Mild Steel Layout Using Center Drill in CNC

I wanted to share a new use I found for the Onefinity. While fabricating a drill press fixture table, I needed an accurate means to layout the 5/8" fixture holes which are positioned on a 2" grid pattern. I decided to try using my X50 with a 1/4" center drill to very lightly mark the 3/4" steel plate. Even though I couldn’t slow the router to anywhere close to the desired speed for center drilling, I figured if I only drilled to just a few thousandths of an inch at a time, it likely wouldn’t be an issue. I first zeroed the center drill off the highest section of the plate. Then I ran the tool-path multiple times, increasing drilling depth by just a few thousandths on each pass until the center drill marks were deep enough to position the annular cutter which would drill the actual holes. Due to the very light drilling depth, I didn’t bother with any coolant or lubricant. It worked fine with no drama, no damage to the center drill, and with a much higher accuracy than I would have ever achieved with a manual layout.

1/4" Center Drill in Router

Plate with Center Drilling Completed

Close-up of Center Drill Mark

Completed Fixture Table


Definitely an “off label use” for a high rpm, low torque woodworking-oriented CNC machine, but that’s a pretty neat idea. Thanks for posting.

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Very creative. Thanks for sharing. Saving for future use.

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cool idea! i love seeing the ingenuity from people here, thanks for sharing! glad it worked well! the end result looks great!

for others not brave enough to use a center-drill in this manner, other ideas like using the onefinity with a sharpie marker, or maybe chucking up one of those spring loaded center-punches come to mind. or even a diamond drag bit to mark X on the hole centers.