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Thread: Drilling into a billiard ball.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Drilling into a billiard ball.

    Here's a question for all you machinists out there. I'm thinking about making a new ergo handle for my press out of either stainless steel or aluminum and using a billiard ball for the hand grip. What kind of drill bit would you recommend for drilling into the ball? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Pretty much any bit will do. I would drill a hole by chucking it in a lathe- to get the hole perfectly on the ball's axis. Make it big enough to epoxy in a threaded bushing with threads to fit the press handle.

  3. #3
    I agree about the drill bits.

    If you don't have a lathe, I used a plastic funnel - Trimmed it a little bit to fit better, held the big end against the billiard ball and drilled thru the funnel spout into the ball. Worked fine.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master Sonnypie's Avatar
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    If you use a Brad Point bit it will be a LOT easier to do.

    And if you want, Insert a threaded insert.
    That one's brass. Or here is Steel.
    You might also consider these. But screwing it in might bust your balls.

    I tried some racket ball balls.
    They are really nice! Squishy in the hand.
    Darn things got flat trying to drill them.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    This sounds like a neat idea that even someone with little knowledge of machining/woodworking/etc can do... ie: ME!!! -Brad

  6. #6
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    dragonrider's Avatar
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    Drilling a billiard ball is very easy, you can do it in a drill press and be right on center without maeasuring a thing. Clamp a two by four to your drill press table so that it is centered under the spindle. Now using a flat bottom drill such as a Forstner bit about two thirds the size of the ball. Drill a hole deep enough that you can rest the ball in the hole with it touching the bottom, put the ball in the hole and it is magicaly centered under the spindle. You can hold the ball with another two by four with a similar hole and place it on top of the ball and use a couple of bar clamps to clamp the ball in place. Now drill and tap your hole.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Reverend Recoil's Avatar
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    Snooker balls are a little smaller and make a better handle.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Recoil View Post
    Snooker balls are a little smaller and make a better handle.
    they do, but they are usally very hard to come by.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonrider View Post
    Drilling a billiard ball is very easy, you can do it in a drill press and be right on center without maeasuring a thing. Clamp a two by four to your drill press table so that it is centered under the spindle. Now using a flat bottom drill such as a Forstner bit about two thirds the size of the ball. Drill a hole deep enough that you can rest the ball in the hole with it touching the bottom, put the ball in the hole and it is magicaly centered under the spindle. You can hold the ball with another two by four with a similar hole and place it on top of the ball and use a couple of bar clamps to clamp the ball in place. Now drill and tap your hole.
    Say, that's a great idea! I think I'll be doing it like that!

  10. #10
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    What you are doing is already available: 8 Ball Shifter Knob

    Shifter knobs come with the required 1/2" hole and a set screw.

    Most billiard balls are made of Thermoset resin, which is basically a hard plastic/epoxy mixture. So, yes, most any bit will do. I used a 1/2" hole boring bit a few days ago to drill a hole in my new wooden ball for my Lee press. The press was given to me with no ball. I am still considering modifying the handle with a longer shaft and right angle, but, the wooden ball is a quick simple fix at this point. However, I would certainly make every effort to put that pool ball in a vise with wooden blocks, otherwise, it will spin off and get away from you.

    Outside of the DIY project, find a local machine shop that can put it in a tube vise and bore a straight hole for you. Another great idea for handles is a Hurst shifter t handle or something aluminum made by Billet in the custom automotive accessories departments. There's a ton of ideas out there besides a wooden ball.

  11. #11
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    OR. Go to a craft store and choose any of the wood balls they have for crafts. They will drill alot easier than the resin made pool version. After you have drilled and epoxied the threaded insert then paint the ball whatever color or number you want. I have these on my 450 sizers as well as my rock chuckers for the last several years with no breakage of them.Robert

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub tbird1960's Avatar
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    These are available on ebay only they are pool balls, I believe the 8 ball and the 2 ball last time I looked. Saves a lot of hunting and drilling. They are threaded to fit reloading presses.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master beanflip's Avatar
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    Heres a pic of mine
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master kodiak1's Avatar
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    I would go to any truck stop and buy one that is already done.

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    Be nice if it was better, but it could be worse

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Sonnypie's Avatar
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    Yes, yes, yes....
    Buy, buy, buy.....

    But that sure takes the fun out of doin it yourself.

    Tapper handles.
    God Bless America!

    Sittin here watchin the world go round and round...
    Much like a turd in a flushing toilet.

    Shoot for the eyes.
    If they are crawlin away, shoot for the key hole.

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonrider View Post
    Drill a hole deep enough that you can rest the ball in the hole with it touching the bottom, put the ball in the hole and it is magicaly centered under the spindle.
    I think dragon rider missed an "out" in his text. It should be:

    Drill a hole deep enough that you can rest the ball in the hole without it touching the bottom, put the ball in the hole and it is magicaly centered under the spindle.

    If the ball touches the bottom of the hole, it will roll around and not center itself.

    John

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Nice catch John, I type faster than I think.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    2 1/4" is the perfect size.

    Randy
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  19. #19
    Boolit Mold
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    Every 8 ball I've purchased was junk in less than 10 days. Cheep...the ink on the eight balls came right off. The acid in your skin over time. Used as a truck stick shift lever. Returned each of them. Not sure yet, but a real 8 ball with a hole drilled in it should be best. It will also depend on the quality of the ball. Got to find a good quality ball or one that's on the market better than what I've found.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    this is what I use. he makes all kinds.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Confederate-...40930246536%26

    Quote Originally Posted by bigjason6 View Post
    Here's a question for all you machinists out there. I'm thinking about making a new ergo handle for my press out of either stainless steel or aluminum and using a billiard ball for the hand grip. What kind of drill bit would you recommend for drilling into the ball? Thanks!
    Last edited by gandydancer; 04-21-2013 at 01:27 AM.
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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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