# Looking for small electric hand drill for PCB

#### ep.hobbyiest

Joined Aug 26, 2014
184
Hi
i am planning to make my diy pcb at home. For that i need handy drill machine for PCB.
i want to know which one is good for pcb. please suggest..

#### jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Use a drill press. Miniature or larger doesn't matter much. Either will be steadier than your hand. Unless you are making quite large holes in the PCB, you will break the smaller carbide drills. Alternatively, use HSS drills, but they won't last nearly as long.

#### dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,871
i need handy drill machine for PCB.
You mention in the title that you want a hand drill. Don't do it, get a stand. Carbide bits break very easily with little lateral force.

I've been using this one from Jameco for about a dozen years. It has a bit of runout, but the effect can be minimized if you have pilot depressions (e.g. hole in the etch resist pads to guide the bit) and minimize drill bit travel.

They also sell the drill and stand with a couple bits as a kit:

Comes with a 0.021" (#75) and 0.040" (#59), but it looks like they're HSS vs. carbide.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,335
If you have good eyesight, a steady pulse, and master the right technique, you do not need to use a drill press, at all. I've very successfully been using a Dremel tool hanging from a hook mounted on the wall, with its flex-shaft attached, to drill PCBs for at least 25 years now.

Resting both elbows on top of the work surface, you use one hand to "gravitate" the shaft, and the other to perform the up-down drilling motion. My work surface is 3 feet high, while I sit on an ordinary chair. This way the elbows rest at a level almost as high as the shoulders. It's far more comfortable to work this way.

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#### dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,871
If you have good eyesight, a steady pulse, and master the right technique, you do not need to use a drill press, at all.
You are a mutant. Even when my hands were steadier, I don't think I could do that for hundreds (or even dozens) of holes without snapping a bit.

I've broken 2 carbide bits in the past couple of months, but not from drilling. Both were from carelessness. I laid a bit on the bench and put something on it; snap. The other broke while I was using a brush to get dust off of the drill press. At a buck each, my retirement budget can't support a drill bit breaking habit. During AliExpress' Veterans Day sale, I decided to take a chance; 10 for $1.78 with free shipping. #### jpanhalt Joined Jan 18, 2008 11,088 Years ago, I bough a lot (>1000) of resharpened PCB drills at pennies each. Breaking them is not the real issue with me. They tend to break at the flex point, which is often just where the bit enters the board. If it has penetrated the board, you maybe able to punch the retained fragment out from the back side. If not, you can have a mess. #### cmartinez Joined Jan 17, 2007 7,335 You are a mutant. Even when my hands were steadier, I don't think I could do that for hundreds (or even dozens) of holes without snapping a bit. I've broken 2 carbide bits in the past couple of months, but not from drilling. Both were from carelessness. I laid a bit on the bench and put something on it; snap. The other broke while I was using a brush to get dust off of the drill press. At a buck each, my retirement budget can't support a drill bit breaking habit. During AliExpress' Veterans Day sale, I decided to take a chance; 10 for$1.78 with free shipping.
I've only broken one bit accidentally , and it was because I sneezed ....

The other four bits I've broken was because I either left the tool laying around and accidentally hit it with another object, or because the bit itself had gone dull and was already overheating while doing the job.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,335
Years ago, I bough a lot (>1000) of resharpened PCB drills at pennies each. Breaking them is not the real issue with me. They tend to break at the flex point, which is often just where the bit enters the board. If it has penetrated the board, you maybe able to punch the retained fragment out from the back side. If not, you can have a mess.
I only use solid carbide bits, btw... and they don't flex.

#### jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
That's my point. They don't flex. Perhaps, I should have said stress point.

#### ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
12,942
I have used HSS and carbide drills in a small hand held, speed controlled drill, within minimal breakages.
Its important that the PCB is on a flat, non slip surface.
A piece of flat wood with a raised wooden edge strip, which acts a firm reference edge is important.

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
If you have good eyesight, a steady pulse,a masochist and master the right technique, you do not need to use a drill press,

You forgot something. Fixed it for you.

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
I have one of these. No steady hands needed. You don't even need a good eyesight

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,335
Here's a small sample of how I arrange and do things at my shop. It's a little something I can do for this forum from which I've learned so much. My many thanks to its very generous group of members.

This is how I have my Dremel tool installed:

And this is how I fix a PCB to a "sacrifce" work surface before drilling. In this case, the surface is foamed PCB. Trovicel is one of the brands that distributes it:

And finally, yours truly performing a little demo showing my drilling technique:

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
Don't you get a lot of runout with your Dremel? That was my problem with mine. Dremel replaced it once. Worked fine for a while then same issue developed. The drill press is very sloppy too.

Proxon is supposed to have both a superior tool and press.

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,335
Don't you get a lot of runout with your Dremel?
Not really ... but thanks for the Proxon suggestion, I'll look it up.

#### spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
I wonder if that cable extension is made a bit better than the tool itself. Have you tried with just the tool?

#### cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,335
I wonder if that cable extension is made a bit better than the tool itself. Have you tried with just the tool?
I tried with just the tool at first, many years ago, but it proved to be too heavy and large to be moved around quickly and for an extended period of time. The flexi-shaft is just the thing for this application. Without it, it would be almost impossible for me to get the job done.

#### shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,591
You guys must drill a lot more holes in PCB material than I do, to wear out a HSS bit. I've drilled many hundred holes and still on the same bit. But then it's not a Harbor Freight bit either, but a Cleveland tool brand. While it seems like carbide is a good idea, for the DIYer they are a pain. In a PCB plant yes but home use, not worth the bother of breakage. Then there is the Cobalt steel bits that are harder than HSS but not brittle like carbide.