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Thread: [Woodwind instrument making] Ball post drilling fixture

  1. #1
    Christophe Mineau's Avatar
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    France, Brittany !
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    Christophe Mineau's Tools

    [Woodwind instrument making] Ball post drilling fixture


    I recently showed a tool designed for turning small balls. It is explained here :
    Mini ball lathe tool

    This tool is especially useful for turning ball posts, which are the small pivots used to support the rod of a key on a woodwind musical instrument.

    Here is a batch of nickel silver ball post blanks : (they are quite small, the ball is 4.5 mm in diameter.)

    For supporting the rod, which is actually a long 2mm diameter screw, one ball must be drilled through, 2mm diameter, and the other ball must be tapped M2, so drilled 1.5mm.
    It is quite challenging drilling such small holes through a ball shaped piece, and it is quite critical to keep well centered.

    So I imagined this little fixture for that purpose, which turns out to be very effective.
    Here are all the parts:
    - a main body (out of hex stock)
    - Two small screws, center drilled, and with a conical tip. They will act as drilling bushings to guide the drill bit.
    - A tapped transversal support, that will hold the ball post while being drilled.

    Here you can see how the ball post is hold in place inside the fixture.
    The two screws will guide the drill bit. One is center drilled at 2mm, and the other at 1.5 mm, so the same fixture can be used for the two different sizes required, you just have to revert it upside down.

    Everything assembled, ready for drilling.

    one drop of oil

    And here we go

    What we obtain :

    Perfectly true :

    I can show here an example of what the finished key looks like (on my last instrument) :
    Last edited by Christophe Mineau; 05-04-2018 at 04:04 PM.
    Cheers !
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  2. The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Christophe Mineau For This Useful Post:

    bgerens (05-05-2018), DIYer (05-05-2018), Jon (05-05-2018), NortonDommi (05-07-2018), PJs (05-07-2018), richardcrane (05-05-2018), rossbotics (05-05-2018), Seedtick (05-06-2018)

  3. #2
    Content Editor DIYer's Avatar
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    Aug 2013
    Thanked 621 Times in 562 Posts

    Thanks Christophe Mineau! We've added your Ball Post Drilling Fixture to our Luthiery category,
    as well as to your builder page: Christophe Mineau's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

  4. #3
    rossbotics rossbotics's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
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    rossbotics's Tools
    Beautiful work Christophe

    Comments are always welcome


  5. #4
    ncollar's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Thanked 105 Times in 80 Posts
    Beautiful work, I'd like to see a little bit more of how it is done.
    Very nice work

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