Case Studies

AutoDrill Case Studies

Sometimes Simple is Simply Better

Often, potential customers call us with needs that we can meet in multiple ways…

A few weeks ago, a customer called and asked about drilling a single hole, over and over again into a soft piece of wood. They wanted an AutoDrill “no stroke” drilling unit so that they could mount it to a table top and manually feed the wooden part into the spinning tool. They would run this system for hours a day and the volume would depend on just how fast their “staff team member” could feed the parts. That poor employee must have become the most bored to death…  Er…  Ahem…  Wrong direction.

After talking to the customer for about five minutes, we realized that the holes were small enough, and the tolerances “loose” enough that they essentially just needed a reliable way to spin a drill “bit” for hours a day. They would provide a guard that moved with the work piece so that the user couldn’t drill a hole in their hand (important!) as well as a way to evacuate the wood chips from the table top surface.

Other competitors on the market would have offered them a non-stroking drill that was similar to their full featured models at a slightly discounted costs (this is how people in our industry get rid of parts that don’t fit, etc!) The AutoDrill salesman was honest enough to admit that this was his first thought too.  …But then he remembered making a similar custom set-up for another customer a few years ago.

Here is what we ultimately offered this new customer:

Motor Mounted Chuck

Motor Mounted Chuck

  • A custom ER style chuck  to mount onto the keyed 5/8″ motor shaft (less than $250)
  • A simple three phase motor with a mounting base (provided by customer). Easily replaceable by the customer and certainly an industry standard item. (The item above is a sample photo and not the actual unit)

Total solution cost from AutoDrill?  Well…  You can do the math. We saved the customer a lot of money!

Sometimes simple is simply better!

Please CONTACT US to discuss your application and receive prompt product cost, literature and technical help.

Material Pusher Heaven and Much More

“Enter a length and process your part… It’s just that simple!”  That’s what some people say.  Truth is, processing multiple hole drilling and/or tapping processes along with saw cut operations and the like can be extremely challenging to a manufacturing facility.

AutoDrill stands ready to help you solve your most complex processes with the help of our seasoned and highly professional machine builders.

Whether you are drilling and tapping holes on a rotary table in a multi-drill format or simply pushing 2×4’s down the line while pre-drilling them for an assembly process, we can help you design the perfect system for your needs.

One of AutoDrill’s owners is fond of saying that, “…many people need to commute to work every day.  Not many people need a school bus or a tank to do so.”

AutoDrill offers you solutions based on your actual needs and in line with your budget.

Please CONTACT US to discuss your application and receive prompt product cost, literature and technical help.

(Below is a quick overview of just some of the material handling situations that AutoDrill can help with. Frankly, it’s to get the context out onto Google so people can find us.  …Seems to have worked for you, right?)

The automatic stop/gauge and pusher system is the perfect partner to the AutoDrill line of products.  Ease of setup, ease of use, and accuracy are often required and AutoDrill has a number of solutions that can help arrange just that type of set-up for you.

Kentucky Gauge Pipe Drill Set-Up

Kentucky Gauge Pipe Drill Set-Up

Imagine a world where every part comes out the same because of a reliable, automated process! With a linear measuring system and an AutoDrill, this is not just a possibility but a reality for many of our customers. One vendor we work with says, “Employees can be trained in a matter of minutes and be top performers by the end of the day.” We’ve seen it happen!

All AutoDrill products are built with features and durability that metal working shops and plants have come to expect from their equipment. We expect the same from our machine builders and only refer you to top quality, highly reliable vendors.

Does this mean that our machines are only good for metal applications?  Not at all!  In fact, they’ll work anywhere you need a tough and durable machine to perform your drilling, tapping, reaming or other hole processing job. Whether it is multiple holes in a single stroke or a single hole multiple times down the length and circumference of a filter pipe, we can help do it quickly and reliably!

How About Tables?

We have a number of vendors who we work with to provide you just the right table.  Whether it is a roller table for moving parts down line quickly or a large Blanchard ground top table with a coolant trough around it for collection of chips and lubricant…  We can help!

How About Mounting?

AutoDrill’s selffeeder units are built with you in mind.  The housings is similar to a simple air cylinder and mounts with a series of four tapped holes and a few optional dowel pins for alignment perfection! No more struggling with round body drills and alignment issues.  If you can tighten a bolt, you can likely mount an AutoDrill with no problems at all.

1100 Series AutoDrills - ER11

1100 Series AutoDrills - ER11

How About Accessories?

AutoDrill offers a wide range of accessories such as high quality key-type chucks, multiple sizes of industry standard ER style chucks, single spindle tapping heads, multi-drill spindle and tapping heads, custom threaded or bored spindles, etc. Tell us what you need. We love providing the perfect solution!

How About Multiple Piece Processing for Efficiency?

AutoDrill has provided devices to customers for processing multiple parts at a time many, many times.  Often, they will have a small part and simple line them up on a table.  down comes the AutoDrill with a multi-drill head and all the holes are performed in a single stroke!  Can this method of multiplying the solution solve your bottleneck?

How About Moving Tubes, Channel or Other Hard to Grip Parts?

No problem! Our machine builders are experts in solving these challenges! We have witnessed our AutoDrill units being mounted to drill 48″ round pipe, 18″ tall steel rectangular tubing, flat plates of steel over 6 feet wide and the strangest looking extrusions you’ve ever seen.  Sometimes the application requires that the part be moved and sometimes it’s easier to move the AutoDrill!  Depending on your space requirements and constraints, the desire to meet a certain cycle time or any other limitation you can probably come up with, we can help solve it!

Kentucky Gauge Pipe Drill Set-Up View 2

Kentucky Gauge Pipe Drill Set-Up View 2

How About Durability?

We are smart enough to know that sometimes the down time during a machine failure costs more than the machine.  That is why we build our machines to be tough!

How about the heart of our selffeeder machines? The quill starts out as a solid piece of high quality steel. It is machined to the strictest of tolerances in the industry and then precision ground to fit perfectly in the cylinder tube of our machine. It is hard chrome plated for the longest possible life span. No cheap aluminum quill parts here!

How about the additional components? Well…  AutoDrill took a gamble when they launched their self stroking drills. Everyone else on the market seemed to be building machines with integral valves and switches or sensors. AutoDrill decided to build the drill first and then determine how the accessories would work reliably. Because we offer half a dozen different switch and sensor options for end of stroke, proof of return and even mid or short-stroke sensing, we can often meet needs others can’t.  Because our valves and controls are external, they can be mounted anywhere on your fixture that you choose to shield them from debris, possible damage from moving parts or equipment or even just to conveniently exhaust the air into a quiet box. Many components can be replaced in minutes without dis-assembly of the AutoDrill unit itself. More importantly, this means that your fixture does not need to be taken apart when a simple valve or switch is damaged somehow.  We call it a “componentized” machine because all of the components are easily accessed.  We took it so far as to make sure you can replace the bearings without removing much more than a belt or pulley in most cases.  Down time is NOT your friend and we do all we can to keep him out of your shop!

Railroad Tie Drilling Fixture

Railroad Tie Drilling Fixture


A Wide Variety of Ways To Use an AutoDrill

AutoDrill on a Horizontal Table Set-Up

Drilling Sideways!

Approximately 30% of the AutoDrill units we sell are made to drill horizontally. This means they are generally mounted to a table top surface and either drill into a product or are sometimes static and allow the product to be moved into them.  We have one particular customer who drills 36 holes per stroke this way and strokes every 10 seconds…  Now that’s efficiency!

Material Pusher and a Two-Head Drilling Machine

The Customer Said, “Show me the money!”

We did!  After installation of a material pusher, the customer was able to not only drill two holes per stroke, but automate the process. The machine would receive the piece to be drilled, align the drill properly and then stroke it to make two holes in one stroke.  The beauty came into play when the material moved down the line to dozens of positions and automatically drilled in each one while the operator was off making money for the company by being able to focus on something else!

How About the Impossible?

It’s Stainless. It’s Coolant Free. It’s Radioactive!

In 2009, we received a call we originally thought was a prank.  Drill into stainless steel. Use no coolant. Do it with an all pneumatic unit. The part you are going to drill is internally pressurized and will spray radioactive material all over your drill-unit when you pierce it.  …We sold it and it worked. We told them to never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever send that machine back to us for service. If it dies (which as far as we know, it hasn’t), we will replace it. But they had better bury it under a few hundred feet of granite in some remote desert somewhere…  Because we don’t want it back! …We are still waiting for the video…

What Do You Do if Your Plasma Cutter Can’t Make the Hole?

Have a Plasma Cutter but Need To Drill Precise Holes?

A customer had a decently sized plasma table cutting out precise parts from a thick sheet of steel. But they needed to make precision round holes and the plasma simply wasn’t going to be tight enough to do that. In came the AutoDrill 5000 series with an annular cutter set up to save the day.  A great video of this machine is available on AutoDrill’s YouTube Channel and Facebook page.

How About Slicing a Honey Baked Ham?

Ham it Up!!!

A few years ago, a customer called us and asked for a food service quality machine.  A few days later, we had designed a machine that met their standards.  It was shipped out to slowly turn and stroke a large honey baked ham while a knife spiral sliced it.  So the next time you are celebrating with family or friends and eating that spiral sliced ham at the dining room table during the holidays, think of AutoDrill!  …Okay, that’s a stretch, but we can try!

Hey Edward!
Hey Bella!
Get On Over Here…

A Very Stirring Experience…

AutoDrill recently designed a multiple spindle head to go into a medical facility.  It took them a few days to tell us exactly what the head would be doing, but it turns out they needed a precise way to spin stirrers in small vials of blood. Apparently, nobody there was named Bella or Edward…  But what did become apparent to us was that there is a shortage of devices to do this. AutoDrill to the rescue!

300,000 Holes on
One Part!?!

“That’s A Lot Of Holes!”

That’s what our engineer said when he saw the print.  The customer wanted to drill well over 300,000 holes in a single part. The part was stainless, the holes were small and the material was relatively thin.  …No problem.  We offered a multi-spindle drilling head for the customer’s large bed CNC and they sped up their process many, many times over!  They are considering a purpose-built machine if they ever need to perform the process in high volume.  Why?  Because if you have to drill 20 or more parts a day, that’s a lot of CNC time – In fact, it’s likely to be multiple CNC machines!

“That’s Gnarly Dude!”

More Than You Might Think…

Ever wonder just how many skateboards are sold each year world wide?  Either did we, until we started selling multi-drill spindle heads, that is.  You seen there is this four hole pattern that each and every skateboard uses to hold on a “truck.” The “truck” in turn holds on the wheels.  There are two wheels per “truck” and two “trucks” per board.  They come in old school and new school patterns. Sometimes they come in custom six hole patterns…  Okay, that’s enough of a lesson for today. Suffice it to say, there are a LOT of skateboards sold world wide and AutoDrill is the leading manufacturer of multi-hole drilling solutions for the manufacturers. Sometimes it’s a simple four spindle head for a drill press and at other times, it’s a dual selffeeder drill set-up with dual four spindle heads, an automatic clamping solution and multiple board peck drilling options.  Regardless, we’ve been told we are “west coast agro” and we totally agree!  (Agro apparently means anything from really agitated to totally gnarly… er…  cool.)

Some Additional Examples of Products Made with AutoDrills:

Armor Tech. Motorcycle Parts
Automotive Parts Musical Instruments
Birdhouses  Oilfield Mats
Bleachers Oilfield Products
Boat Maintenance Tools Pallets
Bomb Demilitarization Devices Paper Drills
Bridge Components Patio Covers
Cabinets Pedal Boards
Candles Peg Boards
Caskets Perforated Pipe
Ceiling Fans Perforated Plates
Commercial Freezers Plastic Extrusions
Commercial Refridgerators Playground Equipment
Consumer Deck Boards Railings
Custom Firearms Railroad Ties
Delumpers Rakes
Display Systems Rifles
Doors Rubber Mat Drills
Drawer Pulls Safety Railings
Drums (musical and chemical) Scaffolding
Electronic Devices Screw Conveyors
Exercise Equipment Security Fasteners
Farm Equipment Shamplazas
Fence Posts Shelving
Filter pipe Shovels
Fitness Equipment Shredders
Floorboards Shunts
Flow Drilled Parts Shutters
Furniture Signs
Greenhouse Systems Skateboards
Gun Stocks Snowboards
Handguns Specialized Castings
Harley Davidson Motorcycles Storm Protection Devices
Hinges Structural Steel Products
Hoes Temporary Road Pallets
Honey Baked Hams Tents
HVAC Components Toys
I-Beam Braces Trailer Bodies
Log Cabin Components Trailer Flooring
Longboards Upper Receivers
Louvers Various Perforated Products
Lower Receivers Welding Gun Cleaners
Lumber Mats Windows
Lumber Processing Wine Racks
Lump Busters Wooden Reels
Marine Products Yacht Components

Some Wasteful Things That AutoDrill Can Help Eliminate:

  • Underproduction – You can’t make them fast enough. (We can help you make only as much as you need, when you need it. Quickly and efficiently!)
  • Overproduction – You can’t control how many are being made so they make way, way too many. (Because AutoDrill units are efficient, reliable and predictable, you can schedule your workloads more appropriately.)
  • Lack of Inventory – You want to keep parts in stock, but creating them takes valuable time or your supplier is too slow. (What if you could make an entire batch in a single day that lasted a month or longer?)
  • Too much Inventory – Because you want to be prepared, you buy or make too many parts at once and pay to store stationary items for long periods of time. (If you could make them quickly, you could make them as you need them.)
  • Distance – Because you need to be set up a certain way, you can’t keep the parts or tools close to where they are needed. (What if each part came off an AutoDrill set-up and went right to where it was needed? No storage, no travel, no waste.)
  • Time Wasted – Materials are simply not available when they are needed or there is a poor balance of work causing down time. (AutoDrill can help you catch up when a suppler runs late or get ahead and build a buffer.)
  • Transportation – As one expert puts it, “long moves, re-stacking, pick up/put down” (AutoDrill machines can be built to go right in line with others. When a part is done at station #1, it goes to the AutoDrill at station #2. when it is done at the AutoDrill, it goes to station #3.)
  • Massive Amount of Process Time – You simply have too much going on. Work in progress keeps everyone busy and you can’t focus on or even identify problems because of it. (Many AutoDrill set-ups allow you to push a button and walk away or process something else while the AutoDrill does all the hard work for you. Sequencing of steps, integration with PLC controls and more are all possible.)
  • Defects – Products made wrong. Products made again. Wasted material and labor. The wrong design was implemented in your set-up and you have a slow-down or bottleneck on the process. (With many of our products, we can totally eliminate stack up errors, wrong measurement mistakes and even solve time constraint issues.)

If you would like to learn more about how AutoDrill products can be part of your factory wide automation project, give us a call or shoot us an email. We will get right back to you. We are always happy to have an in depth discussion about how our systems may work in your environment with your specific application. No obligation quotations are sometimes available on the spot.

Please CONTACT US to discuss your application and receive prompt product cost, literature and technical help.

Which is More “Green”, Air or Electric Powered Drilling?


Recently, we had a discussion in the office about environmentally friendly procedures for our business.  One thing lead to another and we started comparing our drilling equipment to the competition’s as far as how environmentally responsible all of us in the industry were.

The discussion covered things like oil contamination in the shop and shop air, power requirements, and ultimately the amount of provisioning that the units required to actually run.  Let me explain…

Most of AutoDrill’s competitors who have been around a while use pneumatic (or air) motor drives on their self feeding drill units and lead screw tap units. Those who use electric are generally either smaller players in the game or new to the game and not quite up to speed when it comes to handling any sort of production job that requires reliable units and excellent support.

As a side note, there are times when a customer will loose more in one lost production day than they spend on AutoDrill equipment. Because of this, we are dedicated to keeping critical spare parts for our American made units in stock at all times. This ranges from small switches to critical gearing for multiple spindle drill heads.

Okay… Back to the air VS electric debate.

A typical air motor needs tens or hundreds of SCFM to run properly. The air has to be lightly lubricated and the exhaust is essentially contaminated and can be dangerous to those in the shop over long periods of time.

The general rule of thumb I read years ago was that you needed around a 1 HP electric motor to provide 4 SCFM for a production atmosphere drilling machine or tapper.  Let’s just presume for a moment that the machine is being powered by a 0.4 HP air motor.  This air motor (according to the chart I’m staring at) requires 25 SCFM.  This air motor would require a minimum of 6 or 7 HP at the compressor to reliably power it.

Using this ratio only, a 1.5 HP air motor might require as much as 95 SCFM. 95 SCFM would in turn require a *minimum* of a 25 HP air compressor.

Now… Let me appeal to your logical side for just a moment. Which do you think is more environmentally friendly:

Drill A Drill B
1.5 HP Air motor 1.5 HP Electric motor
25 HP compressor for air motor and stroke Low volume, small convenience compressor for stroke only

I’m willing to bet that you are sharp enough to catch on by now.

The low volume compressor is much more efficient electrically than the 25 HP unit. It throws out less oil into the atmosphere and is likely much more quiet. The initial cost of purchasing the units is lower and the long-term costs of providing electric power to the 25 HP compressor is much higher than that of the 1.5 HP drill.

In simple terms, the electric over air drill is many times more efficient and much more “green” or environmentally friendly than the air over air unit.

We predict that all of our competitors who are offering air over air units only will be out of the business within a few years.  We base this on a number of indicators…  I’ll share only one.

We sell competitor’s machines at times to meet specific needs for customers. If a customer already has a fixture set up for a competitor’s machine and needs a bunch of new AutoDrill units as well, we will gladly provide their unit plus ours. Today, we were retrofitting a customer’s existing air powered lead screw tapper with multiple spindle heads for multi-hole tapping. We needed one additional unit to complete their set-up and contacted our competitor.  Now keep in mind that today is August 2, 2012. The company quoted us a delivery date of January 14, 2013!  “Are you serious!?!”was the reply from my customer.

Turns out, the customer simply can’t wait until January to start setting up their production line.  They are currently deciding whether they want to go with the AutoDrill Control Feed Tapper option or…  Well…  Or else we are not sure what they will do.  they even talked about going to eBay to buy used units and praying that they are in good working condition and reliable.

…Did I mention that some customers loose more in a single day of downtime than they paid for their drills?

So now you know.  An electrically spun drill or tapper is many, many times more efficient and thus much more environmentally friendly.

Your employees’ lungs will thank you for the cleaner air…

Your checkbook will thank you for a lower electricity bill…

Your profits will be higher because electric motors are more reliable…

All of that having been said, AutoDrill also offers air motor drives for their units.


AutoDrill can provide single and multi-drill and multi-tap machines with either air or electric motors ranging from 1/12 HP to 20 HP.

AutoDrill can offer DC, 110V/120V/240V single phase, 208V/230V/460V/480V three phase, Canada 565V/600V motors, and even custom voltage motors if needed.

Please CONTACT US to discuss your application and receive prompt product cost, literature and technical help.

  • Air Motor AutoDrills
  • Electric AutoDrill