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Technical CHASSIS, Drill your axle!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ELpolacko, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. Being this is tech week and all, this sorta fits. I was underway with the procedure before it dawned on my that some of you may want to know how to do this to your own axle.

    Lets start off with the basics; you need some shop equipment to get good results, like a decent drill press that is capable of turning the spindle at 200 RPM or lower. A good or new hole saw in the desired size and some lay out equipment and cutting oil. SEE PIC 1

    I use a can of spray on Dykem and put a light coat on the axle. This particular axle was polished before it was brought to me, this way if he decides to have it chromed the holes will be much crisper than ones buffed over by an aggressive chrome shop laborer. I found the center line of the axle and scribed a light line down the middle with a set of dividers taking care not to scratch the surface, just the Dykem. Next I found the center of the axle and marked it with a center punch. With a little bit of math and some consult with the axle owner we came up with 13 1 1/8" holes spaced 2 1/2" apart. So with my dividers set at 2 1/2" I marked my way out from the center on either side and punching each crosshair as I went. See pics 2,3,4
  2. Woah! Weird. I actually drilled my axle today and had everything together for a tech. post. You beat me to it you dirty Polock :)
  3. Next is something you probably never thought of, hole saws. Yeah I use a hole saw to "drill" with. Much cleaner and faster than a drill unless you have a mill at your disposal then all of this is a moot point. But for Johnny Lunchbox hole saws are cheap and easy to use! See PIC 5, I use common variety Blue Mol saws and arbors. I suggest starting with a brand new one but if you have one in the size you want that is in good shape go for it.

    Use a cutting fluid, PIC 6, I buy this stuff at the same nut and bolt place I got the saw at because they are practicly next door. Seems to work well too, I picked up an oil squirt bottle at Harbor Frieght for a few pennies. These things get destroyed pretty quick so I hate spending money on them.

    Set your press down low PIC 7, and lets get ready to cut.

    I reccomend some good hole cutting music, something Texas based like ZZ Top, Junior Brown, ButtholeSurfers. Drilling holes is in these guys blood! :D

    see pics 8,9,10
  4. old beet
    Joined: Sep 25, 2002
    Posts: 5,750

    old beet

    What axles can be drilled, and what can not?..............OLDBEET
  5. get comfortable because you are going to be there a while. This axle took me a little over an hour to cut PIC 11.

    While you are cutting use plenty of oil and moderate pressure on the press. It also helps to have a brush or compressed air to blow away the build up of chips. This particular axle, VCW/Chassis Engineering is thick and a bit harder material than a Ford axle. Just take your time the results will be worth it. PICS 14,15,17

    All that is needed is a little cleaning and deburring. Those small needle files work well.

    Thanks for watching! Tune in next Tech week!
  6. I have drilled all sorts of axles without a problem. Trick is keep your cutting speed low and keep the tool cool and well oiled.

  7. joeycarpunk
    Joined: Jun 21, 2004
    Posts: 4,446

    from MN,USA

    Excellent tech post. Thanks. :)
  8. I think Frankie goes to Hollywood is another type of Hole Drilling Music?

    Seriously, my 40 axle is about 1/4" thick, Magnum 4" drops are just under 1/2" and Magnum 5" drops are close to 1/2". Model A's are as thin as 12g steel.
  9. This is enough to get me excited about punchin' a few holes in that spare 40 axle of mine! :D HRP
  10. rustyparts
    Joined: Jan 3, 2005
    Posts: 702

    from Clinton,Mt

    Great tech! It's time to drill holes.
  11. blue collar guy
    Joined: Apr 14, 2004
    Posts: 1,068

    blue collar guy

    what size hole saw did you use?
  12. Gasserfreak
    Joined: Aug 31, 2004
    Posts: 1,341

    from Yuma, AZ

    YES, I've been thinking of asking about this since I'm planing to do this to mine. Thanks for the great post.
  13. hey crew,

    awesome tech post: how many holes can be safely drilled before you compromise the axle?

  14. Hole size on that one is 1 1/8".

    Number of holes is up to you, as is the size. The real trick is not getting into the webbing and leaving a reasonable ammount of material between the holes. I weighed the drops, 1 pound to the gnats ass was removed! So relativley not much weight reduction here. Mostly looks but you do weaken the axle in torsion a bit. Metalshapes front axle has slotted holes in it, pretty cool looking piece but we have been debating the strength of it for a while. It is still holding up but I wonder how accurately it is locating the wheel.

    When we are dealing with split wishbones the beam axle acts directly as a torsion anti-roll bar. Drilling holes and removing material will lower its spring rate to a degree, the more material removed the lower the spring rate (same as smaller diameter anti-roll bar) which given our tendency toward skinny front tires doesn't hurt us.

    Its all about the "look"

  15. Ahh cool! Its illegal for us to drill axle's here in australia so a bit of a moot point for me...but i love the look. was the real purpose to loose weight or does it add a certain amount of wind reduction to highboy?
  16. Merge
    Joined: Oct 7, 2004
    Posts: 379


    awesome post! nice work!
  17. Maybe someone like Mike Bishop (AV8) could give us some insight. I was always lead to belive it was for weakening the axle in torsion on dirt oval race cars. By weakening the axle you allow the front to roll more an transfering more load onto the rear wheels for better bite and slip angle. That and the minor ammount of weight removed couldn't help.

    I imagine it would reduce some wind drag but I think it would create more turbulent eddies of air behind the axle and have a detrimental effect on wind resistance.

    Bottom line, just looks cool

  18. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 11,130


    Yeah, I'm not too thrilled about those slots being there.
    But it is a neat old dropped axle, and the slots were there when I got it...
    I havent exacly been babying it but it will be replaced when the Big Brakes go on.
    ElPolacko already had his guy make me a axle with the same amount of drop.
    It will be interesting to find out how that will affect the handeling ( like he said it will change the torsional stiffness, which might change the under/oversteer balance a bit...)
  19. lowsquire
    Joined: Feb 21, 2002
    Posts: 2,567

    from Austin, TX

    When i drilled mine i reduced the hole sizes at the ends ,i thought it would look kool, but im a knob.
    I like the idea that it reduces twisting resistance with split bones, gotta be a good thing.
    I did thirteen holes too ,for bad luck.
    Danny, as long as you keep payin rego, start drillin!!
    I know its illegal, but my car is a special me.

    just realised this photo doesnt really show the holes! oh well. use your imagination
  20. I was really surprised at how easily the drilling went. I started w/ a small pilot hole and moved right up to a 1/2 inch bit. No troubles what-so-ever. Used a little oil and made sure to pull out every couple seconds to clear the filings.

    Next it's off to the Bridgeport for slotting. My slots will be quite a bit smaller than metalshapes, but same concept.
  21. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    Yeah - that worries me a bit - drilling holes with the butthole surfers...:D

    Great tech!

  22. Awesome post.. I originally was going to drill my axle too but I was getting lazy... Your finished product looks so cool I'm going to have to do it.

    Just a note on hole sawing thick and or hard material: If you drill one or two 1/8" holes right inside the diameter of the hole saw it will cut a whole lot easier. These holes allow chips to escape, lube to get in, and give the hole saw a better bite. It will cut your time in half and save you wear on your blade. See below:
  23. Haven't seen that brand, but I'm guessing they are bi-metal are they not?

    I use hole saws fairly often.
    Mostly in alumimun, now and then in 1/8-3/16" steel.
    (T McG's post done today (Hole Saw Trick) is a good one for larger holes.)

    As a fwiw, I like to drill pilot holes prior to cutting with hole saws.
    Makes the hole saw cutting bit easier since you're only doing sawing if you have a 1/4" pilot hole.
    Easier to gauge the pressure as well.

    Good post, you've got me thinking a drilled axle would look great on my 31 roadster.
  24. TomH
    Joined: Oct 21, 2003
    Posts: 1,253


    My imagination isn't worth a shit, would like to see your axle.
  25. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 5,728


    El P,

    do you chamfer the holes?

    how's the best way to do so?

    do they make chamfer bits that large?
  26. This guy wanted the crisp edge so I just deburred it with a half round needle file and left as much as I could.

    I have seen chamfer bits large enough but fitting down in the web might be an issue so the best bet is a file and some patience. I have gotten pretty good with my Dynabrade mini belt sander but would worry about it getting away from me.

    Good work takes time.

  27. KIRK!
    Joined: Feb 20, 2002
    Posts: 12,031


    Nice post. I've always used a hole saw. Well, the first two holes in the first axle was with a regular $60 bit which bacame a paper weight.

    I always tell people there are five steps:

    1) measure
    2) measure
    3) measure
    4) mark 'em
    5) drill 'em (and that you can never use too much cutting fluid)
  28. BTTT, as a tech week runner up and all around cool post...

  29. Greezy
    Joined: May 11, 2002
    Posts: 1,440


    He atch I used a flapper wheel after I drilled this one gave the holes a slight chamfer. I drilled this one using 7/8" hole saw.
  30. Roothawg
    Joined: Mar 14, 2001
    Posts: 24,855


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