Drilling for Hideaways

ostat

Member
Jul 21, 2010
97
North Carolina
I have been an upfitter for 10+ years but I am wondering does anyone have a GREAT idea or solution to getting debris out of light housings after drilling for hideaways? I have used air hose, tape reveresed on a clothes rack and the old classic art of banging and shaking it around. Any ideas???
 

Fluffy126577

New Member
May 24, 2010
721
Toledo, OH
I don't know how it would work but I know seeing mechanical shows putting something like Vaseline or some other type of grease on the bit when drilling. The debris would attach to the grease vs. falling in. I have seen this done when drilling into transmissions so no metal pieces fall into the shaft.
 

Klein

Member
May 22, 2010
966
Texas
I drill upside down so that some of the chips/debris fall down. Then whatever else is left I take a shop vac, tape up all the holes except one and suction from the one open hole rotating to each hole and taping others to cover all my bases while shaking the assembly around to loosen any stuck flakes. It works for me. Take about 15 minutes for an average assembly. Not sure what the pros do but works for me perfectly.
 

GranPrix

Member
May 23, 2010
530
FL
Klein said:
I drill upside down so that some of the chips/debris fall down. Then whatever else is left I take a shop vac, tape up all the holes except one and suction from the one open hole rotating to each hole and taping others to cover all my bases while shaking the assembly around to loosen any stuck flakes. It works for me. Take about 15 minutes for an average assembly. Not sure what the pros do but works for me perfectly.

Same exact process here.
 

ERM

Member
May 22, 2010
720
Omaha, NE
After drilling, I leave two holes uncovered. One for the shop vac to be placed on and the other to vary the size of the opening with my hand. By allowing air to be sucked though the open hole, you allow air current to flow through the housing which picks up the particles. By varying the size of the hole with your hand, you can increase and decrease current which in turn loosens any stuck particles. You can then swap holes and repeat the process for any other stubborn particles. Usually have very good success with this.


Tony
 

unlisted

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
7,333
NA
Heck, I use the shop vac while drilling.. almost never have issue.. if I do its the shop vac + some compressed air... always does the trick for me.
 
May 21, 2010
1,176
NJ & IA
Can someone create a guide to drilling hideaways from start to finish? It is the one thing i was always nervous about doing because if i screw it up then i need to replace the entire headlight assembly...thanks
 

unlisted

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
7,333
NA
1. Figure out where you want to drill the darn hole first! :lol:


2. CLEAN the heck out of the exterior of the light housing, where you plan on drilling. Clean it good- I prep with a rag wipe down, than 99% alcohol.


3. Get a suitable hole saw, or other drill bit. (some like step drills, I do not)


3a. IF it is double walled, and there is a gap between the two, use a larger hole saw first to cut the outer wall, and cut the inner wall with the proper sized hole saw, following the centre (pilot) drill hole the larger hole saw left. (for your sanity, use the same size centre pilot hole drill bit thingy)


4. If you are like me, somehow "jerry rig" a shop vac to a already existing hole and (ideally) have the light housing turned in such a fashion that the shop vac hole is below where you are cutting. (gravity rocks)


5. Use a slow speed rotation, making sure NOT to MELT the darn hole you are cutting. (you may have to stop on occasion, etc.. makes for a much cleaner, easier to deburr hole if its not "burned")


6. Cut/drill hole.


7. Use a sharp knife/xacto knife to deburr the hole.


8. Clean out any remaining (if any) debris with compressed air, shop vac, finger if need be. -MAKE SURE your mitts are VERY CLEAN if you use a finger, gunk, even sweat from your fingers will leave a mark on the internal mirror part...


9. Trial fit the strobe/led module in place, and drill the pilot hole for the mounting screw(s). Clean debris if necessary.


10. Run a bead of silicone around the strobe/ LED Hideaway flange. (if not using press fit strobes) Be liberal around mounting screw holes. (run the bead between the lighthead and mounting screw) I prefer silicone over ANY gasket that shows up with a kit- I always have had gaskets fail from summer/winter weather after a few years- silicone has held up for over 5 years without issue thus far.


11. Press fit the Strobe/LED module into place, making sure the silicone squishes out a bit. Make sure to line up any mounting screws with the strobe/LED module.


12. Screw the mounting screws in place. More silicone may "bleed" out from further compression. If you cut the hole to proper size you should not get any silicone inside the housing.


12a. Note- you will have silicone on the tips of the screws- reach inside with a paper towel, (or finger) and remove it if you wish from the screw head.


13. Connect the wires and remount the light housing where it belongs.


Profit?
 

C2Installs

Member
May 24, 2010
477
Tennessee
After drilling hundreds upon hundreds of HAW holes, and suffering greatly for the fracking shavings, I was about ready to just give up on the dang things. For all the hassle of drilling/cleaning the lights, the PITA of the newer composite headlight housing designs, smaller reflectors in the rears, too big reflectors in the front, manufacturer warnings and voided warranties, need to remove the front bumper covers on some cars, and so on...I just felt the payoff was not worth it. Then came LED HAWs to solve some issues, create their own, and re-interest customers.


So, I was stuck with HAWs, and had to deal with it. Here's the thing...your "miracle" methods or tricks might work well on onesie, twosie jobs, but for repeated installs, ease of install, and speed of install, you can't be spraying Static Guard in light housings, can't be washing them out with water, can't usually use two hands to drill and hold a vacuum nozzle by yourself, etc. Compressed air always, always has trace lubricant and or moisture in it. Vaseline? Forget that, last thing I need in a halogen light housing is grease or oil to get on the bulbs and blow them. And cleaning up Vaseline of Vaseline-covered shavings that get slung off the drill bit into the reflector or lens area? Ughhh. :x


Well, I finally found a way to solve the shaving problem. After abandoning wood-type hole saws because of the mess, inconsistent hole sizes, and such, I decided to again try step bits. Early tries with them were a bit of a let down. Still made lots of shavings, and single flute designs would tear the plastic and catch. Another problem was finding an affordable one that was good quality and had a one-inch final size while also being able to pilot the hole. Local sources were not satisfactory, but an online search finally located the "Holy Grail" of HAW bits.


awww.evolutionpowertools.co.uk_images_2_mag_acc_large_stepdrills.jpg


It cuts an perfect one inch hole in seconds. It leaves almost no shavings, instead "apple-peeling" the debris into easy to manage spirals that are simple to remove and tend to actually extract themselves from the housing by wrapping down, around the bit. It pilots its own hole, starting with a 1/4" tip. It is very sharp and, if not abused or used on metal, should last through thousands of holes. It is about 2 1/2" long, so you have to watch the depth to avoid hitting the front (clear lens) of the housing. My rule on this, is that if the housing location is not deep enough for the step bit, then it's likely not suitable for a HAW, as the clearance is needed for heat management. Anyway, this is the one I got...


http://www.evolutionpowertools.co.uk/us/stepdrills.html


I got the SD10. Actually, I bought two. No, you can't have one. They are 1/4" to 1" in 1/16" increments. They come in a plastic storage tube with a screw on cap. They have a 3/8" shank and use two flutes for faster, cleaner cuts. I can run it and have a hole done and fully clean in under 30 seconds. I drill as inverted as possible, but don't fret over it. A quick zap with a shop vac gets any stray stuff out (HINT: remove all bulbs from housing to avoid mint-tornadoes inside which spin and scatter debris into the corners.) No need to de-bur. Haven't torn any reflectors, either.


Best part, I paid about $25 each for them. That is very reasonable for a one tool solution to any problem. I've already run over 100+ holes with the one I have with no issues. Find one, buy one. I don't care how good you think your current hole saw is, this one is better. ;)
 

ostat

Member
Jul 21, 2010
97
North Carolina
I am ordering the step bit...Yeh I can get most of the debris out but when having many many cars to upfit each year, I don't have time to spend much time on each fixture. Thanks for the tips, how does the step bit work when you have the double wall light housings? Do you use a large hole saw for the first hole then the step bit? How does that work out? Thanks
 

EL1998P71

Member
May 23, 2010
704
Sterling Heights Mich
I used a Fine tooth Hole saw that we get from Production Tool (local suppler)


I also use a vacuum and drill from the bottom, so the bits fall to the floor.


But we have almost entirely stopped drilling into headlight housings.


For one, most headlights are a 2 chamber housing.


The chrome is almost ceramic light, and when the the drill goes thru,


the chrome almost explodes, and there's a fine dust inside.


Sealing is an issue, the light must breathe, so any condensation will get inside


and make the insides worse (worse case)


Also, most headlights have alot of black surfaces and only chrome buckets, which for adjusting


need to move, so if the alignment is off, and you drill it, you can't adjust it, cause the hide-a-way is in the way.


It's been almost 2 years now since I upfiitted a vehicle with hide-a-way strobes, it's been mostly Vertex or LAW's.
 

Andy L.

Member
Jun 16, 2010
282
Michigan
C2Installs said:
....
awww.evolutionpowertools.co.uk_images_2_mag_acc_large_stepdrills.jpg


....

+1 I've tried most all the other methods listed with a shop vac. Matt got me started on these bits a few years ago and I have to say this is the best method by far! I've installed probably 70-80 with this setup. As said, the bit forms a "peel" of plastic that can easily be pulled out if it doesn't just fall on its own. I still try to drill with the housing above the drill just to aid in having any small pieces that may form to fall out of the housing.
 

UndercoverVLS

Member
Jun 1, 2010
337
NY
Those bits are great, only thing is you have to be careful you don't drill too much. Wouldn't recommend to the first time user/installer.
 

linemanjas

Member
May 26, 2010
115
Layton, Utah
I followed the link, hit the "buy online" button, enter the good ole U. S. of A. as the region and get sent to a distributor but they don't offer the step bits you spoke so highly of. You got any more info or perhaps a different source?


Thanks, Jason C
 

cajunblitz

Member
May 20, 2010
1,217
Saint Martin Parish LA
linemanjas said:
I followed the link, hit the "buy online" button, enter the good ole U. S. of A. as the region and get sent to a distributor but they don't offer the step bits you spoke so highly of. You got any more info or perhaps a different source?

Thanks, Jason C

http://www.toolfetch.com/step-drill-bits.shtml
 

linemanjas

Member
May 26, 2010
115
Layton, Utah
TritonBoulder47 said:
I've been using step-bits for years... They are a great tool to have regardless of what you're doing...

I agree, I'm gonna atempt some Sound Off Undercover LED hideaways in the wife's new Grand Cherokee. And I didn't want to use the regular old Klein stepbits that I have on my tool bench. After the glowing praise and testimonial that C2Installs left I figured I'd give these Evolution bits a try. Not a bad price either as some of them can be upwards of 50 or 60 bucks. Thanks for the link cajunblitz, appreciate the help.


Jason C
 

ELS

Member
May 21, 2010
129
USA NY
i pop out the stock light bulb and stick a shop vac hose over it while drilling the hole. Sucks up 95% of shavings before they even drop.
 

C17LVFD

Member
May 21, 2010
1,539
Harrisburg, PA
EL1998P71 said:
But we have almost entirely stopped drilling into headlight housings.
For one, most headlights are a 2 chamber housing.


The chrome is almost ceramic light, and when the the drill goes thru,


the chrome almost explodes, and there's a fine dust inside.

So I think I've found a way to "mop" up the ceramic type dust that's so hard to get in headlight housings nowadays. Ran into this issue tonight while doing some "modifications" to my tahoe headlights. Take a swiffer sweeper cloth and stuff it into headlight assembally... then use a flexible claw pickup tool like this (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001Q5NK0A/ref ... nkCode=asn) and a lil shaking to move the swiffer cloth around the housing... It's worked wonderfully and allows you to get into the corners where just vacuuming won't be as effective... Just one more thing to try.
 

theroofable

Member
May 23, 2010
1,379
New Jersey
I use the shop vac method, but now I wont due to a problem I ran into. While sucking up the shavings and other "junk" inside the housing, an internal lense that was only being held in with 3 pins (two bottom, one top) got unhooked from its position and messed up everything. And the worst part is that I cant get it back into position, it rattles, and also rests up against the bulb, so I have to find out a way to keep it from melting to my bulb. Im going to try to cut it with some shears, but I have had trouble trying to get any cutters into the the one inch hole. The haws do look good though. :p
 

unlisted

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
7,333
NA
What kind of lens, and do you have any photos?


First thing that came to my mind (for removal) would be large curved hemostats- from a medical supply company. Reach in, and yank er out..
 

theroofable

Member
May 23, 2010
1,379
New Jersey
Its my 05 Jeep Liberty, Ill post some pictures of it, but the strange thing is that it was on the top and I drilled the bottom of the housing. Its one of those double bubble like taillight housing. I cant get it out and I dont think it will melt either since it was already very close to the bulb. The leds haws look super bright in there, I was actually impressed with them.
 
Background: Upfitting cars for 13 years total, mainly dealership installed accessories (leather, moonroofs, remote start, video, nav, spoilers, etc.) We are cutting our teeth on some emergency lighting equipment.


2011 Fusion installed many things including customer (agency) supplied me with 4 whelen vertex for the high beams and the backup lights.


Since this was one of my first times doing haws/laws I messed with it for awhile. I decided the best way to clean it was to make a small flexable tube (we use it for drain lines on a moonroof). I taped it to the shov vac and then stuck the tube inside the housing. I wished i would have done it when i was drilling but i didnt think of it till later. It worked verty well and even got all the fine powder that normally wouldnt come off (even with a swiffer). This worked very will and I think if i were to do it again i would have placed a small clothes hanger (wire or something similar) into the tube to give it a little more rigidity.


Give it a shot folks, I think you might like it.


Thanks


Kent
 

MPD 818

Member
May 25, 2010
1,317
Murfreesboro TN
We have had the same problem, and tried something new the other day. By taking a small propane torch and heating the hole saw you cause the debris to melt, and it makes a cleaner hole with a lot less mess. The only downside is that you tend to wear out your hole saw a lot quicker.
 
I just cant seem to justify using a hole saw in this application. I prefer a unibit or step bit only because the chance of the hole saw causing damage to the lense or housing if it gets snagged. I can see how extreme bit heating could help but i am talking about what the bit cant catch. I thave to give thanks to all the ideas that i read on here before doing the install because it definately helped me.
 

LawMan902

Member
Mar 29, 2011
288
FL, USA
I have a tip that doesn't quite make drilling the holes any easier, but sure makes cleanup easier.


After drilling for my first set of HAW's, I was having an issue getting the debris out of the light housing, as many people do. I tried a couple different methods, some mentioned here, but none of them really worked to my satisfaction... Then I just happened to glance up at my fish tank, more specifically the gravel vacuum hanging next to the tank, and got a brilliant idea. I grabbed the gravel vac and out of sheer curiosity, stuck the larger rigid vacuum end into the tube on my shop vac. Perfect fit! So this left me with the smaller (i'd say about 1/4" id) flexible hose part coming out from my shop vac. Now this was just a little too flimsy, so I decided to cut a straight section (approx 14-16" long) of wire coat hanger, and tape it every couple inches to the tube. This allowed me to bend the flimsy tube to whatever angle I wanted, allowing me to reach very hard to reach places and small crevices in the light housing. Works great! All together, took me about 10 minutes, and the cost of the gravel vac is about $4-5.


As far as bits, I found a fairly fine-toothed hole saw at a local hardware store that the employee reccomended, and said was best suited for plastic and pvc. So far I have had great luck with it, but I may give those stepped bits a try on a spare light housing I have laying around to see the difference.


This isn't the exact one I have, but it will give you an idea...


ai.ebayimg.com_16__C_nF8fw_Wk__24_KGrHqZ__lYEz_2_5gwYBNDtvISMSQ___35.JPG
 
Sep 13, 2010
761
Holland, Michigan
I haven't had bad luck with a 1 inch hole saw. What I did was took it to my bench grinder and ground the flared teeth flush with the rest of the bit itself. It works perfect.
 

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