Rock drilling is a technique for making holes in hard materials like rock. The process involves using an abrasive material to remove small chips of the surface area of the workpiece while rotating it at high speed. Rock drill bits are often used to make jewelry pieces. They come in many shapes and sizes depending on what type of hole you want to create or what type of metal you’re going to use as your medium. This blog post will cover all that you need to know about rock drilling for jewelry making!
Different types of drills
A rock drill is a powerful rotary tool that uses an abrasive disc (similar to the sanding discs we use for our bench grinders) and allows us to make holes in rocks. There are two main types of drills: percussion, which works by hammering; and percussive action, which has no hammer function but relies on a high-speed rotation.
Percussion drills are used for big holes and have the advantage of being small, lightweight, and fairly easy to handle. However, they can be very loud – so if you’re drilling in your home studio it may not be worth disturbing neighbors! These types of tools include mallets as well as hammers that make use of a chisel-like bit.
Percussive action drills are better for smaller holes and use a grinding wheel to remove material from the surface. They’re not as loud as percussion drills, but they can be more difficult to control.
The type of drill you choose will depend on the size and shape of the hole you want to create, as well as the type of material you’re working with.
There is also a range of different drill bits available, each designed for a specific purpose. The most common types are:
- Twist drills: these are used to make straight holes and can be used on both metal and wood.
- HSS (high-speed steel) drills: these are used for drilling metal and can be either twist or flat drills.
- Diamond drills: these are used to drill into hard materials like stone and glass.
- Carbide-tipped drills: these are similar to HSS drills, but have a carbide tip which makes them better suited for drilling into harder materials.
Stones to drill
The type of rock you choose will affect how easy it is to drill. If drilling into a hard material, such as granite or marble, then you’ll need a diamond-tipped bit and plenty of patience!
The most important thing to consider when choosing a rock to drill is the hardness of the material. The Mohs scale (developed by Friedrich Mohs in 1812) is a measure of how hard a mineral is, with talc being the softest (rated at a score of one) and diamond being the hardest (rated at a score of ten).
If you’re not sure about how hard a particular mineral is, several online resources can help. The Geology Department at Southern Illinois University has a hardness scale for common minerals, while the British Geological Survey has a list of minerals and their hardness.
If you’re going to be drilling into a particularly hard material, it’s also worth checking the drill bit manufacturers’ recommended speed and pressure for different grades of rock – as these can vary significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer.
- One of the biggest risks when using a power tool is kickback, which occurs when the drill bit jams in your material and then suddenly comes free. This can cause you to lose control of the tool, resulting in injury or damage to nearby objects. To prevent this from happening, ensure that there are no obstructions between where you’re drilling and where you’re standing.
- Never use a drill bit that isn’t designed for the material you want to work with – this can lead to breakage and create safety hazards such as fragmentation or debris being ejected from your material.
- Make sure there’s an emergency stop cord attached so that if something does go wrong, you’ll be able to turn the power off quickly.
- Always wear the appropriate safety gear such as eye protection and ear defenders when using a drill like this one – even if you’re working with relatively soft materials!
How to use a rock drill for jewelry making
Once you’ve chosen the right drill bit and rock, it’s time to start drilling!
The process is pretty simple:
- Start by marking out where you want the hole to be. You can use a ruler or a compass for this – just make sure that your markings are accurate.
- Secure your material in place using clamps or a vice.
- Position the drill bit at the point where you want to start drilling and apply gentle pressure.
- Slowly increase the pressure as you drill, being careful not to put too much force on the drill bit or it could snap.
- Keep an eye on your progress and stop drilling when you reach the desired depth.
- Remove any debris and clean the inside of your hole.
Keep in mind that some drill bits come with a pilot bit at their tip, which can make them more suitable for drilling thin materials. When choosing one of these tools, it’s also worth checking whether the pilot bit is self-drilling – this makes it easier to use as you won’t need a separate drill.
Caring your eqipment
- Clean the drill bit after each use using a soft brush or cloth. This will remove any debris and help to prevent rusting.
- Store the drill bit in a safe place where it won’t get damaged.
- If the drill bit becomes dull, you can sharpen it using a sharpening stone or diamond file.
- Never use an oil-based lubricant on your drill bit as this will cause corrosion. A water-based lubricant is fine to use.
How big can a drill bit be?
Generally speaking, larger diameter bits are used for drilling harder materials. If you're working with softer material, smaller bits will often be suitable – though it's worth checking the manufacturer's recommendations before deciding what size to purchase. For very large holes in hard materials, core drills should also work well. These have a larger diameter than standard drill bits and come with their drilling guide.
Can I use a rock drill to drill through metal?
No, you should not use a rock drill to drill through metal as it is not designed for this purpose. You could try using a hole saw or an angle grinder instead.
What type of material can I work with?
Almost any material can be drilled using a rock drill, though it's important to use the right bit for your chosen substance. Soft materials like stone or ceramic are often suitable without needing to switch bits – but if you're working with metal or wood, make sure that you've selected one of these tools instead.
What are the dangers of using a rock drill?
A rock drill is a powerful tool and can cause injury or damage to nearby objects if used incorrectly. To prevent this, make sure that there are no obstructions between where you're drilling and where you're standing. Never use a drill bit that isn't designed for the material you want to work with. Finally, always wear the appropriate safety gear such as eye protection and ear defenders when using a drill like this one – even if you're working with relatively soft materials!
To conclude, rock drills are not just for geologists and miners. These machines can be used in many different applications to cut through any type of material with ease. Now that you know how versatile these devices are, it’s time to find the right one for your needs! We hope this article has helped answer some questions about what a rock drill is and why they have so many uses outside mining operations – plus we shared some tips on choosing the best stone to drill as well as how to use a rock drill when making jewelry pieces. Ready? Let’s start drilling!
Ready to start? Try drilling a ruby!