Drilling a hole into a rock say for purposes of making jewelry is not rocket science. You only need to get the right protective wear and know how to drill a hole in a large rock to get the desired results. The process is not much different from how you would drill a hole in metal.
While some rocks may have a brittle texture, some will be softer. Whichever your choice of rock, the right drill bit should get the job done in a few minutes. Here you will learn the crucial steps you should not miss when drilling a hole in a rock and some of the important protective gear you will need.
What You Need –
Table of Contents
- What You Need –
- How To Drill a Hole Through a Rock
- Step 1 — Put on protective wear
- Step 2 — Choosing the right rock
- Step 3 — Determining the drill bit use
- Step 4 — Mark the place you wish to drill
- Step 5 — Use clamps to tighten the steel to the working surface
- Step 6 — Roll a small amount of putty
- Step 9 — Cool the diamond drill bit and the stone
- Step 10 — Choosing Drill & Bit
- Step 11 — Lubricate oil on the drill bit
- Step 12 — Position of the drill
- Step 13 — Drill at a Slow Speed
- Step 14 — Finish Up
- Final Words
For you to drill the hole properly, you need to have the right tools and materials. You also need to protect your hands, eyes, and general body from harm. You need good quality protective wear. Besides, you will need to be patient. For drilling, you need the following tools
- The large rock that you will be working on.
- A vise, piece of wood or rubber to hold the rock when drilling.
- Marker pen to mark the point where the drill bit will cut.
- Heavy-duty drill at a different speeds.
- Drill bit to make the hole in the stone.
- Cloth or towel for cleaning debris and water.
- Water in a shallow dish.
- Rotary tool.
- Adjustable chunk to hold drill bits securely.
To protect yourself, make sure you have:
- Rubber gloves for your hands
- Air mask for your nose
- Safety goggles for your eyes
How To Drill a Hole Through a Rock
Rock is among the hardest surfaces to drill into. However, you do not need to call in a professional. Equipped with the tools mentioned above, you can do the job yourself perfectly. Follow the steps described below.
Step 1 — Put on protective wear
cover your nose using air masks, the eyes with safety goggles, and hands with gloves. Some rock pieces might fly off your working space and into your eyes, causing eye problems. Safety goggles prevent this from happening. Pick goggles which are translucent to protect your eyes from harsh light beams.
Step 2 — Choosing the right rock
This may sound as simple as picking any rock that is nearby. Picking the right pebble may make the difference between drilling a hole in an hour and drilling a hole in a few minutes.
When choosing the right rock, go for one that has a solid color, is round and preferably thin, and free from flecks or tan colored pieces. Tan colored pieces could be fling and fleck could be crystals of quartz. These two make drilling a daunting task. The rock should also have a soft texture to make drilling easy. You can quickly and easily find pebbles on the beach, driveway, in the garden, streams, riverbeds, or lakeshores.
Step 3 — Determining the drill bit use
Rocks are materials that can be used for different purposes. The commonest reason for drilling through rock is to make jewelry. Drilled rocks can also make garden sculptures, cabinet knobs, lamp stands, candle holders, and plant holders.
Drills can also be chosen depending on the type of rock, the diameter of the hole required, the rock’s size and texture. To drill rocks masonry bit and rotary hammer drill should do. A masonry bit made of carbide is a good choice too. If you choose to use a hammer drill, make sure the bit is compatible with your drill.
If your choice of rock to drill is limestone, granite, marble, or any other hard rock, a diamond drill bit is the best choice. These bits have diamond tips that grind properly into the hardest rocks you can think of. But you should avoid using a diamond drill bit together with a hammer drill.
The choice of which size of a diamond drill bit to use for drilling will be determined by what you want to use the rock for after drilling. If you are thinking about key rings, hangings, and jewelry works, drill bits ranging from 1.5mm to 3mm will do.
For larger holes, try larger diamond core drills of up to 60mm. If you are drilling for the first time or are not sure which drill bit for rock works best, buy a diamond drill bits set. You will get a variety of drill bits from which you can select which to use.
|Before you start drilling, ensure your workspace is clean and free of clutter. There should also be enough light. Avoid wearing jewelry and loose hair or clothing that may be caught up by the drill. Also, do not connect any electrical appliances in the proximity of the drilling area.|
Step 4 — Mark the place you wish to drill
Use a marker pen to mark the stone on the place you want to drill. You can draw a small circle equivalent to the size of the hole you desire.
Step 5 — Use clamps to tighten the steel to the working surface
Put the stone in the vise to hold in place when you work. Ensure the vise is tight enough, but do not make it so tight as to chip the rock. Put the vise in a water tray such that the vise and the stone are both covered by approximately 1cm of water.
|Clamps prevent accidents, so make sure everything is stiff before drilling.|
Step 6 — Roll a small amount of putty
Roll a small amount of putty in your hands to form a long rope. Then, mold the rope into a circle and fit it fully around the circle you marked on the rock. Place the circle-putty on the face of the stone and press until it has adhered properly.
Step 9 — Cool the diamond drill bit and the stone
Put some water into the circle to cool the diamond drill bit and the stone as you drill.
YouTube Video Credit: seejanedrill
Step 10 — Choosing Drill & Bit
Use a heavy-duty drill with a diamond drill bit or any other of your choice to start drilling. Make sure you get the drill bit size right.
Step 11 — Lubricate oil on the drill bit
Lubricate the drill bit with some oil to keep its temperature down and protect the drill bit from damage.
|Oil lubricates the drill bits and keeps its temperature down, which protects the drill bit from being damaged.|
Step 12 — Position of the drill
Position the tip of the drill in such a way that it is directly above the mark you made on the stone. Lower the tip of the bit down keeping it straight and aligned and let it land on the surface of the rock.
Step 13 — Drill at a Slow Speed
While immersing the stone in water, start drilling slowly by squeezing the drill’s trigger. Allow the bit’s tip to penetrate the rock’s surface and maintain the speed for optimum results. Avoid high drilling speeds at all costs, as this may burn out the drill bit.
|High Speeds Create High Temperature That Causes The Drill Bits To Dull.|
- Put your drill at an angle of about 45 degrees, use the drill to cut the stone. Then, move the drill in a vertical position and continue to drill (remember the speed limit) with very little pressure. Drilling at an angle prevents the drill from sliding across the surface of the stone.
- Occasionally, keep moving the drill up and down to let water in. The water flows in to wash out debris and keep the drill bit cool.
- if you have a stone whose thickness is bigger than the length of your drill bit, you can drill halfway, flip the rock over and drill the other side. The only challenge will be to make sure the entrance and exit of the hole align. You can roll a cotton piece of cloth over the stone and mark both sides of the cloth.
|Some rocks like granite, sandstone, quartzite, basalt, and novaculite will be hard and hence take a lot of time to drill, do not be tempted to increase drill bit speed or pressure. Be patient you will eventually drill through. |
Continue drilling until you come out on the other side of the stone, pausing for a bit as you approach the end. As the stone is large, feel free to drill more than one hole if you need to.
Step 14 — Finish Up
If for instance you drill then later realize the hole is not as wide as you expected, you can always increase by using a diamond twist drill.
You need to dislodge any debris stuck in the core of the drill.
|Use a soft piece of cloth or towel to wipe away any excess lubricant.|
Useful tips to make drilling easy
- Use the right drill bit for rocks (diamond, masonry, or concrete)
- Scratch slippery rock surface before drilling to prevent skittering
- Keep the drill bit and area around the hole wet
- Use a slow speed and minimum pressure
- Always wear protective gear
Sometimes drilling holes through rocks may be hard if you choose the wrong tools. The steps described above are very important on how to drill a hole in a large rock and you should not miss any. As a beginner, it is important to note that you may make some mistakes while drilling, it is acceptable when learning. The next time you want to drill a hole in a large rock, do not call a professional, do it yourself.