Drilling a hole in the side of the trailer - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 04-27-2017, 07:28 PM   #1
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Drilling a hole in the side of the trailer

Can anyone let me know the best way to drill a 7/8" hole in the side of the trailer for the installation of a Zamp port for a portable solar panel.
Thanks
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:34 PM   #2
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Can say I've done it, but if I were to do such I'd use a 7/8" hole saw.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:38 PM   #3
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Can say I've done it, but if I were to do such I'd use a 7/8" hole saw.
I would drill a small (1/8") pilot hole first, then enlarge it to the size of the hole saw bit, likely 1/4", and then use the hole saw.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:51 PM   #4
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I would mask off the area you wish to drill and then drill with a hole saw . I find the tape stops the gel coat from chipping out.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:58 PM   #5
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Drilled lot's of f.g. Yes, a pilot hole is a good idea.

Usually it's a problem free situation. On thin material, where there isn't much wall to prevent the pilot drill from wandering, I sometimes take a piece of wood a few inches square and drill it with the hole saw I'm using. I then tape it over area, using the pilot drill to center it. Not required but prevents little accidents that could damage the surrounding area.

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Old 04-27-2017, 08:09 PM   #6
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I agree with the suggestions of taping and drilling a pilot hole before drilling the 7/8" hole. There are videos on-line of drilling holes into fiberglass boat hulls that maybe worth watching and also sealing the hole afterwards with Sikaflex 292 or 3M 5200.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:15 PM   #7
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My suggestion is having Escape drill the hole, that's what I am doing on May 23. My skills are not sufficient that I would trust putting a hole into my trailer! You are close enough to do so Barry.

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Old 04-27-2017, 08:21 PM   #8
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I use painters tape and put it over the area then drill, hole saw with pilot hole makes sense. The painters tape helps prevent chipping the gel coat as others have mentioned.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:40 PM   #9
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You can also drill a pilot hole and then drill it out with a versa bit .
Go slow and don't force the bit. They make a versa bit that goes up to 7/8" , which is the same size as a 1/2" electrical KO.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:46 PM   #10
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I used a sharp Forstner bit, which made a nice, very clean hole.
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Old 04-27-2017, 08:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
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My suggestion is having Escape drill the hole, that's what I am doing on May 23. My skills are not sufficient that I would trust putting a hole into my trailer! You are close enough to do so Barry.
Good thing you don't hang out with me. I'd be making all kinds of holes for you!
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:09 PM   #12
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I like step drills. They self pilot and make clean holes. Hole saws wander too much. Tape on the fiberglass is good. Put tape on the step next to where you want to stop. Harbor Freight for $19.99.


.Titanium Coated High Speed Steel Step Bit Set 2 Pc
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:21 PM   #13
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Good thing you don't hang out with me. I'd be making all kinds of holes for you!
Those are big holes ! You are one brave soul ! Pat
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:25 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies. I had initially thought of using a hole saw but second guessed myself after looking at how coarse the teeth were and was then worried about chipping the gel. Is the coarseness of the teeth a concern? I do have a 7/8" Forstner bit so if that works I might give it a try, has anyone else used that type of bit?
Barry
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:55 PM   #15
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I do have a 7/8" Forstner bit so if that works I might give it a try, has anyone else used that type of bit?
See post #10
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:21 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by barry View Post
I had initially thought of using a hole saw but second guessed myself after looking at how coarse the teeth were and was then worried about chipping the gel. Is the coarseness of the teeth a concern? I do have a 7/8" Forstner bit so if that works I might give it a try, has anyone else used that type of bit?
What I know as a Forstner sounds worse; do you have a sawtooth bit? It seems that what I know as a sawtooth is called a Forstner by some, so maybe it's just terminology.

About Forstner/Saw Tooth Bits - Lee Valley Tools

Either way, I think I would rather use a hole saw to cut just the circle than scrape away all of the fiberglass within the circle.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:21 AM   #17
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1/16 pilot hole, 7/8 inch spade bit halfway, then complete hole with spade bit from other side if accessible. Go easy.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:31 AM   #18
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By "go easy" I mean keep rpms up but use light pressure on the bit. The fiberglass isn't very thick. Start from inside if possible and finish from outside to get a clean edge.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:51 AM   #19
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If you do use a hole saw start it through the gelcoat with the drill in reverse until you have a good groove, then cut through in forward.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:07 AM   #20
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1/16 pilot hole, 7/8 inch spade bit halfway, then complete hole with spade bit from other side if accessible. Go easy.
Sorry but I can't agree with that method. It's a recipe for disaster. The cutting point on a spade bit is tapered. If freehand drilling thin f.g. it will move around and enlarge the pilot hole. Starting again from the other side will make it worse. The hole will not be a precise size or round. Spade bit in a drill press with the piece clamped down, yes; handheld, no.

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