?

Thanks again, Dirk
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 02:10 PM
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For a large through hole, why not use a hole saw. Or just make a jig and route the details. It routes really well. But smells.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 02:27 PM
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This may sound silly but, speed up the speed of your bit when drilling. Wear a respirator or dust mask. The odor or vapor is harmful. Otherwise, Bj did give you the best option to go. Drill both sides, let the bit do the work. Most definitely use a backer board of some kind.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 12:56 AM
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I needed to drill a 3/4" hole in one of mine. I smoked a forstner bit, then a spade bit. Finally went to Home Depot, got a Bi-Metal holesaw and it went through quick and clean.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Ho: Thanks for the suggestion. Nobody has commented on the idea of starting with a Forstner bit and drilling with a straight-cutting carbide tipped router bit. Maybe this will work?

Dirk
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