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Hole cutting in Liteply

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Flyer12/10/2016 09:42:28
419 forum posts
48 photos

Hi guys,

Just about to commence winter project and am looking for best way to cut holes in 4mm liteply. I seem to recollect that there are cutters out there that should do the job, but am looking for recommendations, as I will be making a lot of holes!!!



bert baker12/10/2016 09:58:25
1128 forum posts
232 photos

I have used the Modelers compas cutters to good effect,, mounted in a small pillar drill.

If you take it slow it works well.

Richard Wood12/10/2016 10:28:44
1063 forum posts
163 photos

For 4mm liteply a hole saw mounted in a pillar drill.
Protect the exit cut with scrap wood to prevent ripping.

Piers Bowlan12/10/2016 10:33:39
1239 forum posts
36 photos

I bought a set of hole saws which I use on ply and would probably be OK on liteply too. Here is a cheap Titan set but there are many brands and sizes available. Go and have a look in a professional tool shop. This might do the job too.

Edited By Piers Bowlan on 12/10/2016 10:36:52

Edited By Piers Bowlan on 12/10/2016 10:37:28

Bob Cotsford12/10/2016 10:42:38
7204 forum posts
406 photos

It's worth keeping an eye on Aldi/Lidl deals, they often have sets of hole saws which cover a wide range of hole sizes and which are well made.

Martyn K12/10/2016 11:03:06
4555 forum posts
3169 photos

I use a flat wood drill (from B&Q)

The trick is mark the wood on one side, get the point through and then start the main cutter until its about half way through the wood.

Then flip the sheet over and finish from the other side using the hole that the point left as a guide. Nice clean cut and crisp edges


Peter Miller12/10/2016 11:43:40
9055 forum posts
1042 photos
10 articles

I use hole saws. The trick is to cut half way through and then turn the wood over. That way you get a perfect exit with no spllnters.

Flyer12/10/2016 11:45:50
419 forum posts
48 photos

Thanks all,

I think I;ll use the hole saws for the larger holes, whilst the flat bits will be used for the smaller holes.



Matt Jones12/10/2016 12:04:41
1186 forum posts
1 photos

Gaskin Softbore is the answer.

John Timmis12/10/2016 12:11:22
211 forum posts
248 photos

Woodworkers Forstner bits are very good. They will cut a flat bottomed hole if necessary. Because the are guided by the outside of the bit you can cut overlapping holes easily. Best used in a pillar drill.

Barrie Dav 212/10/2016 12:17:09
1012 forum posts
14 photos

Flat bits will need to be very sharp to avoid tearing plywood. I have always been disappointed with the spring steel sets too.

Have a look at a set of Forstner bits they are very useful and will cut a perfectly clean hole even in plywood and they will last for years and they are not expensive. Do a Google search to see what they look like.

Geoff Sleath12/10/2016 13:00:48
2604 forum posts
198 photos

As both Martin and Peter said, the secret is to drill from both sides and avoid tearing as the drill/ hole cutter breaks through. I do that with all plywood and is the reason I like to drill all the holes in (say) a firewall before it's glued into the fuselage.


kc12/10/2016 13:10:47
5464 forum posts
161 photos

Use a scrap piece as a backing.

On large holes and especially with pillar drills beware the drill grabbing and rotating the work slashing at anything in it's way. Needs firm clamping or a bar to stop rotation.

( with pillar drills you don't have a hand on the switch like hand held drills! I suppose I had better tell you why I mention this - someone gave me a set of forstner bits as a present, so I popped one into the pillar drill to just try it on an 10inch bit of 2 x1 scrap timber, next thing I knew the wood was rotating around rapidly very near to my arm which was on the down handle. Very difficult to switch off at the drill so to switch off at the mains I had to release the down handle which was even worse as it was then rotating a bit nearer face level. I think statistics show pillar drills cause more accidents than anything even circular saws etc. I don't think I have ever used those forstner bits since...............)

John Timmis12/10/2016 14:12:50
211 forum posts
248 photos

There is nothing wrong with Forster bits. I taught CDT in schools for years. I have a garage full of powerful woodworking machinery.All power tools need to be treated with care & respect.It is essential that the workpiece be held securely either in a vice, with a clamp or by hand. The workpiece must always be held down firmly against the machine table. NEVER let go of the workpiece until the bit is safely out of the hole. Once you let go you are out of control.

John Tee12/10/2016 14:13:29
628 forum posts
55 photos

Never a good idea to use a pillar drill without the material to be drilled being held in some sort of vice. I speak from experience as does KC. there are plenty of drill press vices available. I forget the technical name.


Barrie Dav 212/10/2016 15:10:57
1012 forum posts
14 photos

I completely agree with John Timmis and others who emphasise the need to securely hold material being machined. Common sense I would have thought anyway.

John Timmis12/10/2016 15:14:03
211 forum posts
248 photos

Engage brain before you turn on the machine. Sometimes the work will need to be held in a machine vice, sometimes in a hand vice & sometimes the vice will need to be bolted to the table. Some times the work if of a size, shape & weight that it can be quite safely held by hand. Experience will guide you. The work must always be held firmly down on the machine table. NEVER EVER let go because you will then be out of control. One difficult opperation is drilling large holes in thin metal with a twist drill. As the drill breaks through, the workpiece often tries to screw itself up the drill bit. A vise is essential here.

To get back to the Forster bits. There is no particular problem. They are not inclined to snatch or grab the work. The downward pressure from the drill tends to press the work down until it breaks through. Don't release your hold until the bit is out of the wood. You could always fit a foot operated stop switch to your machine.

Barrie Dav 212/10/2016 15:17:47
1012 forum posts
14 photos


Chris Freeman 312/10/2016 15:20:35
74 forum posts
84 photos

kitfox 315.jpgI still use an old original dremel jigsaw, I hand cut most of the parts for my Scratch built projects. Busy with a 1/4 Tripacer that I cut parts for, I did not want to build the kit that I have as I thought it could be lighterkitfox 317.jpg

Flyer12/10/2016 15:21:08
419 forum posts
48 photos

All valid points, many of which I've forgotten since my A level woodwork days.

Maybe a thread on basic safety in the workshop could be useful?

Familiarity breeds contempt as they say.

And now that there are many affordable power tools out there, we probably all should take a moment to consider the safety aspect before switching on.

Could save a few fingers that are needed for flying !!!

thumbs up

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