Need to drill a straight hole, but don’t have a drill press handy? You are not alone, and there are a few easy methods to help you out.
Some options will need to be bought in a store, but others you can create with materials you have lying around your house. In either case, following one of the methods below will make sure that your project isn’t crooked, that it’s perfectly level and true.
4 Best Methods to Drill Straight Holes Without a Drill Press
Without further ado, let’s get started with the most common methods of getting straight holes drilled.
Method #1: Handmade Drill Guide
You can go into a hardware store and buy a portable drill guide, but why would you when you can make one yourself? You can use wood or metal to create your own. This is an easy way to create a perfect angle.
Take two pieces of either wood or metal and clamp them together. Use a 90-degree angle to make sure the materials are square. Glue the pieces together and let them sit to dry.
For safekeeping, drill a hole in one side and tie a string to it.
Method #2: Drill Bit Guide
A drill bit guide is a great option because it will cause no damage to your drill bits in the process. All you need to do is place the drill bit guide over the spot you are going to drill. Hold the drill firmly with your dominant hand and the drill bit guide with your other hand.
Drill straight down.
Method #3: Drill Block
The drill block is likely the most helpful because it offers holes of different shapes and sizes. This allows different sized drill bits and different drilling angles to be used. You can drill large or small holes and you can drill straight holes at different angles than just straight up and down.
Check this article to see my favorite drill bit guides and blocks.
Method #4: Get Creative
Need an extra quick option for drilling a straight hole without a drill press? You can use some items that may already be in your home, your car, or your shop. CDs and Legos are two popular household items that can be of service to you.
If you have a CD available, place the label side down and center it over where you need to drill the hole. Place your drill bit in the center of the disc’s hole. Looking into the CD, position the drill bit such that it is in a straight line with its reflection.
Start drilling, holding the CD in place, and keeping your eye on the reflection.
Alternatively, you can make a guide out of Lego blocks.
Snap some pieces together to create an L shape. Make sure to check the L against a square object, like a protractor or a wall, to verify the 90-degree angle. Place the Lego creation down where you need to drill. Hold in place until drilling is finished.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
It is important to always mark the spot you want to be drilling with a pencil, pen, or marker. This will help you know exactly where you are supposed to be drilling and where to place the guide you are using.
Additionally, steady your wood or metal with a clamp before drilling. Make sure the clamp is tight, you don’t want your material moving and messing up the straight line while you are drilling. Clamping also provides extra protection for you, the drill is less likely to slip and injure you.
Always start at a slow speed. You don’t want to drill at full speed right away, it can be dangerous and possibly split the wood. Make sure you increase your speed at a slow, steady rate. It will help you keep your drilling line straight.
Similarly, don’t force the drill into the material you are using. Doing so can cause damage to not only your material but your drill as well. Trying to force a drill that isn’t moving can possibly split your material or break your drill bit.
If you are cutting into harder materials, consider lubricating your drill bits. That will help it penetrate the surface of steel or brick or similar much better. Use cutting fluid or a multipurpose oil to minimize friction as you drill.
Also, cool the drill when it gets hot and starts to smell funny. When you take the drill out of the hole, run it at full speed for a few seconds to get air into the drill, cooling down the motor. This is an extra important tip if you are drilling into brick or another kind of thick, dense material.
Finally, when your hole is finished, make sure it is smooth by getting rid of any sharp pieces that may have been left behind. You can do this by using your drill on low power and running it around the outside edges. There are also tools called deburring tools that you can buy or rent to get your holes clean.
Using a drill press may be the easiest way to drill a straight hole, but it is not always the most logical way. There are other tools that are readily available, and even some DIY projects to create your own tool.
The most efficient tools to drill a straight hole are a portable drill guide, a drill bit guide, and a drill block. All of these tools can be bought at a hardware store, but can also be created yourself if you are on a time crunch.
Some household items, such as CDs or even Legos, are also an option if you don’t have the time to make or buy one of the other tools listed. These items will help you maintain a straight hole in a simple way, you just need to hold them in place and drill.
As long as you take precautions, follow your guidelines, and keep your tool safe, you can drill a straight hole without a drill press!