I’m happy to hear most of our older members have been fully vaccinated, and starting to return to the field. My dad was fully vaccinated as of last week, and I immediately took the opportunity to visit him so we can finish building my 89″ MXS-R together. He’s quite the handyman, and we used a vintage drill press frame that he mounted a hand drill to, complete with a variable drill speed controlled with a wall switch dimmer, and a switch to automatically turn on the drill when the press comes down. Worked like a charm for drilling the four holes in my 24″ Mejzlick prop.
Editor’s Safety Note: In the above picture we see Quan’s Dad using a drill press to drill the 4mm bolt holes in a carbon prop. Drilling carbon is not inherently more dangerous than drilling wood. As with drilling anything, there is a chance the drill will become stuck and want to rotate the thing being drilled. If this thing is a prop then you could have something with sharp edges spinning around. That could cut you very badly. Be extremely careful when drilling a carbon or wood prop.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, do not use a power drill of any kind to drill out any type of plastic prop!!!! If you have tried this you will know that conventional drill bits love to bite into plastic and drive themselves completely through the prop in an instant. The drill grabs hold of the prop and spins it with the power of the drill. This is true wether you are using a drill press or a hand drill. At a minimum the prop will be ruined. If you are holding the prop with your hand you could be lacerated badly. I have personal knowledge: years ago I tried drilling out an APC prop with my drill press. The prop was in a 5 lb drill press vise (not attached to the table). As soon as the spinning drill bit made contact with the plastic it screwed itself all the way through the prop hub and lifted the prop and vise to the top of the drill bit against the chuck. Then it began to spin around. Had my hand been in the way . . . I don’t want to think about it. Lesson learned!
I found that opening a hole in a plastic prop is safer if you clamp the drill bit in a bench vise pointing straight up. Then using your hands rotate the prop manually around the bit. If the prop is sharp wrap it in tape. This takes a while but it is safe and works very nicely.