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How do I drill a hole in a rock?

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Not a big rock or a big hole but I would like to drill a hole in a rock for a cache idea I have. The rock will be pretty small think 2" across and maybe 1/2" thick. I already tried a concrete bit but it just smoked and made very little progress. The rock will be your standard find it in the parking lot rock. The hole will be 1/16" hole.

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Not a big rock or a big hole but I would like to drill a hole in a rock for a cache idea I have. The rock will be pretty small think 2" across and maybe 1/2" thick. I already tried a concrete bit but it just smoked and made very little progress. The rock will be your standard find it in the parking lot rock. The hole will be 1/16" hole.

Why not try a piece of sandstone, dead easy to put a hole through...

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Not a big rock or a big hole but I would like to drill a hole in a rock for a cache idea I have. The rock will be pretty small think 2" across and maybe 1/2" thick. I already tried a concrete bit but it just smoked and made very little progress. The rock will be your standard find it in the parking lot rock. The hole will be 1/16" hole.

Did you use an impact drill with that concrete bit? Did you use any cutting oil to help cool the bit?

 

Without an impact drill the concrete bit won't get anywhere. The bit is designed to scrape and impact the concrete/rock to create the hole. Since you said the bit was smoking i'll assume you didn't use any cutting oil. Its important you use the oil and don't try to drill to fast. It will take some time to drill a hole into a rock. If the bit starts getting too hot to touch then take a break and let it cool down.

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A diamond coated bit with lots of coolant (water would be ok)

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A hammer drill with a masonry bit should do the trick as long as the rock isn't incredibly hard.

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You didn't say which end you intended to drill, but I don't believe a rotary hammer (impact) drill or a hand rock drill would work on that little 2x1/2" rock. Probably just shatter, since you wouldn't know what it's made of.

Not sure you could find a 1/16 SDS bit anyway.

 

You may be better off taking a rock (bring a couple) to a jeweler who makes their own bead/stone jewelry. Offering to pay for the bit may help.

- Now you're out a few bucks.

If you do it yourself, I'd still stick with jeweler's hollow diamond tip coring bits (buy a few, they wear quick), with a small drill or Dremel.

Take your time, lots of water - and be careful of water and electrical equipment.

There's actually a lot online on making stone jewelry. Might help on what you're attempting to work with.

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They make carbide tip drills that will do the job, but I'm not sure if they make them that small or how expensive they are. the smallest I have used was about a 1/4 inch and the company bought them so I have no idea what they cost

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why not just take a little container and GLUE small pieces of rock and sand to it ?

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Sometimes it is hard not to chuckle...

 

Seriously, power tools of any kind and rocks make for a dangerous situation, if you don't know what your are doing.

 

The proper power tools for working rock/stone are dedicated tools. As such they are fairly expensive, especially if it is for a one-time use.

 

I suggest that you find the rock(s) you wish to use, locate and take them to a rock shop/lapidary, and pay them to do it for you.

Yes, there is a cost involved, but it is cheaper than buying the tools and cheaper than an ER visit. Some injuries cannot be fixed, most notably losing an eye.

 

There is one caveat, some rocks can be worked by hand. Limestone and Pipestone is easy to work (carving it out) with standard tools, the latter is pretty expensive. You will end up killing the tools, but you can replace them from any hardware store. Don't use expensive ones.

Sandstone is iffy (varies greatly), but can also be worked by hand and lots of elbow grease.

 

If you plan on doing a large rock, a hammer and star chisel will work best. Secure the rock, and go at it. Plan on using lots of Ben-Gay®.

 

EDIT to add: Note that some Native American cultures may consider Pipestone as sacred.

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee

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I guess rocks are hard for a reason. ie they don't like to have holes drilled in them. Thank you all for the input. I will consider my options and decide how to proceed. I was thinking it would be cool to attach a cool polished rock to a travel bug for instance. Also as I mentioned earlier I have a cache idea but the whole drilling a hole in a rock seems to be harder than I expected.

 

Thanks again. I will let you know how it turns out.

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I guess rocks are hard for a reason. ie they don't like to have holes drilled in them. Thank you all for the input. I will consider my options and decide how to proceed. I was thinking it would be cool to attach a cool polished rock to a travel bug for instance. Also as I mentioned earlier I have a cache idea but the whole drilling a hole in a rock seems to be harder than I expected.

 

Thanks again. I will let you know how it turns out.

 

PS I found these drill bits for cheap on amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MOI9G6/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=A1FMUOMSDTCB8X

I think I will order them for $4 and see how it goes.

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Having drilled a few holes in rocks, I can say your choice of rock will have the greatest bearing on the difficulty of the project.

For some rocks a special bit will not be needed, but the bit used will be useless (for anything else) afterwards.

For many other rock types a carbide-tipped bit will be needed, but a 'hammer-drill' would be a luxury and not a necessity.

For the hardest stone, a diamond tipped drill will be almost the only way to get a decent hole in a reasonable amount of time. (water dripping on the same spot on a rock WILL eventually cut a hole through it, but we will not be around to see the final results) ;)

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Put some sand in a pot. Push a rock of the size you want into the sand to create a mould. Then mix up a bit of cement/mortar/concrete, pour it into the mould, press a 'container' of some sort into the concrete and let it dry. Voila... instant fake rock with hole.

 

Chris

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