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Old 09-13-2020, 09:33 AM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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Default Drilling Holes?

I will be making a game board for a customer.. basically will have a lot of 5mm holes for pegs throughout the board.. material is 3/4 MDF.. should I use a two flute bit, a downcut, etc.?... the holes need to be clean with no breakout on top.
Elementary question but thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:37 AM
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james mcgrew james mcgrew is offline
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We cut 5 mm holes for cabinet shelving all day long with a 5mm straight 2 flute bit.

and upcut may chip and a downcut will pack materials in hole
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:38 AM
Logan Y Logan Y is offline
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Personally I'd use a 5mm CNC drill bit but I've never made anything like that. The issue with downcuts, especially in MDF is they can start fires really really fast if the bit dwells in the bottom too long.
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Old 09-13-2020, 01:14 PM
The real JP The real JP is offline
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I bought a few brad point 5mm drill bits with a 1/4 shank for shelf pin holes in ply and melamine. I drill them in one go, maybe 11mm deep. I don't get tearout or chipping. rpm 12K, z feed 150ipm.

You can mill the holes with a downcut if you choose, you will need a bit smaller than the hole and use inside profile. I have not done this with 5mm holes, but it works well on larger ones.

If you don't want to buy anything and have a 5mm downcut and a upcut. Start all the holes with the downcut for a clean edge and then finish with the upcut. you didn't say how deep but peck drilling is always an option.
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Old 09-13-2020, 03:19 PM
rcrawford rcrawford is offline
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You'll get nice holes very quickly with a 5mm boring bit. They look like a brad point, so you get the advantage of good chip clearance with the up spiral, and the sharp points cut the surface of the hole to prevent tearout.
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Old 09-14-2020, 01:57 PM
DVE2000 DVE2000 is offline
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South East Tools make a 5mm drill bit with a 1/4" shank. It's nice because you can just drill. No need for peck drilling, even when drilling Hard Maple.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:29 PM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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Thanks for all the info.. I'll be running a trial piece later this week so I'll let yall know how it works out...
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:49 AM
Doug S Doug S is offline
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Brad point drill bits here.
I routinely use 5mm, 7mm and 8mm during the cabinet cutting. One pass, never any issues.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:33 AM
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If you don't want to buy a brad point bit, run 2 separate toolpaths. Convert your metric hole diameter to imperial.
Toolpath 1) Use a downcut bit and plunge about .10 down into the holes. (A smaller diameter bit using an inside spiral toolpath works good.)
Toolpath 2) Use an upcut bit and finish the holes to depth.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:30 AM
Bruce Bruce is offline
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I went with a 5mm bit with a brad point.. seems to work fine with no tearout or issues. Not quite sure on the ideal setting as far as rpm and drilling speed. I drilled and cut 7 pieces in one run.. each board finished at 24" round... it's a two side game board. Ran one side with holes and slight pockets, flipped it and drilled the other holes, pockets and cutout. Everything was lined up to mirror each other on each board.

Drilling, pocketing and cutting took about 3 1/2 hours total.. ran about 18000 rpm and 40 ipm on down movement. Any recommendations on rpm and ipm adjustments to speed things along. I really need to get it down to 3 hours (or quicker) max in order for it to equal out in what I'm charging, though I don't have to watch it fully and can do other productive things while it's running. Eventually my customer expects to need 100 boards a month. Any time saving would really make a big difference if quantity comes to that number.

Thanks for the advise!





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