1. Are you a Tarantula hobbyist? If so, we invite you to join our community! Once you join you'll be able to post messages, upload pictures of your pets and enclosures and chat with other Tarantula enthusiasts. Sign up today!

To Melt or Drill, That Is The Question.

Discussion in 'Tarantula Enclosures' started by Tortoise Tom, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2018
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I bought these on-line to try out. I'm not sure I want to use them because the lids are very light weight and there is almost no tension holding them on. I'd have to tape them down.

    I figure they are good for practice on making ventilation holes, if nothing else.
    IMG_5829.JPG


    I tried drilling the holes, and that is a pain. The larger size drill bit takes a while to get through and if I push too hard, I know the material will crack. I had to drill with a small bit and then drill again with the larger bit. Then I had to go back and clean all the holes up and remove the plastic burrs. The edges seem a little sharp too.
    IMG_5827.JPG


    Melting holes with a soldering iron was much easier, but the holes are not uniform and some might be too big for a smaller sling.
    IMG_5825.JPG

    I obviously need to also work on making my holes in a straight line and equal distance apart, but that will come with practice.

    What's the best way to make these holes?
    Dave Jay likes this.
  2. Mr. P

    Mr. P Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    171
    Trophy Points:
    33
    I just recently made a new top for my Exo Terra enclosure so I could get rid of the screen top. The best and easiest way to make the holes is a step drill bit. All the holes came out clean and uniform.
    Metalman2004 and Dave Jay like this.
  3. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2018
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    703
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I had trouble with the drill, I either had it skating before penetrating, making it messy or with other plastics having the plastic melt onto the bit.
    I found the best way for me at least was to use the soldering iron, but not worry about the hole, just getting the size of the melted rim even. After that I used very small screwdriver as a drill bit to clean the plastic from the hole. I found that when using a soldering iron looking at the size of the actual hole was misleading, melted plastic clogs it, but making the "rings" the same size was easy and much neater. I hope that makes sense.
  4. Metalman2004

    Metalman2004 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2016
    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    534
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I’m a driller. It can be a bit slow but it looks mich better in my opinion. I may have to try a step bit next time.

    If you’re worried about the tops you can get acrylic hasps for like a quarter on ebay. Also, link to those boxes you picked up @Tortoise Tom ?
  5. Mr. P

    Mr. P Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    171
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Here is a pic of the new top I made for my Exo Terra that I am getting ready for a new member. I pulled out the original screening and cut some 1/4 inch acrylic. I then step drilled the holes and siliconed the pieces into the top.

    Enclosure.jpg
  6. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Messages:
    4,248
    Likes Received:
    4,871
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I always used a dremel and small bit for sling enclosures (the plug in, high speed one, not the cheap battery powered one). For big enclosures I just used a drill and appropriately sized bit. Had a few crack, not many though. Its all in the wrist. I use my throttle hand :D
    Dave Jay and Arachnoclown like this.
  7. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2018
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    63
    @Mr. P , Is this what you are talking about?
    steel-core-step-drill-bits-33148-64_400_compressed.jpg

    I'm guessing they have little bitty ones for little holes? I'll check the local hardware stores and give these a try. Thank you for the tip.
    Mr. P and MassExodus like this.
  8. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2018
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    63
    What type of bit? Regular small drill bit?
    MassExodus likes this.
  9. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Messages:
    4,248
    Likes Received:
    4,871
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Thats them. Ive never seen little ones though. We called them unibits and used them to drill through solid steel.
  10. MassExodus

    MassExodus Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Messages:
    4,248
    Likes Received:
    4,871
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Yeah, just eyeball the size you want, and go medium fast and steady when you drill. Different plastics will require different pressure to avoid cracking. Sometimes its thin and brittle so you have to go full speed on the drill with light pressure. It just takes practice really, like anything.
  11. Mr. P

    Mr. P Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    171
    Trophy Points:
    33
    If you drill many items will come with a plastic sheet on that you peel off to prevent scratching, leave it on and take it off after you drill. You can also use masking or painters tape to help kee it from cracking.
    Metalman2004 and MassExodus like this.
  12. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2018
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Found this at Lowes:
    IMG_5849.JPG
    It produced the nice holes in the middle row. A big improvement over my regular drill bits:
    IMG_5854.JPG


    I also found this:
    IMG_5850.JPG
    It was $17.99 and do you see the tip on the bottom right? Its a thin pin. It made these perfect holes also in the middle row:
    IMG_5855.JPG

    Now I've found two good ways to do it and I can't decide which way I like better...
    Dave Jay likes this.
  13. Whitelightning777

    Whitelightning777 Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2017
    Messages:
    1,338
    Likes Received:
    1,591
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Personally I go for melting since I have a butane soldering iron. The key to consistent holes is to go to the exact same depth each time, twist by 1 quarter and withdraw all at the same speed.

    You can make a hole in the cage and a matching one in the lid on each side. Either small screws or cotter pins will work.

    Don't have the lid on when you do this it it'll fuse and you'll have to drill it out.
    Dave Jay likes this.
  14. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2018
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    63
    This is a great tip. Never thought of that. Thank you.

    I tried one of the other tips that came with this new soldering iron and it worked even better than the pin. This new tip was the one on the bottom left in the pic. Its a sharp tapering cone and it makes really clean small, uniform holes.

    I've found a way to get 25 of these little plastic boxes for $2 and change each! This new type I've found has the lid making up about 1/4 of the whole enclosure. I'll use them right side up for terrestrials and upside down for arboreals. I like them better than the deli cups because of the clarity and the ease of removing the tops. Deli cups are cheap and I had them on hand, but I hate how much I have to jostle the whole enclosure to get the lids on or off. A spiderling will be sitting out in ambush position waiting for a meal, and by the time I get the stupid lid open, the sling has retreated in fear.
    Whitelightning777 and Dave Jay like this.
  15. Whitelightning777

    Whitelightning777 Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2017
    Messages:
    1,338
    Likes Received:
    1,591
    Trophy Points:
    113
    You can also add feeding ports to those clear plastic boxes easily for the faster more challenging species as well.
  16. Kymura

    Kymura Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    3,301
    Likes Received:
    3,900
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I used a dremel to drill most things on a lower speed to prevent melting,
    I have made holes in the cheap card box types as well as the larger thicker types.
    Melted more then a few as well with a cheapo soldering gun, think it was six dollars.
    Mini magnets might work for your lid issue, just glue them into the corners :p
    Tortoise Tom and Dave Jay like this.
  17. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2018
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    416
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I saw that for the first time on a recent post here. Where do you get the little buttons to plug the holes?
  18. Arachnoclown

    Arachnoclown Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2017
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    2,570
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I'm a melter....with over 300 Ts I ain't got time to drill. :p
  19. Kymura

    Kymura Well-Known Member 1,000+ Post Club

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    3,301
    Likes Received:
    3,900
    Trophy Points:
    113
    :T:
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018 at 10:31 AM
    Dave Jay and Metalman2004 like this.
  20. Dave Jay

    Dave Jay Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2018
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    703
    Trophy Points:
    93
    If you search "end caps" "hole plugs" on eBay there's a variety of suitable plugs very cheap, I ordered a couple of different sizes to use as water dishes for small enclosures. Once you find the right style copy most of the ad title into the search bar and add "pcs" and/or "×" "*" "x" "X" at the start and the bulk packs will come up which makes them very cheap individually.
    Kymura likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page