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Unread 12-16-2014, 02:47 PM   #1
pilot25
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Shower door channel pre-drilled hole question? (WITH PICTURE!)

I have the channels of a shower door up to drill holes into porcelain tile. Unfortunately, the one middle pre-drilled hole is right on the edge of the tile and grout. See picture...

What is the best course of action on this one so I don't crack the tile? I'll be using a diamond drill bit with water to mitigate any problems but this looks like it's destined to crack.
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Unread 12-16-2014, 03:16 PM   #2
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Use a drill guide* to keep the drill on target. Go slowly and use lots of water.

*My drill guide is a scrap piece of oak flooring with a several sized holes in it. The undulations in the back side of the flooring allow the water and tile bits to wash away.
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Unread 12-17-2014, 09:20 AM   #3
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Here is a picture of the pencil mark after removing the channel. Do you still think it could work? Do I have a choice?
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Unread 12-17-2014, 09:26 AM   #4
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with a decent bit, yes.


check this out
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Unread 12-17-2014, 08:38 PM   #5
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Hi, Pilot.

What you may not understand is that a diamond holesaw will "grind" a hole. The physics of the cutting action are gentle, unlike a wood "twist" drill bit or a traditional masonry bit that you'd use in a hammer drill. Both of these latter examples put a lot of outward pressure on the hole as they sink into the material. That's the opposite of what you want when drilling a hard, brittle tile.

That's where diamond holesaws come in. They gently grind a hole. Keep water on the bit, and don't exert much forward pressure (let the little holesaw grind at its own pace. Spin the bits too fast or press forward too much and the heat build-up will wreck the cheap diamond electroplating. Most box stores have 1/4" diamond electroplated holesaws. They're in the neighborhood of $15. A diamond holesaw needs to be kept from "skating around" when first beginning the hole. They don't have a "pilot bit", hence Paul's suggestion of using a physical guide.

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Unread 12-17-2014, 09:11 PM   #6
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I bought these two bits but I haven't yet broken them out.

The instruction for the "hole saw" (Ridgid) say to start the bit at high-speed and contact the tile at a 45 degree angle and once the bit starts cutting, one can straighten out. They also mention to practice on scrap material.
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Unread 12-17-2014, 09:12 PM   #7
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Toss the one on the left, use the one on the right
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Unread 12-17-2014, 09:16 PM   #8
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My left or your left, Paul?

I'll take the Bosch bit back to the orange borg...still have the receipt.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 06:12 PM   #9
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Thanks, I have the correct bit and will give it a go tomorrow.
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Unread 12-18-2014, 07:23 PM   #10
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have a dewalt bit similar to the rigid bit. will go through tile like butter. IIRC you might want to have some water around in case the bit gets a bit hot - but i could be mistaken it's been a few years since i used it.
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Unread 12-19-2014, 03:21 PM   #11
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I have 6 holes to drill and I did just one. Not the one in the picture but one of the easier ones. Perfect hole and no problems. Took about a half hour. I would drill for about 2 minutes then dip in water. We tried dribbling water over the bit every few seconds but it got pretty monotonous and messy.

How far can the diamond bit go before I need another one? Seems like I may need more than one for 6 holes as it was grinding away on that porcelain for a long time. At about $15 a pop I would think they should last a long long time though.
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Unread 12-19-2014, 07:07 PM   #12
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It took me a few minutes to drill a hole through a 3/8" piece of porcelain tile. It went very well with the bit following the directions of starting the bit full speed and starting at 45 degrees to the tile and slowly moving perpendicular.

I used an eye-dropper to constantly dribble water on the bit as I was drilling. Perhaps a turkey baster would be better to avoid having to keep filling up the eye-dropper several times.

I also think the use of a drill guide invaluable to starting the bit where one wants it. My Ridgid bit is 3/16" so I drilled a 3/16" hole in a piece of scrap plywood and used that to perfectly position and guide the bit into the tile.

Once started, you no longer need the guide and one may drill and dribble water readily.
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Unread 12-20-2014, 12:33 AM   #13
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We use a garden sprayer for the water then blue tape to direct the waste into a bucket if there is no drain
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Unread 12-20-2014, 06:54 AM   #14
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That's a fantastic idea. Thanks.
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Unread 12-20-2014, 09:25 AM   #15
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Is the idea to keep water on the bit, or on the hole being drilled?
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