Boring Machines

      Casework assembly methods that rely on evenly-spaced 32-mm holes are most efficient when you have high-volume precision equipment to bore the holes. Here's a rundown on the options in machinery for that purpose. September 18, 2008

Reprinted with permission from MLS Machinery, Inc.

32mm/Through Feed
Horizontal/Misc.
Point-To-Point
Vertical//Misc.

32mm/Through Feed
Used mainly in the kitchen industry or KD (knock down) RTA (ready to assemble) industry. This is the most accurate way to drill holes, especially if the end user is going to put the furniture together at home. 32mm, which equates to about 1-1/4”, is a standard that has been accepted worldwide for holes drilled in, say, kitchen cabinets, wall units, etc. for adjustable shelving. If you look at a kitchen cabinet in most modern new style kitchens today, you’ll find that adjustments for the shelf holes are every 32mm apart from center to center. All the construction holes that are also used for the assembly of the final cabinet, that is, to connect the sides to the top and bottom, are also drilled in this configuration. Sometimes these machines are called either construction boring or line boring machines. Most 32mm machines have a fixed block of drills (another word for boring machine is drilling machine); therefore, when it drills, this fixed block of drills, all fixed spaced at 32mm, will drill at the same time. This block could be any configuration of two to 21 spindles or more, or in various fixed patterns. There are 32mm horizontal boring machines as well as 32mm vertical boring machines. Some of these machines are horizontal/vertical, where the fixed block can be turned either to drill horizontally into the edge of the panel, or vertically at the bottom or at the top of the panel. Some people have a preference to drill from the top, some prefer to drill from the bottom. In bottom drilling the sawdust falls onto the ground, not onto the panel - this seems to make the most sense.

There are certain machines of this type that are through feed machines for high production of repetitive parts. In this case, the part to be drilled is put in on one side of the conveyor system and comes out on the other drilled with numerous vertical parallel holes and/or horizontal holes as required. Some manufacturers make a horizontal/vertical machine as discussed either parallel to each other or can be set in a straight line, these might have one block of horizontal drills as well. These machines can drill horizontally and vertically at the same time.

Horizontal/Misc.
Boring machines miscellaneous can be for a single hole to be drilled or multiple horizontal or vertical holes, when the fixed spacing of 32mm apart is not required. Some of these machines can drill horizontally and vertically at the same time. The main use for this style of machine is to drill either a single hole in a part or to drill multiple holes all over the part in a single operation. Some of these machines will also drill at angles, especially for the chair industry, but this will be discussed under chair making equipment. In most cases, the piece of wood is placed on a table and the operator presses a button or a foot pedal and a "hold down" will hold the part in place while the part is being drilled. Either the table will go up and drilling heads stay stationary, or the table stays stationary and all the heads come down, drilling the holes in the appropriate place. Most of these machines have a number of motors on the top, or in the case of a horizontal machine, on the side, which are connected by belts to the individual drills that are required. Some of these machines will either be air operated or hydraulic for the movement of the table. Hydraulic, in most cases, will be used when multiple large holes are required. These machines are quite difficult to set up.

Point-To-Point
One of the most popular machines today for large or small shops is the point-to- point boring machine, also known as machining centre. A point to point machine can do various operations simultaneously, mainly drilling, grooving and routing. It is a computer controlled machine called C.N.C. (Computer Numerically Controlled). They can be pre-programmed with numerous programs that will all do completely different functions. This is very useful if a manufacturer has many parts to make but only say 1-10 of each being the same, or has to make an exact part that was damaged “X” months later. After production, the operator can call up the program and make an identical piece without having to do it by hand, or do a major setup on the machine. Point-to-points come in various sizes. Some of them are what are called gooseneck machines, which do not have a complete overhead beam, and some of them have complete overhead beams with the entire mechanism and all the parts of the machine actually hanging from this beam; this would be the heavier duty model. Most of these machines have numerous drilling heads that are independently operated by the computer in various configurations, both horizontally and vertically. Different drill bits of different sizes can be placed into each head so that the operator can select which drill he wants to use, and what operation he wants to do at any location on the work piece. Most of these machines have three axis, an X, a Y, and a Z axis; X being the length, Y being the width (that is, how wide the panel is), and Z is how deep to drill. These machines have the facility to drill randomly at pre-programmed points, therefore called point to point drilling. They can also rout and can therefore be pre-programmed to rout out circles, spheres, headboards with fancy shapes, etc. Some of them have grooving saws as well to cut a groove in the back of the panel which will at a later stage be used for the back panel of the cabinet, specifically in wall units and kitchen cabinets. Some of the newer machines based on some modifications and with a different structured table can now do nested based functions.

Some of them come with multiple routers. You can have numerous routers on one machine. In most cases and for most applications only two are required. In many cases with automatic tool changers (ATC) only one router might be needed. An automatic tool changer (ATC) allows the router to go to a central bank of router tools and pick up a different cutter that might be required for a different operation on the same piece or the ATC might be attached to the head (piggy backed).

Vertical//Misc.
Boring machines miscellaneous can be for a single hole to be drilled or multiple horizontal or vertical holes, when the fixed spacing of 32mm apart is not required. Some of these machines can drill horizontally and vertically at the same time. The main use for this style of machine is to drill either a single hole in a part or to drill multiple holes all over the part in a single operation. Some of these machines will also drill at angles especially for the chair industry, but this will be discussed under chair making equipment. In most cases, the piece of wood is placed on a table and the operator presses a button or a foot pedal and a "hold down" will hold the part in place while the part is being drilled. Either the table will go up and drilling heads stay stationary, or the table stays stationary and all the heads come down, drilling the holes in the appropriate place. Most of these machines have a number of motors on the top, or in the case of a horizontal machine, on the side, which are connected by belts to the individual drills that are required. Some of these machines will either be air operated or hydraulic for the movement of the table. Hydraulic, in most cases, will be used when multiple large holes are required. These machines are quite difficult to set up.

Copyright © MLS MACHINERY INC. 2007 All rights reserved.



Would you like to
add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Panel Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Panel Processing: Machine Setup and Maintenance


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article