Drilling 0.005" hole
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    Default Drilling 0.005" hole

    I'm getting into fiber optics and would like to make a ferrule with a 125 micron hole (0.005" or so) for coupling the fibers. Once secured in the ferrules the fiber will be cut and lapped flush, and mated to an emitter or detector. The ferrule itself is drilled out in the back to fit a rubber bushing that squeezes the fiber in place when a collar secures the ferrule. So the actual portion that the tiny hole needs to be drilled through can be very thin.

    I have no experience drilling holes this small and am not sure if it can even be done with a regular mill or lathe or even what approach to take.

    The reasoning for wanting to make these instead of buying regular fiber connectors is primarily size and somewhat cost, since I am trying to couple fibers on a 0.1" spaced array.

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    A "sensitive drill chuck" Sensitive Drill Feed | 1/8" Keyless Drill Chuck - LittleMachineShop.com

    may help, especially if you take the time to clock the chuck within the 1/2" machine collet to get best runnout. Use short carbide or cobalt drills, use a microscope with good illumination to watch the drill tip to ensure it itself is running true.

    McMaster-Carr

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    are talking about drilling ceramic ferrule material?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkd View Post
    are talking about drilling ceramic ferrule material?
    Sorry, forgot to specify that. These would be aluminum or stainless.

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    I was drilling some holes that size with a linear drive mill using a nice plated twist drill. Machine looked to be vibrating doing all those 4500 holes per cycle. Not sure, but laser might be a possibility.

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    I have drilled .010 holes in 1018 using my Hamilton sensitive DP. Max RPM 3800 or so.

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    Aluminum is going to be way easier than stainless if it works for you.

    How deep do you need to go? Is straightness important?


    I think .007” is the smallest I have done personally on manual equipment. At this small, I just rely on the DRO. The enemy as you get deep tends to be chips loading the flutes. Peck drill and watch the flutes under magnification on retract. Figure out the peck depth you can run without packing the flutes. Then just watch the DRO, pay attention to where you are so you don’t “crash” into the cut. As you get deep, I might check that the drill is clean on every retract. It’s slow going, but not too bad in aluminum. Run 7075 or similar if you can as the chips are much nicer.

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    Default how to drill .005 daimeter hole

    Quote Originally Posted by Strostkovy View Post
    I'm getting into fiber optics and would like to make a ferrule with a 125 micron hole (0.005" or so) for coupling the fibers. Once secured in the ferrules the fiber will be cut and lapped flush, and mated to an emitter or detector. The ferrule itself is drilled out in the back to fit a rubber bushing that squeezes the fiber in place when a collar secures the ferrule. So the actual portion that the tiny hole needs to be drilled through can be very thin.

    I have no experience drilling holes this small and am not sure if it can even be done with a regular mill or lathe or even what approach to take.

    The reasoning for wanting to make these instead of buying regular fiber connectors is primarily size and somewhat cost, since I am trying to couple fibers on a 0.1" spaced array.
    Could this be done with Laser or EDM? I have done some fine parts using EDM for a Plainer Triode Electron Tube with wagon wheel and ,005 spokes. It was so small you couldn't see to wheel spokes without an eye piece.
    Its a whole different ball game with a hole this small.

    All The best
    Roger

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    Quote Originally Posted by newtonsapple View Post
    Aluminum is going to be way easier than stainless if it works for you.

    How deep do you need to go? Is straightness important?


    I think .007” is the smallest I have done personally on manual equipment. At this small, I just rely on the DRO. The enemy as you get deep tends to be chips loading the flutes. Peck drill and watch the flutes under magnification on retract. Figure out the peck depth you can run without packing the flutes. Then just watch the DRO, pay attention to where you are so you don’t “crash” into the cut. As you get deep, I might check that the drill is clean on every retract. It’s slow going, but not too bad in aluminum. Run 7075 or similar if you can as the chips are much nicer.
    Straightness only needs to be so so. I would like to use aluminum but I don't know if I can lap the fiber flush to it without contaminating the fiber. I do know stainless is no problem.

    I will actually be using a CNC mill for this. Depth can be very minimal, as I will be drilling out the backside. I think I would probably drill the back first, flip the part, face mill it, and then drill the tiny hole. That should let me keep the wall thickness to drill through the smallest it can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogertoolmaker View Post
    Could this be done with Laser or EDM? I have done some fine parts using EDM for a Plainer Triode Electron Tube with wagon wheel and ,005 spokes. It was so small you couldn't see to wheel spokes without an eye piece.
    Its a whole different ball game with a hole this small.

    All The best
    Roger
    I could farm it out if I need to. I just don't have a perspective of dimensions in this range so I'm not sure what approach to take, though this thread has certainly helped.

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    If this is cnc don't fret over not having a million rpm, the surface speed at these small diameters is less important than chipload. A spot drill would be helpful, and in stainless at this diameter I would shoot for a chipload of 0.0015mm to start. Depending on your drills and the alloy (and batch) you might need to go up to avoid workhardening or down to avoid premature breakage.

    Avoid chip packing as above, and if stainless be careful of dwelling at the start of or leaving a peck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Screwmachine View Post
    If this is cnc don't fret over not having a million rpm, the surface speed at these small diameters is less important than chipload. A spot drill would be helpful, and in stainless at this diameter I would shoot for a chipload of 0.0015mm to start. Depending on your drills and the alloy (and batch) you might need to go up to avoid workhardening or down to avoid premature breakage.

    Avoid chip packing as above, and if stainless be careful of dwelling at the start of or leaving a peck.
    How large of a spot size would be needed? I'm hoping it could be maybe 0.003" wide so I don't have much chamfer at the entry. The exit doesn't matter at all, but sharp, clean corners on the entry are ideal.

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    Hi Strostkovy:
    You will not get a clean entry: with an 0.005" drill no matter what you do...you can get it "pretty good" but that's a relative term.
    To center pop a hole like that, I just make a HSS point and center punch with it on the CNC...no need to rotate the point for such a small dimple.
    You have the best chance to get it where you want it and get it the correct diameter by punching with a stationary point, and HSS is better so you don't fracture off the tip and leave it behind in a dimple somewhere.

    If you are free to pick your steel...I would use 303 stainless or Leadloy if you can.
    Don't use something awful to drill like 304 or 17-4 PH.

    Another thought: what is the minimum thickness the material needs to be in order to support the fiberoptic fiber properly with a parallel sided 0.005" hole?
    I ask because if the answer is "Zero", you could theoretically take say a 20 degree pointed cutter and poke it through from the back so you end up with a tapered hole that's the correct diameter at the tip.
    You could also drill everything from the back, including the 0.005" hole and then deal with the exit bur on the face of your part.

    Best way to do that is to wire or sinker EDM the face of the part...you just need to kiss it.
    Lapping or grinding the face to get rid of the bur just pushes it into the hole.

    If you can put the fiber in before you worry abut the bur, you can, of course, just lap it all together.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post
    Hi Strostkovy:
    You will not get a clean entry: with an 0.005" drill no matter what you do...you can get it "pretty good" but that's a relative term.
    To center pop a hole like that, I just make a HSS point and center punch with it on the CNC...no need to rotate the point for such a small dimple.
    You have the best chance to get it where you want it and get it the correct diameter by punching with a stationary point, and HSS is better so you don't fracture off the tip and leave it behind in a dimple somewhere.

    If you are free to pick your steel...I would use 303 stainless or Leadloy if you can.
    Don't use something awful to drill like 304 or 17-4 PH.

    Another thought: what is the minimum thickness the material needs to be in order to support the fiberoptic fiber properly with a parallel sided 0.005" hole?
    I ask because if the answer is "Zero", you could theoretically take say a 20 degree pointed cutter and poke it through from the back so you end up with a tapered hole that's the correct diameter at the tip.
    You could also drill everything from the back, including the 0.005" hole and then deal with the exit bur on the face of your part.

    Best way to do that is to wire or sinker EDM the face of the part...you just need to kiss it.
    Lapping or grinding the face to get rid of the bur just pushes it into the hole.

    If you can put the fiber in before you worry abut the bur, you can, of course, just lap it all together.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
    I don't have a hard spec on exactly how clean the hole needs to be. I suppose clean enough that I can cleave and lap the fiber without breaking it off below the surface.

    The minimum thickness is very near zero, but a nonparallel edge would be likely to damage the fiber. I'm thinking 0.01" would be ideal, 0.005" would be okay for depth.

    I do already have a drilling operation from the back, so it wouldn't be a big deal to do it that way. The clearance drill coming from the back has a 90 degree point though to leave room for a collar that secures the ferrule.

    I can use whatever material I choose. I would like to use aluminum, but have concerns about its suitability. The tips on alloys are certainly appreciated.

    The entire ferrule is only 1/8" long and 1/16" in diameter, so I may just farm that and the retaining cap to someone with more suitable machinery. We'll see.


    My approach to securing the fiber is to use a heat shrink gland that the the ferrule slips over, which is then compressed against the connector housing by a retaining cap. Everything has to be tiny because these connectors are arranged in a 4x6 array on 0.15" centers. Along with the retaining mechanism, ball lenses, connector housing, backplane etc this is turning into quite the project.

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