How-To: Drill press laser pointer

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Instructables user mariosk8s writes:

After having to drill a bunch of circuit boards, i came to the conclusions that there had to be a better way to perform target practice. So i ordered a laser pointer and dug out an old broken set of helping hands. The helping hands were really helping this time.

Drill press laser pointer tutorial on Instructables

20 thoughts on “How-To: Drill press laser pointer

  1. I think this is a waste of a laser pointer. It’s a freakin drill press! It only moves up and down, if you can’t align your work without a laser you need to go back and learn how to use that drill press. I have a mitter saw that has a laser too. I hate the thing so I took out the battery. Common folks, what happened to the days where you actually had to measure things and set up stop blocks and mark your work?

  2. At this distance a laser pointer dot will be larger than the hole being drilled in the pcb (typ ~1.0mm).
    The angle the beam is coming from will spread the dot into an even larger oval.
    The reflected laser light from a pcb will make the actual target location nearly impossible to see.

  3. Better to use two intersecting laser levels. Then it works at every height.

    Mike: I’m sure he can align his work without a laser, it’s just quicker and easier with one. Doing things the hard way isn’t necessarily virtuous!

  4. While you Drill Press Experts are picking on this guy’s project, maybe you could lend me the benefit of your shop experience…

    I need to drill a hole right through the exact middle of a 1.25 inch diameter, 6 inch long hard wood dowel so I can mount it on an axial (it will rotate as if on a lathe.) I need the exact center so there is less than 1mm or so of offset as it rotates. I don’t know how to get that level of accuracy, given my limited experience in the shop. Appreciate it; thanks!

  5. @Almost_There:

    Depending on the hole size, I’d say you’re going to have a hard time keeping the drill from wandering. Generally the most reliable way to do a job like this is to get an oversized rod, drill the center hole, then mount the rod on a mandrel in a lathe and turn the outside diameter. If you’re just trying to use the dowel to hold an axle, I’d drill the hole well oversize, and then glue two small caps on the ends with holes sized for the axle.

  6. >the most reliable way to do a job like this is to get an oversized rod, drill the center hole

    I thought I might have to do that. Only thing I can think of is to put some sort of a centering cup at the bottom to hold the bottom in place and drill from the other side straight towards it. The axial I’m using is 7/16 inch. Thanks for your feedback.

  7. .. is this
    1) Mount a large-ish box on the drill press to act as a platform, say a cigar box.

    2) Using your pcb drill (0.8mm) in the drill press, drill a hole in the box you just mounted on the drill press.

    3) Now mount the laser pointer in the box, pointed vertically up through the hole you just made.

    4) the red spot is the exact diameter of the drill and is (just) visible in the hole in the gap in the centre of the pad when the PCB is at the right spot

    works for me using FRG4 glass fibre PCBs.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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