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How to make a hollow bolt?


wenestvedt
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Is there any alternative to a drill press if I want to make a hollow bolt cache?

 

If I switch over to using a cast resin, I suppose I could make a casting and paint it silver, right?

 

Are there HOWTOs anywhere online for this?

 

Thanks for any advice or URLs.

 

- Will

 

If you have a standard drill (as opposed to a press) then you could just bolt the bolt to something for stability and drill away...

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Calculate time and effort, you may find it's cheaper to buy one.

 

My personal time, spent on myself or things I enjoy, is free yet priceless.

 

People say "calculate the time you spent....blah blah blah....." but what would you be doing with the time otherwise? Now, if it were a choice between drilling a bolt or having intimate relations with another person, I could see the issue. But if its between drilling a bolt and watching reruns of Threes Company....well the bolt is the wiser choice.

Edited by bittsen
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I did create a cache like this, a 1" diameter bolt from a railway sleeper/chair and I put a 1/2" diameter 1" long hole in it. Went through two drill bits that cost me about £16 I recall! But it made a great cache until it got muggled and I had to recreate another one. That eventually got muggled so at that point the cache was archived!

 

Have fun. I've drilled a safe open after someone forgot the combination..... that was a fun job. Took about 4 hours and several seriously expensive drill bits. It was perfectly legal I hasten to add :lol:

 

Chris (MrB)

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Is there any alternative to a drill press if I want to make a hollow bolt cache?
Use the drill press and save some pain.

 

OK, so that's out.

 

Start with what you KNOW to be a soft steel bolt. The seriously hardened stuff with the nasty hard SAE marking on top isn't a good plan.

 

Got a vise? Got anything large and sturdy/heavy enough to hold the bolt? Drill a pilot hole of 3/32" or 1/8" to the depth you will need. Pay attention to keeping your drill in line with the bolt. Nice if you have someone to spot you sideways while you're looking down. Now come back with the larger bit to complete the job. Actually, I'd do that with the drill press OR the hand drill.

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Hollow out a bolt? Funny you should ask. Here's a little something I have in my garage- and yes, that thing you see on the left front is a hollowed out magnetic cache container. :lol:

6909021.th.jpg

Click on the picture to embiggen it.

I am officially jealous!!

 

Once I made an aluminum urn that would have been awesome for a cache container.

I miss having a metal lathe at my disposal.

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Yup... When I grow up... I want one of THEM!!!!

 

I've made a number of bolt caches and have yet to use a drill press. I pretty much do as has been desribed above:

 

Put the bolt in a vice

Drill a small pilot hole as straight as possible along the centre of the shaft.

Then drill again with a thicker diameter. I tend to repeat this last stage about 3 times... Makes it a bit easier and you can stop early if you're too close to the edges...

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Hollow out a bolt? Funny you should ask. Here's a little something I have in my garage- and yes, that thing you see on the left front is a hollowed out magnetic cache container. :laughing:

6909021.th.jpg

Click on the picture to embiggen it.

 

Great. Where were you when I suggested someone with a lathe could make replacement pins for ammo cans? And everyone laughed at me like I was some of whack job. :)

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Hollow out a bolt? Funny you should ask. Here's a little something I have in my garage- and yes, that thing you see on the left front is a hollowed out magnetic cache container. :laughing:

6909021.th.jpg

Click on the picture to embiggen it.

 

Great. Where were you when I suggested someone with a lathe could make replacement pins for ammo cans? And everyone laughed at me like I was some of whack job. :)

He probably would have also metioned that making a nail with a lathe is an inefficient use of time.

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Hollow out a bolt? Funny you should ask. Here's a little something I have in my garage- and yes, that thing you see on the left front is a hollowed out magnetic cache container. :laughing:

6909021.th.jpg

Click on the picture to embiggen it.

 

Great. Where were you when I suggested someone with a lathe could make replacement pins for ammo cans? And everyone laughed at me like I was some of whack job. :)

He probably would have also metioned that making a nail with a lathe is an inefficient use of time.

 

I bet if you were to stop by a machine shop with a bolt and ask them to drill it out for you, most places would do it for free. If you grabbed a regular low-quality bolt like the typical grade 5 stuff from the hardware stores they could drill it out for you in a few minutes. If you're a guy give them the "I dont have much cash but...", or if you're a woman just show up :laughing: People are usually pretty accomodating.

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Hey, i never thought of asking for help! (Sometimes I am dense.)

 

I bet my dad has a drill press -- I know I don't. And somehow I doubt this would be the argument that convinces my wife it's time for me to get one!

 

Hmmmm, now to think about who I know has the Right Tool For The Job. Thanks for the idea. :7)

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Is there any alternative to a drill press if I want to make a hollow bolt cache?
Use the drill press and save some pain.

 

OK, so that's out.

 

Start with what you KNOW to be a soft steel bolt. The seriously hardened stuff with the nasty hard SAE marking on top isn't a good plan.

 

Got a vise? Got anything large and sturdy/heavy enough to hold the bolt? Drill a pilot hole of 3/32" or 1/8" to the depth you will need. Pay attention to keeping your drill in line with the bolt. Nice if you have someone to spot you sideways while you're looking down. Now come back with the larger bit to complete the job. Actually, I'd do that with the drill press OR the hand drill.

 

A vise??? Yeah...I drink way too much! :)

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Hollow out a bolt? Funny you should ask. Here's a little something I have in my garage- and yes, that thing you see on the left front is a hollowed out magnetic cache container. :laughing:

6909021.th.jpg

Click on the picture to embiggen it.

 

Great. Where were you when I suggested someone with a lathe could make replacement pins for ammo cans? And everyone laughed at me like I was some of whack job. :)

He probably would have also metioned that making a nail with a lathe is an inefficient use of time.

 

I bet if you were to stop by a machine shop with a bolt and ask them to drill it out for you, most places would do it for free. If you grabbed a regular low-quality bolt like the typical grade 5 stuff from the hardware stores they could drill it out for you in a few minutes. If you're a guy give them the "I dont have much cash but...", or if you're a woman just show up :laughing: People are usually pretty accomodating.

 

I did that for a wheel-bearing that needed to be pressed with precision. The guy spent his lunch hour on it, and refused to accept money because it was "fun to be doing something different for once." So that Friday I bought the shop donuts and coffee.

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Hollow out a bolt? Funny you should ask. Here's a little something I have in my garage- and yes, that thing you see on the left front is a hollowed out magnetic cache container. :laughing:

6909021.th.jpg

Click on the picture to embiggen it.

 

Great. Where were you when I suggested someone with a lathe could make replacement pins for ammo cans? And everyone laughed at me like I was some of whack job. :)

He probably would have also metioned that making a nail with a lathe is an inefficient use of time.

 

OK, smart Aleck. :laughing: We'll just tell the U.S. military that they shouldn't use precision machined parts in their ammo boxes, and should just buy $1 a pound nails at the hardware store, and cut them up with hacksaws.

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Is there any alternative to a drill press if I want to make a hollow bolt cache?

 

If I switch over to using a cast resin, I suppose I could make a casting and paint it silver, right?

 

Are there HOWTOs anywhere online for this?

 

Thanks for any advice or URLs.

 

- Will

 

I will answer a different question. If you plan to make one, you might better plan to make 3. Last year, I found

a well crafted hollow bolt that had popped out of an unused hole on the side of a bridge (the intended cache site)

and had rolled 15 ft down a steep embankment. Lucky find. Bridges vibrate, some geo-chachers have fumble fingers and teenagers will be teenagers.

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If I switch over to using a cast resin, I suppose I could make a casting and paint it silver, right?

If you're going to be painting anyway, there is plastic threaded hardware, some hollow.

 

You can also thread metal tubing (like the previously mentioned threaded lamp rod), same size as the bridge you intend to put it on has, and either screw a nut on the end, or glue an actual bolt head on it.

 

I haven't tried any of this yet, having not turned to the Dark Side. Or if I have turned, I've been too lazy to do anything about it.

Edited by kunarion
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Hollow out a bolt? Funny you should ask. Here's a little something I have in my garage- and yes, that thing you see on the left front is a hollowed out magnetic cache container. :o

6909021.th.jpg

Click on the picture to embiggen it.

 

Great. Where were you when I suggested someone with a lathe could make replacement pins for ammo cans? And everyone laughed at me like I was some of whack job. :anibad:

He probably would have also metioned that making a nail with a lathe is an inefficient use of time.

 

OK, smart Aleck. :D We'll just tell the U.S. military that they shouldn't use precision machined parts in their ammo boxes, and should just buy $1 a pound nails at the hardware store, and cut them up with hacksaws.

If I was really a smart alec, I would mention that the company who makes the cans for the military likely doesn't turn the pins individually. (Actually, it's unlikely that the pins are 'turned', at all.)

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I have a metal lathe that I use for my fly rod making. I've hollowed out two bolts and can say that it was a royal pain. The steel is so hard it screamed and smoked until I thought I'd blow something up. I obviously wasn't using carbide bits! I'm used to working with nickel silver and aluminum so that was probably my first and last effort at working with hardened steel bolts. Took me a whole evening of work to hollow out the bolt the way I wanted and the cache got muggled within a week. :anibad:

 

I've tried to come up with some other ideas that I could use the metal lathe for, but I'm far from a machinist. I have no formal training...just feel my way through stuff. The engineers who created the "Gadgets of Deckers Creek" GC1M90Y used metal lathes and milling machines to create some of the cache stages in that one that just blew me away.

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I have a metal lathe that I use for my fly rod making. I've hollowed out two bolts and can say that it was a royal pain. The steel is so hard it screamed and smoked until I thought I'd blow something up.
As I noted earlier, it really IS important that you start with a bolt made of a softer steel. "How different could they be?" you might ask. LOTS different, I would reply. Check this chart and compare it to anything you plan to machine for a cache. It makes identifying them faster at the hardware store.

 

http://www.americanfastener.com/technical/...kings_steel.asp

 

Stick with an el-cheapo bolt of unhardened B8 -- or better yet, ungraded spec. You'll find your tools holding up a lot better. Best choice would be at an Ace/Lowe's/Home Depot and a bolt with no marking on the head at all.

 

And BTW, you don't want to see smoke while you're machining these things. That's a quick way to start replacing expensive tool parts. Lower speeds, machine oil, water, ANYTHING you can do will help.

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I have a metal lathe that I use for my fly rod making. I've hollowed out two bolts and can say that it was a royal pain. The steel is so hard it screamed and smoked until I thought I'd blow something up.
As I noted earlier, it really IS important that you start with a bolt made of a softer steel. "How different could they be?" you might ask. LOTS different, I would reply. Check this chart and compare it to anything you plan to machine for a cache. It makes identifying them faster at the hardware store.

 

http://www.americanfastener.com/technical/...kings_steel.asp

 

Stick with an el-cheapo bolt of unhardened B8 -- or better yet, ungraded spec. You'll find your tools holding up a lot better. Best choice would be at an Ace/Lowe's/Home Depot and a bolt with no marking on the head at all.

 

And BTW, you don't want to see smoke while you're machining these things. That's a quick way to start replacing expensive tool parts. Lower speeds, machine oil, water, ANYTHING you can do will help.

I second the use of a lubricant. Cutting oil is best to use but I just use olive oil most times since I do the majority of my projects on my kitchenette table and the olive oil is handy. It actually works great.

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How about sawing a big bolt in two and screwing the two pieces slightly into a nut. Leaving a hollow spot in the nut.
Too hard to get enough vacant area in the middle to even hold a nano and still have the nut grabbing onto enough thread to hold. I cut the end off a bolt (save the piece), then bore the bolt, toss in a plastic "nanotube" (like come inside your typical bullet). Add some glue to the bolt end and thread it about 1/2 way into the nut. When it's dry, spin the glued end/nut combination onto the bolt with the nanotube in it.
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I did create a cache like this, a 1" diameter bolt from a railway sleeper/chair and I put a 1/2" diameter 1" long hole in it. Went through two drill bits that cost me about £16 I recall! But it made a great cache until it got muggled and I had to recreate another one. That eventually got muggled so at that point the cache was archived!

 

Have fun. I've drilled a safe open after someone forgot the combination..... that was a fun job. Took about 4 hours and several seriously expensive drill bits. It was perfectly legal I hasten to add :)

 

Chris (MrB)

 

if having problems with hardened bolt you could heat he up till glowing red and allow to call down slowly which will soften the metal...

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I did create a cache like this, a 1" diameter bolt from a railway sleeper/chair and I put a 1/2" diameter 1" long hole in it. Went through two drill bits that cost me about £16 I recall! But it made a great cache until it got muggled and I had to recreate another one. That eventually got muggled so at that point the cache was archived!

 

Have fun. I've drilled a safe open after someone forgot the combination..... that was a fun job. Took about 4 hours and several seriously expensive drill bits. It was perfectly legal I hasten to add :D

 

Chris (MrB)

 

if having problems with hardened bolt you could heat he up till glowing red and allow to call down slowly which will soften the metal...

 

Would that be 867-5309 or BR-549? :blink:

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Here's one I did.

39d34a94-94b9-4fca-99b2-953589ebc986.jpg

I cut 1/2" of the end of the bolt with a hacksaw and epoxied it into the end of the nut and inserted an o-ring for sealing purposes. I also ground the end of the bolt flat to assure a good seal.

7bf9d49f-377e-449b-9281-9f263b34f2bc.jpg

Our best to you,

smiley and the Miss...out wandering around...

aeecc46d-4a98-4f22-81fb-519361800b3e.jpg

 

VERY nice job!! Its a shame, in my opinion, that you can now buy caches like that on eBay, but I guess those that have been at this for longer than I have will feel shame for things that I consider normal. Still, my hat is off to you for doing your own work, and a good job of it!!!

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VERY nice job!! Its a shame, in my opinion, that you can now buy caches like that on eBay, but I guess those that have been at this for longer than I have will feel shame for things that I consider normal. Still, my hat is off to you for doing your own work, and a good job of it!!!

 

I've been looking for a hollow bolt just like this for a couple of weeks now!!! I can't find one on ebay at all, can you help? Alternatively, I'd be willing to but one off anyone better with stuff like this than me!

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Yup, fixing the bolt down and drilling in stages is the way to go, but I have three points to add.

#1. Do not rush it, if you think it is going along at a nice rate then you are probably going to fast.

#2. Lubrication is a good idea, it will help your drill bits last longer and helps

#3. Keep it cool, constant applications of lube will help keep it cool but will also alert you to when things are getting hot so you can stop and walk away

 

Not only will it reduce mistakes and improve the quality of your finished product but it increase safety.

 

 

~~~edit~~~

I should have taken the time to read the posts rather than scan them.

Edited by Vater_Araignee
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Is there any alternative to a drill press if I want to make a hollow bolt cache?

 

If I switch over to using a cast resin, I suppose I could make a casting and paint it silver, right?

 

Are there HOWTOs anywhere online for this?

 

Thanks for any advice or URLs.

 

- Will

 

If you have a standard drill (as opposed to a press) then you could just bolt the bolt to something for stability and drill away...

 

This is probably not the best idea.

 

And, drilling a safe is not a good idea either. However, you'd be amazed at what an angle-grinder with a cabide cutoff wheel will do ...

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