Model Railroad Tips: Basics of Drilling and Tapping

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If you want to build your own rolling stock, locomotives and structures from scratch for your model railroad layouts, chances are you’re going to need to know how to drill and tap holes. Most model railroaders may not know the difference between drilling and tapping and the kind of holes each technique creates, but there is an important distinction that must be made between the two before you starting cutting into resin, brass or any other material. In this lesson, we teach you the basics of drilling and tapping, and introduce some expert model railroad tips you’ll need to drill and tap connectors for your next layout.

Essential model railroad tips for drilling and tapping

To help you figure out how to properly drill and tap holes to create connections for the elements on your layouts, modeler George Sebastian-Coleman walks you through the step-by-step process for drilling and tapping, teaching you a variety of model railroad tips that are vital for safely and effectively drilling and tapping holes into any kind of material.

George begins the expert demonstration of model railroad tips by showing you how to use a pin vice to drill a small hole into a resin boxcar. While he works, he explains the major differences between drilling, which creates a clean hole, and tapping, which gives you the threads that allow you to firmly fasten a screw.

You’ll first learn how to apply a coupler to a boxcar by drilling, and discover some simple model railroad tips that will help your drill bit more easily cut through the resin at the proper angle. Then George teaches you the same process but this time utilizing a tool that allows you to slowly “tap” into the resin. These model railroad tips for drilling and tapping are easy to learn, and they are essential techniques for any serious model railroader. You’ll be glad you took the time to learn this useful method!