Friday, September 10, 2010

Using a Pin Vise to clear small holes

For a while I disliked building parts with deep, narrow holes because leftover support material clings tenaciously inside the holes and solidly blocks them. There's common advice to simply clear the holes with a drill, not my favorite solution.

A colleague suggested using an ordinary drill bit in a pin vise. The pin vise allows the bit to be twirled freely, and the handle provides leverage and strength.

Because its a handheld tool, the pin vise gives tactile feedback that makes it easy to guide the bit to follow the intended path of the hole. I found it helps to run a peeling cut down the middle of the hole, which gives the flutes a loose edge to grab onto.

Surprisingly, the manually-operated drill bit clears away leftover material very quickly yet doesn't tend to cut into the model itself. The model is quickly cleaned up by scraping the drill bit against the sidewalls and withdrawing it to clean the flutes.

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