Do You Use?

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about the drills I use for drilling holes in my gourd lamps.

It is thanks to the precisely drilled holes, my lamps create beautiful light patterns on the walls. In some of the bigger lamps like Nepenthis there are nearly 30 thousand holes. Taking into account the number of the drills and the fact that they must be drilled exactly in the direction of the light source, it is very important to work with high quality, easily replacable drills.

The Most Important?

I my lamps I drill holes of 21 different diameters. Unfortunately we can’t find one brand which provides drills in the whole spectrum of diameters. Therefore, I use a few different types of drills.

For me, the most important parameter is the constant shank diameter, which in case of the standard drills changes along with the diameter of the drill itself.

Thanks to the constant shank diameter we can use just one type of the collet with all the drills which makes changing the drills more efficient. With several thousand holes to drill, it does matter.
In practice, just two types of collets are used with all my drills.

Where To Buy?

Ø 0,5 to 2,3 mm 

Drills HSS 203, brand Meisinger or Busch. Shank Ø 2,35mm.
CATALOG: Meisinger, Busch
I bought mine here: Beco-Technic.com

Ø 2,4 / 2,8 / 3,2 mm

 Dremel 628 drills for metal. Shank: variable.

They are sold in sets, but because of the variable diameter of the shank, I use only the ones I need.
We can use 2,4 mm drill with the same collet as in the case of 2,35 mm. With 2,8 and 3,2 we need a bigger collet.

Ø 3 / 4 / 5 / 6mm

Dremel 636 drills for wood.. Shank Ø 3,2mm.

The only typical wood drills with centering point that I use.
Unfortunately, I noticed that now their shank is slightly different and worse than it used to be and thus sometimes it is difficult to fix the drill so that it is perfectly centered.

Keep In Mind

In practice, I rarely drill holes smaller than 1 mm. Most often, I try to make the smallest ones with the diameter of 1,2 mm. Holes smaller than 1 mm do not cast the light well enough. And the smaller the hole diameter, the more precise drilling has to be.

The shanks of most of my drills are shortened so that they can be mounted deeper. It affects the precision of drilling as well.

Precise drilling with drills for metal requires considerable skills and practice because the drill can slide over the gourd’s surface. For me, placing holes exactly where I want is extremely important. Therefore, I always mark the exact location of each hole. Puncturing this place is enough. You do not need to draw auxiliary squares as you can see in the picture.

You should pay attention to the fact that the rotary tool should be placed high enough. Then, the flexible shaft does not tire your hands so quickly. This advice is primarily for beginners. I additionally attach the rotary tool to ensure it does not swing while hanging because it can also be disturbing.

These are the drills that I use and which have proved to be the most useful for me in making gourd lamps over the years. Of course, there are a lot of similar drills in the market, but I hope that my advice will be helpful, especially for those who are starting their adventure with the gourd.

Write a comment

Patty · 13:45 · 30/05/2020 - Reply

I have been trying for a while now to make a lamp. I have ruined several guords because when drilling , some holes are fine and then I will have one that grabs and tears a big hole. I am so frustrated and don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Or if I need a different tool. The Pro Carver I bought from Welburn is what I’m using. What advice could you give me? Thank you for your help! Patty

Przemek Krawczynski · 08:10 · 10/08/2020 - Reply

Hello and sorry for so late reply.
Do you use Pro Carver for drilling holes? I use Presto turbine only for carving. For all drilling work I use Dremel tool.
I really don’t know if your problem comes from the tool you use or is it just a matter of practice.
Since couple of years I always mark the exact location of each hole before drilling. This helps a lot in making each hole precisely in the place I want it to be.

Günay Bilgin · 16:59 · 02/10/2021 - Reply

Mükemmel ve öğretici anlatımınız var.

Manon Meloche · 21:47 · 28/11/2021 - Reply

When marking hole. do you burn it, or puncture?! what is that tool, interesting, small!?

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