If you are drilling a hole through a wall or an even surface, it is usually critical the hole you are drilling is straight. This isn’t always the case of course.
Sometimes you will need to drill to make an angled opening.
On the whole, though, straight holes are the most needed. If a hole is not drilled straight, you could suffer some consequences.
The screw, nail, or other attachment will refuse to go into the hole evenly causing possible damage to your surface and potentially ruining your project.
There are a few ways of drilling straight holes. You can use homemade drill guides but it is recommended you use store-bought tools to get the job done properly.
Drilling precise holes should be easy. Well, it is if you have the right tool. These right tools will drill perfect, perpendicular straight holes. Some drills want to move all over the place the moment you press down to make that hole.
If you are struggling to drill perfectly straight, read on to find our guide on what to do and what tools you’ll need. Drilling straight holes require a slightly different approach depending on the surface you are using.
Whether it’s a horizontal flat surface like a piece of wood or vertical such as a wall, we will go through the various methods. Let’s not wait around.
Drilling Into a Flat Horizontal Surface
Materials you’ll need
- A drill press/handheld drill
- Drill bits
- A small square block of wood
A Handheld Drill
If you are using a handheld drill, there are a few preparations you need to make first. Before you drill into any surface, you need to use your block of wood as a guide.
A quick and easy method for making your perpendicular hole is to hold a square on your workpiece. Then position the top and/or side of your drill’s body up against the square when drilling.
This method works best with a speed square or try square as these both have flat sides to help the square stand up straight.
If you don’t have a square, you can use a block of wood with a square-cut end. Drill a hole into the piece of wood that will be the same size as the one on your surface.
You now need to mark the position on the wall. Simply, line up the wood so that its hole is in line with the mark.
You need to find the appropriate size drill from your drill bits that match up with your desired hole. Guide the drill through the hole in the block of wood and drill into the wall slowly.
There are some drawbacks to this method as not all drill bits are straight on top of their bodies or along their sides. If its body isn’t completely lined up with the square, the drill bit could be at a slight angle.
Nonetheless, most drill bodies are pretty flat and can be adjusted easily enough.
A Drill Press
As we said, there is another tool to use for making dead straight holes.
As with portable drills, you will need to prepare your surface beforehand.
First, you need to find a flat piece of wood or plastic and place it on the surface of the drill. You will use this as a reference for drilling a hole straight through your desired surface.
If you find it hard to keep the wood or plastic in place on top of the drill, you can use some hot glue to attach them together.
Now you have made the reference, you will need to draw a parallel line from the drill bit to remove the block. After this, you will need to cut the block according to the line traced out.
Another option is to use some plywood cut into an ‘L’ shaped stand. This will provide you with a reference point of 90 degrees to your surface creating utter accuracy.
When you have the reference blocks in place, you can make your perfectly straight holes.
The reference blocks will act as support to stop your drill press from moving, unlike relying on your eyes only.
Do you need a quick option for drilling a straight hole right now? You can use some items that you may have lying around to help you as your drilling guides.
As well as a block of wood, you can also use an old CD or a guide attachment. To drill using a CD, place the disk label side down on the workpiece and center it over the hole you want. Set the drill bit into the disk’s hole and position the bit to drill straight down.
For the straightest possible line, consider using a guide attachment for your drill. Like drill presses, these allow you to set the depth of the hole and change the angle if required.
Simply place the attachment and drill over your surface, line it up, and drill straight down.
Mistakes to Avoid
It is important you avoid some mistakes that many people make when going for that perfect straight hole.
Here are some tips for achieving your straight hole.
- Always mark the drilling spot with a pencil or pen. You will know exactly where to drill and where to place your guide.
- Steady your wood, plastic, or metal with a clamp before you start drilling. If the clamp is tight enough, your material won’t start moving around and your straight line won’t be affected.
- Start slowly. Drilling at full speed straight away can be dangerous and can split your reference. Increase your speed at a steady, slow rate to keep your drilling line straight.
- If your material is harder, try lubricating your drill bits. This will help you drill through the harder surface much better.
- When your hole is drilled, ensure it is smooth. Remove any sharp pieces around the hole by setting your drill to low power mode and run it on the outside of the edges.
Drilling a straight hole is possible in various ways. Using a drill press is probably your easiest option but not always the best for you. Other tools can do a great job, even homemade references as we discussed.
You don’t have to rely on store-bought items to get the result you want. Household items like CDs are great options if you haven’t got the time to buy some tools we listed. These will keep your drill in place if you hold them carefully.
If you follow all the necessary precautions, follow strict guidelines, and maintain your tool well, you should be able to drill that perfect hole today.