View original topic: how to drill a hole in a billiard ball? Page: 1, 2  Next
panasonic90 Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:22 am

Hi guys,

I got recently as a present a nice red billiard ball to be used as the proud gear knob of my yellow submarine, but I've never drill such material before. I wonder if any of you guys know if there are special drillbits to be used, or other things I need to pay attention to.


jtauxe Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:36 am

You might try a ceramic/glass drill bit. These work well on such materials, and I suppose a billiard ball would qualify. Once you have a teeny nick as a starter hole, you're good to go. Hard will be cutting threads in it. You may have to epoxy it on there.

[email protected] Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:52 am

i wouldn't try to drill threads into a billiards ball. If it cracks it's a little expensive to get a new one. I wold epoxy it.

I've been planning to try this for a long time. My knob is stripped so it's always been a little loose.

BigLoaf Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:54 am

If you have trouble tapping threads, drill the hole out bigger than needed and fill it with JB Weld. Once the JB weld has set, drill out the correct size hole and tap it. JB Weld can be tapped reasonably well.

brenthughes Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:10 am

There are wood thread inserts available that you could epoxy inside the hole. They are like case savers but they have a wood thread on the outside. The hard part will be finding the correct metric interior thread, but metric ones are available. This way there will never be a prying stress that may split the ball in half, and you won't have to worry about ceramic threads crumbling away.

I suppose you could just use a case saver but I think the wider wood thread would hold in the epoxy better.

Once it is done, in whatever form you choose, please post pictures!

Brent Hughes

Sett Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:36 am

I drilled out an 8 ball with a standard drill bit for metal and tapped the hole. I used a drill press and clamped the ball in a vice with rages. It's still holding on, you just have to be shure not to over tighten it.

pb24ss Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:41 am

get your threaded inserts here

or the entire knob. they have some wicked ones.

Patrick199 Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:58 am

I didn't tap mine. It's a compression fit, with a few wraps of e-tape around the shifter. It stays on while I drive - only comes off if I pull on it.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Brass Rail for donating the ball.

jensend Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:11 am

To simplify accurate drilling, tape the ball into a cupped device (like a soup can, spray paint lid etc). I'd use masking tape covered with a layer or two of duct tape. Secure the whole thing in a vise or on the table of a drill press. Drill a small pilot hole first with a sharp bit. Drill at a slow speed. You might want to use something like WD-40 if the bit seems to get too hot. Use progressively larger bits until you reach the size you need. You can go to Lowes or Home Despot and get a nylon sleeve to go in the hole you drilled. Put blue loctite on the outside of the sleeve and place it in the hole you drilled. Once it dries, put loctite on the shifter threads and thread on the knob. Not the quickest way, but probably the safest way to get a good durable result.

fusername Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:18 am

I'd say just drill it oversize, then wedge in a tapped material, maybe steel rod that fits snug. add some epoxy, glue, rubber cement to sweeten the deal.

or just epoxy it onto the end of the shift rod if your lazy. drill it, fill it with epoxy, push it on wet.... TADA. someone will hate you for it tho.

david_594 Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:59 am

I agree with the drill and JBweld approach. JBweld is magic, why wouldnt you use it.

Also, has anyone with an 002 tranny had issues with the weight of the 8 ball due to the unsprung?(wrong word) nose cone on the tranny?

Karl Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:48 pm

Patrick199 wrote:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Brass Rail for donating the ball.

Are they still looking for it? :roll:

TeamSpatula Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:25 pm

I drilled a hole with a regular bit into a 15 ball, which has been on my shifter for at least 5 years tapping necessary, just use a drill bit that's a hair smaller than the threads on the shifter...I did drill a 1/8" pilit hole first...both holes about 1" great, fits nicely into my hand, and hasn't worked loose yet...
I did the 15 ball as a practice, in case it shattered, but it seems to be holding up fine...whenever it falls apart, I have the rest of the set to go through...

mintonman Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:58 pm

I used a 2 ball for my typeII, but I made one for a trigger shifter wich has to have an oversized hole for the trigger to pull up into. I put a piece of duct tape over the ball, marked the spot to drill & drilled away. The tape was to stop the ball from chipping arount the edge of the hole. I then used some light sand papar to smooth the edge, found a nut to fit the treads on the shifter, screwed it on & loaded the inside of the ball & the nut with hot glue from a glue gun, put the ball on, positioned it & let it sit to dry/cool. Never had any issues with it.

GostaBerling Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:06 pm

Why couldn't you just drill an over-sized hole and epoxy in a metric nut? Or if you could find it, a proper sized helicoil?

Here's my shifter, the ball was originally set up for SAE threads. It had a variety of adapters that came with it, each one SAE. I ended up drilling out one of the aluminum adapters and then worked it with a proper sized metric tap until I got a start to the threads. Then I worked the ball back and forth on the shaft over a length of time, until the shifter finished cutting threads. Worked great and is on it's second VW in 5 years.

TheTominator Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:16 pm

As I recall from memory, these balls are made of phenolic resin. It is hard stuff and can be thrown full force at concrete without cracking.

mintonman Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:21 pm

TheTominator wrote: As I recall from memory, these balls are made of phenolic resin. It is hard stuff and can be thrown full force at concrete without cracking.

Your point being??

TheTominator Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:37 pm

It can definitely be drilled, probably tapped successfully.

mintonman Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:41 pm

Actually the one I drilled was only hard sofar in then it was a substance like drilling through a thick piece of blue fiberglass, there was blue dust everywhere, even in my nose & mouth. :lol:

CatfishCalhoun Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:24 pm

So the lesson there is not to hold the balls in your mouth while drilling?

Hey, you said it not me. :wink:

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