Special Operations on Drilling Machines


    Countersinking is the tapering or beveling of the end of a hole with a conical cutter called a machine countersink. Often a hole is slightly countersunk to guide pins which are to be driven into the workpiece; but more commonly, countersinking is used to form recesses for flathead screws (Figure 6-38) and is similar to counterboring.

Types of Countersinks

    Machine countersinks for machining recessed screw heads commonly have an included angle of 82°. Another common countersink has an included angle of 60° machining lathe centers. Some countersinks have a pilot on the tip to guide the countersink into the recess. Since these pilots are not interchangeable, these types of countersinks can be used for only one size of hole and are not practical for field or maintenance shops.

Countersink Alignment

    Proper alignment of the countersink and the hole to be recessed are important. Failure to align the tool and spindle with the axis of the hole, or failure to center the hole, will result in an eccentric or out-of-round recess.

Figure 6-38. Countersunk hole.

Procedures for Countersinking

    Good countersinking procedures require that the countersink be run at a speed approximately one-half of the speed for the same size drill. Feed should be light, but not too light to cause chatter. A proper cutting fluid should be used to produce a smooth finish. Rough countersinking is caused by too much speed, dull tools, failure to securely hold the work, or inaccurate feed. The depth stop mechanism should be used when countersinking to ensure the recess will allow the flathead screw to be flush with the surface (Figure 6-39).

Figure 6-39. Proper and improper countersinking.


   Counterboring is the process of using a counterbore to enlarge the upper end of a hole to a predetermined depth and machine a square shoulder at that depth (Figure 6-40). Spot facing is the smoothing off and squaring of a rough or curved surface around a hole to permit level seating of washers, nuts, or bolt heads (Figure 6-40). Counterbored holes are primarily used to recess socket head cap screws and similar bolt heads slightly below the surface. Both counterboring and spotfacing can be accomplished with standard counterbore cutters.

    Counterbore cutters have a pilot to guide the counterbore accurately into the hole to be enlarged. If a counterbore is used without a pilot, then the counterbore flutes will not stay in one spot, but will wander away from the desired hole. The shank of counterbores can be straight or tapered. The pilots of counterbores can be interchangeable with one another so that many hole combinations can be accomplished.

Figure 6-40. Counterboring and spot facing.


   When counterboring, mount the tool into the drill chuck and set the depth stop 'mechanism for the required depth of shoulder cut. Set the speed to approximately one-half that for the same size of twist drill. Compute for the actual cutter size and not the shank size when figuring speed. Mount the workpiece firmly to the table or vise. Align the workpiece on the center axis of the counterbore by fitting the pilot into the drilled hole. The pilot should fit with a sliding motion inside the hole. If the pilot fits too tightly, then the pilot could be broken off when attempting to counterbore. If the pilot fits too loosely, the tool could wander inside the hole, causing chatter marks and making the hole out of round.

   Feeds for counterboring are generally 0.002 to 0.005 inch per revolution, but the condition of the tool and the type of metal will affect the cutting operation. Slow the speed and feed if needed. The pilot must be lubricated with lubricating oil during counterboring to prevent the pilot seizing into the work. Use an appropriate cutting fluid if the material being cut requires it. Use hand feed to start and accomplish counterboring operations. Power feed counterboring is used mainly for production shops.

Spot Facing

   Spot facing is basically the same as counterboring, using the same tool, speed, feed, and lubricant. The operation of spot facing is slightly different in that the spot facing is usually done above a surface or on a curved surface. Rough surfaces, castings, and curved surfaces are not at right angles the cutting tool causing great strain on the pilot and counterbore which can lead to broken tools. Care must be taken when starting the spot facing cut to avoid too much feed. If the tool grabs the workpiece because of too much feed, the cutter may break or the workpiece may be damaged. Ensure that the work is securely mounted and that all backlash is removed from drilling machine spindle.


   Tapping is cutting a thread in a drilled hole. Tapping is accomplished on the drilling machine by selecting and drilling the tap drill size (see Table 4-5 in Appendix A), then using the drilling machine chuck to hold and align the tap while it is turned by hand. The drilling machine is not a tapping machine, so it should not be used to power tap. To avoid breaking taps, ensure the tap aligns with the center axis of the hole, keep tap flutes clean to avoid jamming, and clean chips out of the bottom of the hole before attempting to tap.

Tapping Large Holes

   One method of hand tapping is to mount an adjustable tap and reamer wrench on the square shank of the tap and install a pointed tool with a center in the drilling machine spindle (Figure 6-41). The tap is placed in the drilled hole and the tool's center point is placed in the center hole. The tap is held steady, without forcing, by keeping light pressure on it with the hand feed lever of the drilling machine, while turning the wrench and causing the tap to cut into the hole.

Figure 6-41. Tapping with an upright drlling machine.

Tapping Small Holes

   Another method of hand tapping, without power, is to connect the tap directly into the geared drill chuck of the drilling machine and then turn the drill chuck by hand, while applying light pressure on the tap with the hand feed lever. This method works well on small hand-feed drilling machines when using taps smaller than 1/2-inch diameter.


    Reaming a drilled hole is another operation that can be performed on a drilling machine. It is difficult, if not impossible, to drill a hole to an exact standard diameter. When great accuracy is required, the holes are first drilled slightly undersized and then reamed to size (Figure 6-42). Reaming can be done on a drilling machine by using a hand reamer or using a machine reamer (Figure 6-43). When you must drill and ream a hole, it is best if the setup is not changed. For example, drill the hole (slightly undersized) and then ream the hole before moving to another hole. This method will ensure that the reamer is accurately aligned over the hole. If a previously drilled hole must be reamed, it must be accurately realigned under the machine spindle. Most hand and machine reamers have a slight chamfer at the tip to aid in alignment and starting (Figure 6-43).

Figure 6-42. Reaming operations.

Hand Reamers

   Solid hand reamers should be used when a greater accuracy in hole size is required. The cutting action of a hand reamer is performed on the taper (approximately 0.015 per inch) which extends 3/8- to 1/2- inch above the chamfer. This slight taper limits the stock allowance, or metal to be removed by the reamer, from 0.001- to 0.003-inch depending on the size of the reamer. The chamfer aids in aligning and starting the tool, and reamers usually have straight shanks and a square end to fit into an adjustable tap and reamer wrench. A hand reamer should never be chucked into a machine spindle for power reaming. A center may be installed in the drilling machine spindle to align and center the hand reamer. As the reamer is turned by hand into the hole, only a slight pressure is applied to the hand feed lever to keep the center in contact with the reamer and maintain accuracy in alignment.

Figure 6-43. Hand and machines reamers.

Machine Reamer

    Machine reamers can generally be expected to produce good clean holes if used properly. The cutting action of a machine reamer is performed on the chamfer and it will remove small amounts of material. The allowance for machine reamers is generally 1/64 inch for reamers l/2-inch to 1 inch in diameter, a lesser amount for smaller holes, and greater than 1/64-inch for holes over 1 inch. Machine reamers for use on drilling machines or lathes have taper shanks to fit the machine spindle or straight shanks for inserting into a drill chuck. A reamer must run straight and true to produce a smooth finish. The proper cutting fluid for the metal being cut should be used. Generally, the speed used for machine reaming would be approximately one-half that used for the same size drill.

Reaming Operations

    Reamer cutting edges should be sharp and smooth. For accurate sizes, check each reamer with a micrometer prior to use. Never start a reamer on an uneven or rough surface, and never rotate a reamer backwards. Continue to rotate the reamer clockwise, even while withdrawing from the hole. Use just enough feed pressure to keep the reamer feeding into the work. Excessive feed may cause the reamer to dig in and break or grab the workpiece and wrench it from the vise.


    Occasionally a straight and smooth hole is needed which is too large or odd sized for drills or reamers. A boring tool can be inserted into the drilling machine and bore any size hole into which the tool holder will fit. A boring bar with a tool bit installed is used for boring on the larger drilling machines. To bore accurately, the setup must be rigid, machine must be sturdy, and power feed must be used. Boring is not recommended for hand-feed drilling machines. Hand feed is not smooth enough for boring and can be dangerous. The tool bit could catch the workpiece and throw it back at the operator. First, secure the work and drill a hole for the boring bar. Then, insert the boring bar without changing the setup. Use a dial indicator to set the size of bored hole desired by adjusting the tool bit in the boring tool holder; then, set the machine speed and feed. The speed is set at the speed recommended for drilling a hole of the same size. Feed should be light, such as 0.005 to 0.010 inch per revolution. Start the machine and take a light cut. Check the size of the hole and make necessary adjustments. Continue boring with a more rough cut, followed by a smoother finishing cut. When finished, check the hole with an internal measuring device before changing the setup in case any additional cuts are required.

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