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How to drill a hole in marble

01.2021

In the micro-world of a construction site, with its myriad of different tradespeople and huge range of tasks and functions to be carried out, it is key that every aspect of an operation is properly executed, no matter how small or trivial it may seem. 

A diamond drill bit is the essential element when working with natural stones and marble

For example, drill a hole” sounds such a simple instruction, but not all holes are born equal so there are some simple guidelines to follow to ensure you don’t ruin the surface you’re drilling or the tool being used. If the material you are drilling is particularly dense, such as natural stone, marble or granite, these rules are more important than ever. 

As we have described in earlier articles, a diamond drill bit is the essential element when working with stone and here you also need to select the appropriate core, choosing between continuous or segmented options. Generally speaking, the continuous bit is decidedly more suited to working with natural stone, particularly when it comes to drilling a hole.  

So, you’ve inserted the drill bit in the milling machine or diamond drill, depending on your set-up, and are ready to start the rotation motion. You should not opt for the standard perpendicular trajectory that you would use when making a hole in the wall with a standard drill, for example. Instead, the key thing is to use an angle of between 30 and 45 degrees, and then, once the surface has been penetrated, change it to 90 degrees.  

The other trick to keep in mind when drilling a natural material such as stone, marble or granite, is to not use too much pressure and instead use an oscillating movement on the drill bit. This not only helps keep it cool but also pushes out the debris so that it doesn’t accumulate in the hole. 

There are many different types of drill to choose from and you might even want to go for an angle grinder which is highly multi-functional, as depending on whether you use an abrasive disc or drill bit, you can hone, cut and create holes. We should also point out that in different countries, drills have all sorts of names, and are sometimes even more commonly known by their brand name. An angle grinder, circular saw or multi-tool are perhaps three of the more generalised names to describe this extremely useful and versatile piece of equipment that you can use with one or two hands, depending on the size, to remove debris from cuts, to polish and buff, to smooth, deburr and, last but not least, cut materials such as marble, limestone and granite. They will generally come with a range of accessories or pieces that you attach to perform the specific task in hand, of which a diamond bit is just one, but a very important one when it comes to quality results with a hard material such as stone. 

 

There are two main elements of an angle grinder (or multi-tool or circular saw) that make working with it easier and more effective: 

  • the diameter of the disc  
  • its power, which derives from a choice or battery or power-operated

Cordless tools are definitely more portable and easier to handle, but they will generally be heavier than a corded tool and of course there is always the limit of battery charge to consider, an issue you won’t have with a corded piece of equipment, however on the flip side, with the latter you obviously require access to a power outlet and the cord itself can hinder freedom of movement. 

 

All photos were taken prior to the closure of 11 March 2020.

 The voltage is another crucial factor because it determines the type of work you can carry out with an angle grinder, but a powerful tool with the right diamond drill bit will make cutting, drilling and honing hard materials such as natural stone far easier.