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Thread: Drilling PVC in a straight line

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    Thanks guys, I will try one more time. Just waiting for a new shipment of pvc (ordered 50 meters of pvc - not cheap here in Norway, about $4 pr meter). I will try the tips given here to make a straight line.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    Hey mrGrumpy, do you have any pictures of your jig for drawing a straight line on the pipe ???

    I'm interested in seeing them if you do.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    I had exactly the same problem - see thread :-
    http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...ight=holes+pvc

    In my case the "cure", finally, was to draw a line along the pipe for re-assurance when drilling, and the "flag", an 18" length of material through the second hole once it cleared the drilling jig, watch like a hawke that is is always vertical. I found I always had to keep a rotational load on the pipe when drilling, for what reason I have no idea, but the final result is "almost perfect"!!

    The other major is to ensure the total stability of the drill press, the jig and the drill, if anything moves the result will be disaster, I know, I have 13 x 4 meter lengths of Swiss cheese to prove it, well over $100.00's worth!!! (The Swiss cheese is the result of drilling at 90 deg to get my methodology correct by using already drilled unusable lengths as test beds)

    Once I had all of the above under control, when I now look along the completed PVC pipes with Pixels installed, they are as straight as a die, thankfully, so a big sigh of relief, and empty wallet!!

    Terry
    [B]"Tory Street Lights", Nelson, NZ[/B]
    [B]2013 - "Honourable Mention"[/B] - 2013 Local Christmas Lighting Competition
    [B]2013 :-[/B] 11 x Ren 64XC's - 650 Channels, 45,000+ lights. 7,000 or so LED's this year:-)
    ----------------------------------------------
    [B]"Lucky Home" [/B]- 2012 Local Christmas Lighting Competition
    [B]2012 :-[/B] 11 x Ren 64XC's - 550 Channels, 40,000+ lights. 2,500 or so LED's for the first time :-)
    -----------------------------------------------
    [B]2011:-[/B] 7 x Ren 64XC's - 384 Channels, 30,000+ lights - all incandescents! 2 x Commercial LED Panels (72x7)!
    ------------------------------------------------
    [B]"Supreme Winner for 2010" [/B]Local Christmas Lighting Competition, 4 x Ren 64's - 256 Channels Controlled by Vixen - "Brilliant" :-)
    18,000 to 20,000 Lights - all incandescents! 2 x LedTricks Panels with "Pix C" interface's
    [B]2009:- [/B]128 Channels of "Hill 320", 4,000 Lights

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    As you can see....you are not alone with this issue. Last year was my first year with pixels and animated lighting stuff. I made a jig, bought a cheap drill press from Harbor Freight and also ordered a metric step bit so I could drill 12mm holes for the 12 mm pixels I had. In my mind...this was going to be easy and I figured the hardest part was making the jig.

    I quickly learned it wasn't as easy as I thought. After much trial and error...with mostly errors, I also went with making a straight line on the pipe to use as an alignment point for the step bit. I purchased a long piece of aluminum channel stock and clamped that to the 1 inch pvc and used that as an edge guide to draw a straight line across the length of the pipe.

    The other mistake I made that was painful. I bought a single 50 ct string of lights from a US vendor when I first got started in early 2016 just to see if I can make them light up, etc. I then ordered a larger quantity of lights from a different US vendor to build the props for last season in a pre-sale. When I drilled a few pipes with the 12 mm step bit, the 50 ct string I first ordered was "relatively" easy to push into the pipe and get them seated.

    Once I received my larger shipment from the presale months later (and after I drilled out 330 feet of pipe with the 12 mm step bit with 2.5 inch spacing), I quickly learned my 12 mm hole with my new pixels was going to be extremely difficult to push into the pipe. I ended up using a 1/2" step bit and re-drilling the holes. On the back of the pipe I drilled a 14 or 16 mm hole to make it a lot easier to get the pixel in from the back.

    Make sure the lights you have will go into a 12mm hole with reasonable effort and don't make the mistake I made. Had I not re-drilled the holes, I'm fairly certain my wife would have never helped me with this stuff again and I would still be sitting in my garage straining my nuts off pushing those pixels in.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    Quote Originally Posted by EButler8361 View Post
    As you can see....you are not alone with this issue. Last year was my first year with pixels and animated lighting stuff. I made a jig, bought a cheap drill press from Harbor Freight and also ordered a metric step bit so I could drill 12mm holes for the 12 mm pixels I had. In my mind...this was going to be easy and I figured the hardest part was making the jig.

    I quickly learned it wasn't as easy as I thought. After much trial and error...with mostly errors, I also went with making a straight line on the pipe to use as an alignment point for the step bit. I purchased a long piece of aluminum channel stock and clamped that to the 1 inch pvc and used that as an edge guide to draw a straight line across the length of the pipe.

    The other mistake I made that was painful. I bought a single 50 ct string of lights from a US vendor when I first got started in early 2016 just to see if I can make them light up, etc. I then ordered a larger quantity of lights from a different US vendor to build the props for last season in a pre-sale. When I drilled a few pipes with the 12 mm step bit, the 50 ct string I first ordered was "relatively" easy to push into the pipe and get them seated.

    Once I received my larger shipment from the presale months later (and after I drilled out 330 feet of pipe with the 12 mm step bit with 2.5 inch spacing), I quickly learned my 12 mm hole with my new pixels was going to be extremely difficult to push into the pipe. I ended up using a 1/2" step bit and re-drilling the holes. On the back of the pipe I drilled a 14 or 16 mm hole to make it a lot easier to get the pixel in from the back.

    Make sure the lights you have will go into a 12mm hole with reasonable effort and don't make the mistake I made. Had I not re-drilled the holes, I'm fairly certain my wife would have never helped me with this stuff again and I would still be sitting in my garage straining my nuts off pushing those pixels in.
    It looked so easy on youtube I was ready to get finished all my PVC in an evening. I think I made up some new swear words while drilling the PVC.

    Did you have to use the larger drill bit cause of the "taps" on the pixel lights or did the lights not fit through a 12mm hole at all?

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    Quote Originally Posted by dvc2013 View Post
    Hey mrGrumpy, do you have any pictures of your jig for drawing a straight line on the pipe ???

    I'm interested in seeing them if you do.
    No, but waiting for wife to finish dressing so I'll sketch something.
    Used 1/2 bit, but needed to clamp pipe down after each index, or the pipe would jump when I was too fast on the drill press.
    The sharp bit grabbed a chunk of pipe. Need to think slow drilling - don't let it grab - even with clamp in place.
    I actually turned up dulling my bit so it was less likely to grab. More pressure, led grabbing.

    Didn't like step bit, had to turn over and drill other side too.

    JigMark.JPG
    In Lights Therapy

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    Quote Originally Posted by aumoenoav View Post
    It looked so easy on youtube I was ready to get finished all my PVC in an evening. I think I made up some new swear words while drilling the PVC.

    Did you have to use the larger drill bit cause of the "taps" on the pixel lights or did the lights not fit through a 12mm hole at all?
    The little notches or tabs...whatever you call them...made it extremely difficult to put those through the 12mm hole to get to the "seated" or indexed part of the pixel (just behind the tabs). The lights I have were also slightly variable....some thicker or larger diameter than others....very slight...but still made a difference.

    A lot of the videos I watched, the folks seemed to use a 1/2" step bit. I didn't understand why since the pixel dimension is supposed to be 12mm. Thus I bought the metric step bit and away I went. I should have ask some of those guys first I suppose. The Matt Johnson "How to build a pixel matrix" video is where I got the idea and process for drilling the pipe for my house outline. Although I don't think he specifically mentions it....the brass colored step bit he has on his press I believe is 1/2". That's my experience....for what it is worth.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    Quote Originally Posted by EButler8361 View Post
    The little notches or tabs...whatever you call them...made it extremely difficult to put those through the 12mm hole to get to the "seated" or indexed part of the pixel (just behind the tabs). The lights I have were also slightly variable....some thicker or larger diameter than others....very slight...but still made a difference.

    A lot of the videos I watched, the folks seemed to use a 1/2" step bit. I didn't understand why since the pixel dimension is supposed to be 12mm. Thus I bought the metric step bit and away I went. I should have ask some of those guys first I suppose. The Matt Johnson "How to build a pixel matrix" video is where I got the idea and process for drilling the pipe for my house outline. Although I don't think he specifically mentions it....the brass colored step bit he has on his press I believe is 1/2". That's my experience....for what it is worth.
    Hmm yes. I can't get inches here but 1/2 should be about 12,7mm. Maybe a 13mm metal drill should do the job better than a stepping but? Dunno if 13mm get too big or not.

    Edit:

    I see I can find 12.5mm and 13mm. Is the 1/2 just too big or small (since 1/2 is 12.7mm I have to go with one that is 0.2mm smaller or one that is 0.3mm larger).

    Was thinking to use a drill bit like this: http://www.biltema.no/no/Verktoy/Skj...SS-2000016864/ it say it can be used for metall and plastic.
    Last edited by aumoenoav; 09-27-2017 at 03:50 PM.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    I just realized why there is such a variance. Is it my imagination, or is the "collar" of the pixel the only thing that is 12mm? If so, the body is dependent on how much pressure was put into the mold for each casting.
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Drilling PVC in a straight line

    Quote Originally Posted by algerdes View Post
    I just realized why there is such a variance. Is it my imagination, or is the "collar" of the pixel the only thing that is 12mm? If so, the body is dependent on how much pressure was put into the mold for each casting.
    For me it seems like it's not the same between batches. I just measured with a caliper and the holders go out to 13,2mm but on its thinnest it's 10mm, so for me it will fit perfectly with a 12mm front hole and 13-13,5mm back hole. That would make the pixel lock in place with its holder.

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