One of the most common issues machinists face during a drilling operation is hole misalignment. Hole alignment is an essential step in any assembly or while mating cylindrical parts. When holes are properly aligned, the mating parts fit easily in each other. When one of the pieces to the puzzle is inaccurate, however, machinists run into issues and parts can be scrapped. The two types of common misalignment woes are Angular Misalignment and Offset Misalignment.
Angular misalignment is the difference in slope of the centerlines of the holes. When the centerlines are not parallel, a shaft will not be able to fit through the hole properly.
Offset misalignment is the distance between the centerlines of the hole. This is the position of the hole from its true position or mating part. Many CAD software programs will help to identify if holes are misaligned, but proper technique is still paramount to creating perfect holes.
1. Utilize a Spotting Drill
Using a spotting drill is a common way to eliminate the chance of the drill walking when it makes contact with the material. A spotting drill is designed to mark a precise location for a drill to follow, minimizing the drill’s ability to walk from a specific area.
Valor Holemaking High Performance Spotting Drill
Although using a spotting drill would require an additional tool change during a job, the time spent in a tool change is far less than the time required to redo a project due to a misaligned hole. A misaligned hole can result in scrapping the entire part, costing time and money.
Do you know how to choose the perfect spot drill angle? Learn how in this in-depth guide so you can eliminate the chance of drill walking and ensure a more accurate final product.
2. Be Mindful of Web Thickness
A machinist should also consider the web thickness of the drill when experiencing hole misalignment. A drill’s web is the first part of the drill to make contact with the workpiece material.
Essentially, the web thickness is the same as the core diameter of an end mill. A larger core will provide a more rigid drill and a larger web. A larger web, however, can increase the risk of walking, and may contribute to hole misalignment. To overcome this machining dilemma, machinists will oftentimes choose to use a drill that has a thinned web.
Also known as a split point drill, web thinning is a drill with a thinned web at the point, which helps to decrease thrust force and increase point accuracy. There are many different thinning methods, but the result allows a drill to have a thinner web at the point while having the benefit of a standard web throughout the rest of the drill body.
A thinner web will:
- Be less susceptible to walking
- Need less cutting resistance
- Create less cutting force
3. Select a Material Specific Drill
Choosing a material specific drill is one of the easiest ways to avoid hole misalignment. A material specific drill design has geometries that will mitigate the specific challenges that each unique material presents. Further, material specific drills feature tool coatings that are proven to succeed in the specific material a machinist is working in.