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Posted: 4/19/2016 10:16:44 PM EDT
I need to make a set of barrel vise jaws for 0.750" AR barrels, and have a length of 3/4" thick aluminum bar to use....I just need to figure out a way to cut a 0.375" half-moon in each side. I don't have access to a milling machine tonight, best bet I have is a router and decent sized drill press. Here's my idea, cut two pieces of stock 3" long, clamp together in drill press vise, and attempt to drill a 3/4" hole down the split where the two pieces are clamped/joined together, starting with a 1/8" or so pilot hole. Any chance this will work, and the bit will "follow" the split, or is it completely dependent on how square my press and vise are set up?
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:18:02 PM EDT
Will follow split.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:18:44 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:20:08 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By safe1:
Use a jobber length bit and it shouldn't walk. What kind of tolerances are we talking about?
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Just good enough to clamp an AR barrel and index stubborn flash hiders (that are just close enough to not need shims).
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:21:08 PM EDT
$14 online, not worth the hassle
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:22:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:22:55 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By titleiiredneck:
$14 online, not worth the hassle
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Think I can get it delivered tonight?
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:26:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:31:15 PM EDT
I don't think it will work, but it sounds exactly like something I would try to do. Good luck.


I have used an old belt wrapped around a barrel (any thick leather) and slapped it in a vise before to do a muzzle device.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:31:33 PM EDT
Just hit it with a punch first.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:35:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2016 10:36:34 PM EDT by rzrsedge]
I always use a rag or leather around the barrel, but I would think you could make one from wood easier with what you have. I can't say for sure on your idea, could go either way
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:36:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2016 10:41:28 PM EDT by Grunteled]
You sure your drill press is good for a 3/4" drill in AL? I've done 5/8" with a 1/4" pilot hole and that was an experience.

Since you really need this hole to stay straight, my thought would be start with a stout center-drill or spot drill. Follow up with maybe a 1/4 or 3/8" through, or as deep as you can. Take your time, keep chips cleared to get as straight a hole as you can. Finally follow-up with the 3/4" drill. The pilot hole should only be as wide as needed to clear away the material at the point of the larger drill. If you can keep some bevel from the center/spot drill that will help the larger drill stay centered at the critical start of the drilling process.

Jobber drills are freaking noodles if you really watch them. Getting it started straight is most of the battle.



ETA: And WD-40, lots of it.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:38:08 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By rzrsedge:
I always use a rag or leather around the barrel, but I would think you could make one from wood easier with what you have.
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I don't have any hard enough wood, already tried. The wood I have splits with any kind of pressure from the vise, aluminum should stay together...plus, I really want to try making my own set out of aluminum.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:41:16 PM EDT
You sure your drill press is good for a 3/4" drill in AL? I've done 5/8" with a 1/4" pilot hole and that was an experience.
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Drill presses and bits aren't the problem, just making sure everything stays straight is the real issue. Worst case, I can use my mag drill and clamp the aluminum blocks to the top of the bench...it should be a little more rigid.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:43:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2016 10:51:22 PM EDT by sh00ttok1ll]
Do you have access to a table saw? You could cut a shallow saw kerf in both pieces then line up the kerfs together for a nice straight pilot hole. If not, how small of a straight cut bit do you have for the router table? Could do the same thing with it. Aluminum mills just fine with any carbide tipped bits or blades you have.

Edit: The more I think about it you could enlarge the grooves until the are just small enough that your 3/4 bit will hog out a circle. Bit should follow that no problem and it would be nice and straight.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:44:20 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Jason280:


Drill presses and bits aren't the problem, just making sure everything stays straight is the real issue. Worst case, I can use my mag drill and clamp the aluminum blocks to the top of the bench...it should be a little more rigid.
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Originally Posted By Jason280:
You sure your drill press is good for a 3/4" drill in AL? I've done 5/8" with a 1/4" pilot hole and that was an experience.


Drill presses and bits aren't the problem, just making sure everything stays straight is the real issue. Worst case, I can use my mag drill and clamp the aluminum blocks to the top of the bench...it should be a little more rigid.



Then use the best, stiffest spot-drill you can to start the hole and go for it. Just pilot something through to clear out the center. That big drill point is your enemy when shooting for a straight hole.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:45:47 PM EDT
I think I'd mark the hole, mark a center line for the piece, then drill the hole before cutting the pieces, then you have the kerf (thickness) of the blade for allowing pressure onto the barrel when clamping.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 10:46:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2016 10:47:48 PM EDT by USPcompact]
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Originally Posted By AeroE:
I don't know if you'll be able to keep a 1/8th drill from crawling across the joint, but if you can get that hole through okay, the full size hole will be a piece of cake.

I wonder if a light kerf scored in each piece would help keep the drill bit on track.

View Quote


Put fence on router and set it so the bit falls dead center of the stock. Using the smallest bit you have (preferably carbide down cutting bit) route each piece in both directions to form a roughly 1/4" wide by 1/8" groove in each piece (assuming a 1/4" bit). Clamp together and drill.

Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:02:28 PM EDT
With the setup you've got you need to flatten the surfaces in unison so there is no channel for the drill to follow.

Belt sander? File and spare time?
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:18:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2016 11:23:05 PM EDT by Cole2534]
Bolt the halves together, center up, be done.

ETA- use a fresh drill, regardless of size for the pilot. Fresh drills have even grinds and will cut straighter, use one of suitable size.

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Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:26:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/19/2016 11:28:20 PM EDT by YourAlterEgo]
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Originally Posted By Jason280:


I don't have any hard enough wood, already tried. The wood I have splits with any kind of pressure from the vise, aluminum should stay together...plus, I really want to try making my own set out of aluminum.
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Originally Posted By Jason280:
Originally Posted By rzrsedge:
I always use a rag or leather around the barrel, but I would think you could make one from wood easier with what you have.


I don't have any hard enough wood, already tried. The wood I have splits with any kind of pressure from the vise, aluminum should stay together...plus, I really want to try making my own set out of aluminum.



I've always just use a 2"xsomething, unmolested, just the flat pieces. The wood will slightly indent and has held tight.

And no marring
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:47:39 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By USPcompact:


Put fence on router and set it so the bit falls dead center of the stock. Using the smallest bit you have (preferably carbide down cutting bit) route each piece in both directions to form a roughly 1/4" wide by 1/8" groove in each piece (assuming a 1/4" bit). Clamp together and drill.

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Originally Posted By USPcompact:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
I don't know if you'll be able to keep a 1/8th drill from crawling across the joint, but if you can get that hole through okay, the full size hole will be a piece of cake.

I wonder if a light kerf scored in each piece would help keep the drill bit on track.



Put fence on router and set it so the bit falls dead center of the stock. Using the smallest bit you have (preferably carbide down cutting bit) route each piece in both directions to form a roughly 1/4" wide by 1/8" groove in each piece (assuming a 1/4" bit). Clamp together and drill.

If he can drive a 3/4" dia ball mill (carbide), he might be able to use the router to cut the trough. Would definitely need a couple of passes at shallow depth
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:52:04 PM EDT
If you need something super quick, do something similar but with a couple pieces of 2x4.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:54:22 PM EDT
Drill first. Cut second.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:56:50 PM EDT
Cut them after you drill. Even if the cut wanders the two will still fit back together one way.
Link Posted: 4/19/2016 11:58:38 PM EDT
I have a vise you can use in my garage.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:01:16 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Jason280:


Think I can get it delivered tonight?
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Originally Posted By Jason280:
Originally Posted By titleiiredneck:
$14 online, not worth the hassle


Think I can get it delivered tonight?



Some things are better to be done with the right tool. What possible reason would you have to do this tonight vs getting the correct tool for the job. the ZA aint happening tomorrow and Hillary has several month until her coronation.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:03:36 AM EDT
if youve got 2x4 and its too brittle... try cutting a small say 4" long square of it. adding a V shaped notch with chisels 90degrees to the grain if you really need traction. But keeping its grain 90deg to the barrel should help with splitting.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:05:01 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Strizzo:
I think I'd mark the hole, mark a center line for the piece, then drill the hole before cutting the pieces, then you have the kerf (thickness) of the blade for allowing pressure onto the barrel when clamping.
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THIS^^^

Also. Drilling with a 3/4 bit might yield a slightly oversize hole.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:08:50 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Rickesis:
Drill first. Cut second.
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Too easy. Must find challenges.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:17:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/20/2016 12:18:53 AM EDT by Cole2534]
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Originally Posted By Skillshot:

Too easy. Must find challenges.
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Originally Posted By Skillshot:
Originally Posted By Rickesis:
Drill first. Cut second.

Too easy. Must find challenges.

He said he had 3/4" bar to use and that he needs a .750" hole which would be a zero material condition.

EDIT- How are some people insisting he put a .750" hole in 3/4" bar?

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Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:25:45 AM EDT


Get a small piece of type L copper pipe, cut it, put around barrel, clamp barrel in vice, tighten/loosen whatever.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:28:59 AM EDT
Better be setup straight, but I am a pessimist.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:31:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/20/2016 12:31:43 AM EDT by simply_green]
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Originally Posted By Ranxerox911:
If he can drive a 3/4" dia ball mill (carbide), he might be able to use the router to cut the trough. Would definitely need a couple of passes at shallow depth
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Originally Posted By Ranxerox911:
Originally Posted By USPcompact:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
I don't know if you'll be able to keep a 1/8th drill from crawling across the joint, but if you can get that hole through okay, the full size hole will be a piece of cake.

I wonder if a light kerf scored in each piece would help keep the drill bit on track.



Put fence on router and set it so the bit falls dead center of the stock. Using the smallest bit you have (preferably carbide down cutting bit) route each piece in both directions to form a roughly 1/4" wide by 1/8" groove in each piece (assuming a 1/4" bit). Clamp together and drill.

If he can drive a 3/4" dia ball mill (carbide), he might be able to use the router to cut the trough. Would definitely need a couple of passes at shallow depth


I would try this. The trough wouldn't have to be perfect. A rough approximation of the diameter you need would be enough.

Post pics
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:39:50 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By simply_green:


I would try this. The trough wouldn't have to be perfect. A rough approximation of the diameter you need would be enough.

Post pics
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Originally Posted By simply_green:
Originally Posted By Ranxerox911:
Originally Posted By USPcompact:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
I don't know if you'll be able to keep a 1/8th drill from crawling across the joint, but if you can get that hole through okay, the full size hole will be a piece of cake.

I wonder if a light kerf scored in each piece would help keep the drill bit on track.



Put fence on router and set it so the bit falls dead center of the stock. Using the smallest bit you have (preferably carbide down cutting bit) route each piece in both directions to form a roughly 1/4" wide by 1/8" groove in each piece (assuming a 1/4" bit). Clamp together and drill.

If he can drive a 3/4" dia ball mill (carbide), he might be able to use the router to cut the trough. Would definitely need a couple of passes at shallow depth


I would try this. The trough wouldn't have to be perfect. A rough approximation of the diameter you need would be enough.

Post pics


I'm assuming if he had a 3/4" ball mill AND a router suitable to spin it he wouldn't be asking us for suggestions.



Link Posted: 4/20/2016 12:42:31 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Cole2534:

He said he had 3/4" bar to use and that he needs a .750" hole which would be a zero material condition.

EDIT- How are some people insisting he put a .750" hole in 3/4" bar?

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Originally Posted By Cole2534:
Originally Posted By Skillshot:
Originally Posted By Rickesis:
Drill first. Cut second.

Too easy. Must find challenges.

He said he had 3/4" bar to use and that he needs a .750" hole which would be a zero material condition.

EDIT- How are some people insisting he put a .750" hole in 3/4" bar?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile

Two .75 bars in parallel
1.50
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 6:47:59 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By GNRNR:

Two .75 bars in parallel
1.50
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Originally Posted By GNRNR:
Originally Posted By Cole2534:
Originally Posted By Skillshot:
Originally Posted By Rickesis:
Drill first. Cut second.

Too easy. Must find challenges.

He said he had 3/4" bar to use and that he needs a .750" hole which would be a zero material condition.

EDIT- How are some people insisting he put a .750" hole in 3/4" bar?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile

Two .75 bars in parallel
1.50

Exactly. So how would you drill first then cut it?

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Link Posted: 4/20/2016 7:03:22 AM EDT
Lathe. Get one.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 7:24:06 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Cole2534:

He said he had 3/4" bar to use and that he needs a .750" hole which would be a zero material condition.

EDIT- How are some people insisting he put a .750" hole in 3/4" bar?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Cole2534:
Originally Posted By Skillshot:
Originally Posted By Rickesis:
Drill first. Cut second.

Too easy. Must find challenges.

He said he had 3/4" bar to use and that he needs a .750" hole which would be a zero material condition.

EDIT- How are some people insisting he put a .750" hole in 3/4" bar?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile


Did you bump yer head?


Link Posted: 4/20/2016 7:25:37 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By USPcompact:


I'm assuming if he had a 3/4" ball mill AND a router suitable to spin it he wouldn't be asking us for suggestions.



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Originally Posted By USPcompact:
Originally Posted By simply_green:
Originally Posted By Ranxerox911:
Originally Posted By USPcompact:
Originally Posted By AeroE:
I don't know if you'll be able to keep a 1/8th drill from crawling across the joint, but if you can get that hole through okay, the full size hole will be a piece of cake.

I wonder if a light kerf scored in each piece would help keep the drill bit on track.



Put fence on router and set it so the bit falls dead center of the stock. Using the smallest bit you have (preferably carbide down cutting bit) route each piece in both directions to form a roughly 1/4" wide by 1/8" groove in each piece (assuming a 1/4" bit). Clamp together and drill.

If he can drive a 3/4" dia ball mill (carbide), he might be able to use the router to cut the trough. Would definitely need a couple of passes at shallow depth


I would try this. The trough wouldn't have to be perfect. A rough approximation of the diameter you need would be enough.

Post pics


I'm assuming if he had a 3/4" ball mill AND a router suitable to spin it he wouldn't be asking us for suggestions.





OP, please dont use a router.

If the alu sticks to the cutter things are going to get interesting really quick.


Link Posted: 4/20/2016 7:48:44 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:

OP, please dont use a router.

If the alu sticks to the cutter things are going to get interesting really quick.

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No shit?



Link Posted: 4/20/2016 7:50:37 AM EDT
I personally would use wood as mentioned early; less risk to damage on the barrel. The one I bought from Wheeler uses wood and does the job just fine although I'm not sure what kind it uses.

The alternative would be brass for softer metal but that's just my opinion
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 8:03:47 AM EDT
Should have asked before you fucked up and bought the wrong stock.

Drill, split, finish split surfaces is the proper way.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 8:14:07 AM EDT
tag for the broken finger/fucked barrel/other
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 8:17:11 AM EDT
Why not use a couple pieces of composite decking, it seems it may be more resistant to cracking.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 8:22:01 AM EDT
I made a set of barrel blocks years ago doing exactly what the OP suggested. I cut 2 pieces of 1/2" aluminum bar stock, clamped them together, clamped them in my drill press vice and drilled through the seam. It worked fine. I wrap the barrel with a thin piece of leather to avoid aluminum scuffs on the phosphate finish.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 8:29:38 AM EDT
I made one from some scrap wood I had in the garage. It was going to be a one time use thing, but it worked out well enough that I still have it. I wrapped my barrel in one of those rubber disks that are used to open jars.

I'd think your best bet would be to cut the your block in half after you drill. If that's not possible, bolt it together when you drill as previously suggested.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 8:47:01 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By sleepercaprice1:
I made a set of barrel blocks years ago doing exactly what the OP suggested. I cut 2 pieces of 1/2" aluminum bar stock, clamped them together, clamped them in my drill press vice and drilled through the seam. It worked fine. I wrap the barrel with a thin piece of leather to avoid aluminum scuffs on the phosphate finish.
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Did it follow the seam fairly well? I like the idea of using a small strip of leather or rubber to protect the finish, but this will likely require me to drill the hole slightly oversized...have to check and see what sizes I have just over 3/4".

I didn't get a chance to try it out last night, should get to it tomorrow. I have enough stock that I can try a few different methods, kind of interested in seeing how it works out. Either way, it should show me how difficult/easy it is to work with aluminum in this fashion...although, it does sort of motivate me to get a milling machine. Regardless, I should have enough tooling in the shop to make this work one way or the other.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 8:58:53 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Jason280:


Did it follow the seam fairly well? I like the idea of using a small strip of leather or rubber to protect the finish, but this will likely require me to drill the hole slightly oversized...have to check and see what sizes I have just over 3/4".

I didn't get a chance to try it out last night, should get to it tomorrow. I have enough stock that I can try a few different methods, kind of interested in seeing how it works out. Either way, it should show me how difficult/easy it is to work with aluminum in this fashion...although, it does sort of motivate me to get a milling machine. Regardless, I should have enough tooling in the shop to make this work one way or the other.
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Originally Posted By Jason280:
Originally Posted By sleepercaprice1:
I made a set of barrel blocks years ago doing exactly what the OP suggested. I cut 2 pieces of 1/2" aluminum bar stock, clamped them together, clamped them in my drill press vice and drilled through the seam. It worked fine. I wrap the barrel with a thin piece of leather to avoid aluminum scuffs on the phosphate finish.


Did it follow the seam fairly well? I like the idea of using a small strip of leather or rubber to protect the finish, but this will likely require me to drill the hole slightly oversized...have to check and see what sizes I have just over 3/4".

I didn't get a chance to try it out last night, should get to it tomorrow. I have enough stock that I can try a few different methods, kind of interested in seeing how it works out. Either way, it should show me how difficult/easy it is to work with aluminum in this fashion...although, it does sort of motivate me to get a milling machine. Regardless, I should have enough tooling in the shop to make this work one way or the other.

If you mark center with a cold chisel and drill your pilot I don't think it would walk too bad. It ain't a watch.
Link Posted: 4/20/2016 9:13:42 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By USPcompact:


No shit?



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Originally Posted By USPcompact:
Originally Posted By RaisedByWolves:

OP, please dont use a router.

If the alu sticks to the cutter things are going to get interesting really quick.



No shit?





You have to climb cut al but it's fine.


I've used up to 1" bits

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Link Posted: 4/20/2016 9:18:13 PM EDT
Put a thin piece of a softer material between the halves before you drill it. The pilot drill will follow a straight path better which means your 3/4" hole will follow better as well.
Sneak up on it, start with a 1/8", go to a 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8" and then finish up with your 3/4".
When you are taking less of a cut the drill will not want to grab as much.

Here is where the wicked genius is by using the thin piece between the halves: when you are finished and you remove the thin piece the hole you bored will be slightly less than a perfect circle.
You will get much better clamping pressure.

Good luck!
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