AutoDrill How-To Entries

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.

Just Automatic Drills

AutoDrill drilling and tapping products have been at the forefront of automated production for many years. AutoDrill drills provide versatile and cost-effective, customized solutions for dedicated drilling and tapping stations that turn out more precision parts in less time.

Larger Automatic Drills

These automatic drills can tap as well as drill. The tap tooling automatically reverses for withdrawal on our standard and control feed tapper units. This system requires no mechanical parts other than the highly reliable and industrial rated self-reversing tapping head.

Our automatic drills are capable of drilling a variety of hole sizes. All AutoDrill autofeed drill units feature low air consumption requirements unless pneumatic motors are used. This makes them extremely environmentally friendly or “green” as they say.

These units can handle up to 5 HP and produce well over 1000 lbs. of thrust from most shop air systems.

The Series 2000 AutoDrill is an air controlled self-feed drill. It is the most versatile automatic drill machine in AutoDrill’s our up. The self contained hydraulic feed control (sometimes called Hydro Feed or Hydro-Brake) is useful when a clean hole breakthrough is desired. It also improves hole roundness in thin sections, control when drilling smaller hole sizes, managing the Horsepower requirement on larger hole processes or when two-speed operation is desired. We also offer SkipFeed and PeckFeed options for the 2000 series units.

You can click below for more information on the self feed AutoDrill 2000 series options.

Smaller Automatic Drills

The Series 1000 and 1100 automatic drill unit is a slim compact unit designed to cut operating costs while providing a wide range of capabilities. The small size of the AutoDrill automatic drill lets you adapt it readily to compact set-ups for close-center drilling. The drills are powered by either small electric (1 ph, 3 ph or DC) motors or air / pneumatic motors to increase the drills flexibility. There are no pulleys or gears to change and the unit is mounted much the same way a typical air cylinder is so it can be removed and remounted to the precise former location quickly and easily with the use of simple dowel pin locators. Although it is compact, the automatic drilling machine delivers maximum drilling capacity with 100 lbs thrust at 100 psi air pressure and a full 1-1/2″ inch stroke. These are the smallest production rated automatic drills on the market as far as we know.

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


Drill Unit and Self Feeding Drill Glossary of Terms

A mechanical device capable of producing motion, i.e. AutoDrill’s Drill Unit has capability of both linear and rotary motion.
Term loosely used to represent compressed air sources for use in manufacturing.
The temperature and atmospheric conditions in the process area.

Clean Room

Applications characterized by the common requirement to minimize outside contamination. These type applications limit the use of lubricants and coolants or use lubricants and coolants that are safe for consumption, etc. Special materials and seal materials are often necessary to meet these requirements. Many medical and pharmaceutical applications require clean room features.
A tool holding device designed for maximum holding capacity and high accuracy. Each tooling size requires a separate collet.
Compressed Air
Industrial process air available for control and process uses at roughly 30 to 150 PSI but sometimes lower or higher depending on the application.
Counterbore (counter-bore)
The larger diameter at the entrance of a drilled hole with a flat bottom. Similar to a countersink except for the bottom configuration.
Countersink (counter-sink)
The larger diameter at the entrance of a machined hole with a conical bottom. Similar to a counterbore except for the bottom configuration. The general use of a countersink is for use with flat head screws and bolts.
Deep-Hole Drilling
Arbitrarily set at a depth to hole diameter ratio of 8:1 or greater. The torque required is generally more than shallow depth drilling and frequent tool retraction may be necessary to keep the flutes open. This tool retraction is known as peck drilling or PeckFeed.
DRAP (drill-tap)
A combination drill and tap that performs both operations in one sequence. It is useful for applications where the drilling and tapping settings are similar. The operation must be on a thru-hole part since the drilling must be finished before the tapping operation begins. Call for more information.
Drill Unit
A self-feeding drill module that is designed to automate multiple hole production drilling and other rotary/linear applications.
Double Feed Control
The ability to control the feed rate for both the extension and retraction portions of the drilling cycle.
Extended Rear Spindle
Additional length added to a Drill Unit spindle to allow the input of liquid or gaseous media thru the center of the spindle. The additional length is usually required to connect a rotary union to the spindle. The extended spindle can also be useful in situations where you need to attach something to the rear of the unit for various reasons. Some machine builders working directly with AutoDrill have manufactured Lead Screw Tap Tappers for our customers.
The linear extension towards the work of a Drill Unit quill.
Feed Control
The method to control the drill extension towards/into the work. The simplest but least precise method is pneumatic control. Another method is hydraulic feed control, which has a more accurate feed rate because of the incompressibility of oil.(i.e. oil does not compress under pressure)
Flow Control
A precision adjustable valve used to control the flow of a gaseous or liquid media.
Abbreviation for Feed Per Revolution, a term used in drilling applications to determine how fast the drill will go thru the material per revolution of the cutting tool. It is a major factor in determining the horsepower requirements for an application.
Gun Drilling – See Deep-Hole Drilling
Jacobs Taper
A standard shaft configuration that allows attachment of tool holders with minimal runout. Standard Jacobs Taper sizes are J0, J1, J2, J3, J33, J4, J5, J6
Multiple Spindle Head (Multi-Drill, Gang Drill, Spindle Multiplier)
A Drill Unit attachment with multiple drill or tap spindles where the spindles are gear driven from the Drill Unit spindle. They allow drilling or tapping of multiple holes in closer proximity than is possible with Drill Units alone. These devices can be mounted onto automatic drill units, drill presses, column drills, pillar drills, milling machines, CNC platforms, direct motor mounts and many other platforms.
Pounds per Square Inch, a measure of the energy stored in industrial compressed air or any other energy force.
Parabolic Drill
Drill designed for deep-hole drilling with good chip evacuation.
Peck Drilling
A technique where the tool is frequently retracted from the hole to clear drill chips and prevent clogging. It’s also used to help drill straight precision holes. Generally used when the hole depth is considered to be a deep-hole.
The linear guided, non-rotating portion of a Drill Unit or drill press. Its purpose is to securely support the rotating spindle. It is also often used to secure a multiple spindle head.
Rotary Union
A mechanical device that allows the transfer of a medium (air, water, other coolant, lubricant, etc.) from a stationary source to a rotating component.
Runout (run out, run-out)
The deviation from the desired surface or line in relation to the axis during one complete revolution.
A Drill Unit that includes the ability to turn and extend in a compact package.
Self-Feeding (selffeeder, selffeeding, self-feeding)
The capability to automatically extend a drilling, tapping, reaming (etc.) device towards the work. The ability to automate a drilling (etc.) process.
Skip Feed Control
A control valve option available on AutoDrill series 2000 and 5000 Drill Units that allows multiple uncontrolled and controlled sections of the feed cycle. The valve essentially “skips” the feed control at desired portions of the feed cycle. Available in custom fixed models or even fully adjustable models, this device significantly speeds up the cycle time when drilling hollow pipe, tube, extrusions, etc.
The high precision shaft that rotates within the quill and is the attachment point for the tooling or tool holder.
Spline Bushing
The part of a Drill Unit that transfers power from the input shaft or device to the spindle.
Thru-holes (through holes)
The hole drilled thru the spindle center (through spindle) to facilitate the introduction of coolant, lubricants, air or other media to the work area. It is also useful for the introduction of a work or slug ejector pin.
When used as a drilling parameter it is the exertion forces of a tool into the work transmitted by the Drill Unit.
Total Indicator Reading is the total movement of a dial indicator for the deviation of a surface from it’s theoretical perfect dimension. In drilling, it is an indication of the deviation of the cutting tool’s centerline axis from it’s theoretical true centerline. (center line)
Two-Hand Anti-Tie-Down (Two Hand Anti-Tiedown)
A safety arrangement suited for machinery where position of an operator’s hands must be monitored. Operator must actuate both push buttons simultaneously to obtain an output signal and thus start a potentially dangerous equipment process.

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