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Thread: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Collinsville, CT USA
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    Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    Was wondering how others cut holes in their Sinar lens boards. Initially drilled a lot of holes and filed the final hole to be round, tedious and time consuming to say the least. Then purchased a "Carbide Tip Adjustable Circle Cutter" from Harbor Freight and it struggled to cut the hole. I am assuming that it was just a cheap tool. Comments? Who carries adjustable hole cutters that work?

  2. #2
    Matt Alexander
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    Nov 2017
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    Wisconsin
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    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    I haven't found an adjustable cutter to work well. I buy the single size hole saws. Much more reliable. Use oil and slow speed if cutting metal.
    Even monkeys fall from trees -- Japanese proverb

  3. #3
    Foamer
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    Oct 2010
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    South Dakota
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    2,145

    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    My problem is I typically buy 19th C. lenses that don't take a standard hole.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    Buford, GA
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    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    The only proper way is on a lathe or mill. Drilling can make the board less then flat.

  5. #5
    Matt Alexander
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    Nov 2017
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    Wisconsin
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    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    Lathe or mill would definately be preferred but i've gotten decent results in wood and metal with hole saws and drill press. Go slow.
    For non standard sizes - and lets face it, Home Depot hole saws are not precision tools - get a smaller size than your lens and then fine tune with a file or sanding.
    Even monkeys fall from trees -- Japanese proverb

  6. #6
    Barry Young
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
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    33

    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    I use a lathe with a four jaw chuck and a boring bar. I also cut holes in lens boards for others.

    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  7. #7
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Jan 2001
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    Fond du Lac, WI, USA
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    7,566

    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    This topic has been covered many, many times. Most techniques will work fine if done properly. I've used a fly-cutter on a drill press, as well as single-sized hole saws. Test the size on a scrap piece of wood to make sure it's right. Set the proper speed on the Drill press for your bit. Securely camp the work piece on a backer board to the work table. I often use 3/4" plywood as the backer board. Place the lens board on it, and use screws and washers around the perimeter to hold the board in. Clamp the plywood very securely to the drill press table, positioning so that the bit is in the right place. If it's an undrilled board, use an appropriate tool to mark where the pilot bit will go. Get some plumber's putty, and make a circle of it around the hole you'll cut, pressing down a bit to make a liquid proof seal. add a small bit of cutting oil inside the circle. Now drill slowly....
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  8. #8

    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    I bought a scroll saw from Harbor Freight and it gets a lot of use in my workshop. After cutting a hole following the drawn out cut lines I expand to the final size using hand files by direct comparison.

    I remember a good friend who was a Master Machinist in the Navy, and he implored me never to use power tools when something can be finished off by hand. I've not forgotten that advice.

    I've probably mounted close to a hundred LF lenses onto metal boards over the decades and have never ruined anything.
    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    ― Mark Twain

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    This topic has been covered many, many times. Most techniques will work fine if done properly. I've used a fly-cutter on a drill press, as well as single-sized hole saws. Test the size on a scrap piece of wood to make sure it's right. Set the proper speed on the Drill press for your bit. Securely camp the work piece on a backer board to the work table. I often use 3/4" plywood as the backer board. Place the lens board on it, and use screws and washers around the perimeter to hold the board in. Clamp the plywood very securely to the drill press table, positioning so that the bit is in the right place. If it's an undrilled board, use an appropriate tool to mark where the pilot bit will go. Get some plumber's putty, and make a circle of it around the hole you'll cut, pressing down a bit to make a liquid proof seal. add a small bit of cutting oil inside the circle. Now drill slowly....
    The number of times is immaterial.
    The proper way is material.

    The more times results in both good and bad procedure advice.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
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    14,600

    Re: Cutting holes in Sinar Lensboards

    An adjustable fly cutter works fine if you have the board firmly clamped and have a serious non-toy drill press set at low speed. The problem with ANYTHING from Harbor Freight is that it is sheer junk probably incapable of cutting warm butter. Don't waste time shopping Home Cheapo either. Try McMaster Carr instead for the real deal.

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