Pilot Holes in MDF - Router Forums
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Default Pilot Holes in MDF

I am going to mount some casters on a 19" equipment rack that is made of MDF. The mounting holes in the casters are big enough for #12 or #14 screws, but I'm going to use #10 sheet metal screws. What size pilot hole do I need to drill in MDF for these #10 screws? Is there a chart?

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 12:10 AM
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I have 3/32" or 1/8" in my head from memory , but I would just do a test on a spare piece of mdf and see how they take

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 12:27 AM
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Rick makes a good point. Charts are for hardwood or softwood and mdf is neither. https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j...61644642242051
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 08:17 AM
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I usually through bolt casters. It's a bit more work, and you have to get the right length bolts, but you never really have to worry about the screws tearing out.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 08:52 AM
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I'm w/ Jesse...
through bolt before the screws spawl/tear out/ break the MDF...
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 09:07 AM
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I've had the same problem and when one castor falls off it can get exciting depending on which machine is on the dolly.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LazurusLong View Post
I usually through bolt casters. It's a bit more work, and you have to get the right length bolts, but you never really have to worry about the screws tearing out.
Yes, I considered this option, and I may go with it, but the rack will be on a wood floor with very little movement. The total weight will be less than 100 pounds. There will be very little lateral pressure on the wheels, reducing the likelihood of tearout, but there is no doubt that through bolting them would be the best option.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 11:34 AM
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The best way to determine the pilot hole for a screw is get a drill size that creates a hole for the shank of the screw. You can tell by holding both up to a brightly lit background with the drill bit in back of the screw. If you can see any of the drill bit, it's too big.

Also, you can harden MDF holes by using superglue/cyanoacrylate.

But, I'm with the guys on bolts. #10 bolts with washers will be 10X stronger with the MDF in compression and last a lot longer than any screws. The failure mode to worry about is not one time tearout but rather repeated stress that weakens the screws hold. No matter how tight they seem when you put them in, they will eventually work loose as MDF just doesn't have the shear strength.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 11:41 AM
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I am also with the idea of using bolts, putting the bolt in from the top down through the unit and into the base and then through the caster
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-25-2016, 12:57 PM
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Agree with the bolts, could save a squished toe.....
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