AutoDrill How-To Entries

Self Feed Drill Basics

Self feed drills are the answer for your high volume drilling needs. These drills use a built in pneumatic cylinder with self-contained hydraulic feed control available and precision spindle. The spindle is driven one of many different motor choices. This allows us to provide self feed and mechanical rotation. This also allows feed automation for one or many drills at the same time for “daisy-chain” operations where extremely high volume applications exist. Manual or PLC controlled units are standard.

The principle is displayed below:


automatic self feeding drill




Some Typical Self Feeding Drill Applications are:

  • Multi Hole Drilling – Drill one or many holes simultaneously. By using staggered spindle lengths and other “tricks of the trade”, there are a nearly limitless number of possibilities for an automated or even a drill press / mill set-up.
  • Highly Precise Hole Drilling – AutoDrills, once set-up, precisely repeat the operation over and over again. If extremely high tolerance holes are needed, drill bushings or other methods can be incorporated.
  • Better Than a CNC – Use AutoDrills instead of an expensive or complicated CNC. This can replace expensive CNC equipment and even reduce operator training costs. Because AutoDrills can be linked together or set up at any angle, they can often process a part much faster than a CNC can.
  • How About Multi-Step Processes – AutoDrills are simply and easily automated to sequence multiple operations. What this means is that you can drill a hole from one side of a part, and then ream and deburr it from the other resulting in less set up steps.
  • Deep Hole Peck Drilling – AutoDrill peck controls automate this tedious operation. Within reason, AutoDrill can perform a deep hole process with very simple and totally automated machinery all provided at a great cost from a USA based supplier.
  • Small Hole Drilling – Because the selffeeder AutoDrills can be equipped with a low cost, highly reliable and accurate hydraulic feed control, we can often perform a small hole drilling process with an industrial rated drill. This means less down time, less broken tooling and more accurate holes for you and your customers.
  • Hard To Reach Drilling Surfaces – We can offer compact drills, off-set drill heads, reverse stroke drill heads, custom housings and spindles as well as many other options to make sure that your process is performed reliably and simply each and every time.

Automation controls are also available for the self-feeding drills we offer. We use very basic and highly reliable valves and other components to make sure of two very important factors:

  1. Down time is minimized when an error occurs and something breaks. Everything is componentized so that you do not have to disassemble the entire unit to replace a low cost part.
  2. Simple design features are incorporated so that even on our most robust units, a repair can often be made by someone with basic mechanical skills.

Our goal is to keep you up and running as often as possible for as long as possible. Built AutoDrill tough, the units are rated for 24/7 use in the harshest conditions out there.

Custom controls and options are available to meet most every need. We specialize in making the right machine for you each and every time. All machines are based on standard, off-the-shelf parts stocked right here in our facility.

We offer free basic application and engineering assistance.  Please check out the rest of our web site for some of our many successful projects.

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

Selffeeders and More

A Quick Introduction to Self Feed Units

When you need a drill unit that is versatile and able to meet a wide range id needs, you choose AutoDrill:

AutoDrill’s self feeding drill machine or drill unit combines a motor with a double acting cylinder and a high quality spindle. It is a very efficient and clean line package. Generally, the motor can be powered by air or electricity (although 3 phase electric motors are generally the most efficient). With the proper control system and a variety of attachments that are available, AutoDrill machines can be used for drilling, tapping, screwdriving and nutrunning in many automated operations.

Triple-Pressure For Ultimate Control:

AutoDrill air spun units (all pneumatic drills) always come with a very powerful and flexible control set-up. We provide the valving in such a way so as to allow you to run one pressure for stroking, a different pressure for retracting and often a third pressure for the air motor feed. This allows you to minimize cycle times, maximize efficiency by turning off the air motor when it is not neededm and even provide higher pressures during the retract to guarantee that tooling is not stuck in the work during automation-enhanced processes where proof of return switches are not possible. All of this means that you will have an advantage when drilling or tapping small holes.

Adjustable Stroke Length:

AutoDrill selffeeder drill units can be offered in stock stroke lengths ranging from 1.5″ to 9″ and each unit can be set for any stroke within it’s range. This means that you can use a machine with it’s quill mostly retracted for the highest quality lateral support of the spindle possible. It also means that some of our long stroke units can be used for deep hole drilling applications, especially when a PeckFeed set-up is added to help clear chips. Longer stroke machines not only offer better support for the drilling process, but they also provide greater clearance for fixtures and indexing tables, among other things. The stroke is adjusted by means of an adjustment nut right on the front of the machine.

HydroSpeed (HydroChek) to Maintain Set Thrust:

AutoDrill units equipped with a self-contained feed control allow you to set the thrust of the machine by the air pressure you feed to it. Then, the HydroSpeed (or HydroCheck) slows down the feed rate to what you need it to be. The main advantage delivered by this method of applying thrust is that the set thrust can be maintained throughout the full stroke of the drill unit. This provides greatly improved cycle times as the drill bit can rapid down to the surface of the part being process and then cut at an optimal speed all the time, every time. It also helps eliminate or greatly reduce burring or uncontrolled feed jumps during break through. This equipment will also help to prolong tooling life and preventing breakage. AutoDrill can also easily incorporate pneumatic timers and valves that control the rate of feed and retraction of the cylinder or even for dwell control. For manual control a single or THAD start button set-up is offered as well as the occasional foot pedal (with it’s associated warnings!) For partial or fully automatic control, proof of return, end of stroke and even short-stroke switches can easily be incorporated (as well as proximity sensors and solenoid start options for PLC use, etc.)

AutoDrill is the only drilling machine provider in their class to offer both fixed pattern SkipFeed as well as fully adjustable SkipFeed controls for their units.

Flexible Mounting Options:

All AutoDrill machines are mounted via four tapped holes on the bottom of the “air cylinder” portion of the unit. We also include dowel pin holes and slots for precision alignment while mounting.  All of this means that you can easily take an AutoDrill machine, mount it to a flat plate and then make any sort of custom mounting or even quick-change mount work for you. AutoDrill units can be mounted in all directions vertical or horizontal (some limitations apply to special units).

Generously Outfitted with Many Attachments and Accessories Standard:

AutoDrill 1000 series units come with an integral ER11 collet chuck. AutoDrill 2000 series units come stock with a Jacobs #33 male spindle. AutoDrill 5000 series units come stock with a female MT2 spindle (draw bar enabled or tang drive). Here is just a partial list of the attachments that can be mounted onto an AutoDrill automatic stroking drill unit:

  • Key-type chuck
  • Key-less chuck
  • Collet chuck (ER8, ER11, ER16, ER20, ER25, ER32, ER40)
  • Tapmatic head (SPD3, SPD5, SPD7, SPD9 as well as others including clutched models and HardStart models)
  • 2, 3, and 4 spindle adjustable drilling and tapping heads
  • Fixed drill heads with as few as one off-set spindle to 40+ spindles…
  • Floating tap holders
  • Floating reamer holders
  • DA collet chucks
  • Square drives for nutrunners
  • ball clutches for screwdrivers
  • Through the spindle coolant chucks and devices
  • …And almost anything that can be found with a J33 or male Morse Taper #2 shank.

Optional Accessories for Special Needs:

Whether you need a simple drilling or tapping machine or a customized machine with an exhaust collector, bushing mount nose housing, skip control unit and a special mounting bracket…  We can help you.

Our Most Popular Machine is the AutoDrill 2000 Series Unit… Here Are Some of the Options for the 2000 Series AutoFeed Drill:

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

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.