Shower Basket Sucker Relocation

The outer suckers on the basket in the corner of the shower didn’t line up with the tiles; either tile dimensions have changed in the last half-century or it’s a hard-metric basket. It didn’t look right when I installed it (now that is a grandiose term if I’ve ever misused one), so (when the thing fell off and landed with a clatter a few days ago) I drilled two additional holes as far away from the corner as I could, using a step drill to prevent the plastic from shattering, and it’s all good.

Shower basket - redrilled

Shower basket - redrilled

Sometimes, they’re easy…

You’ll note that I heroically resisted the urge to fire the Thing-O-Matic to print some kind of weird-ass safety-orange interposer plate, just because I could.

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  1. #1 by Steve Ciciora on 2012-01-24 - 08:23

    O.K., I’ll bite… how does a step drill prevent the plastic from shattering, and how would/could I have learned that had I not read this?
    Thanks :-)

    – Steve

    • #2 by Ed on 2012-01-24 - 09:13

      how does a step drill prevent the plastic from shattering

      Well, based on considerable experimentation [sigh] with thin sheets, ordinary twist drills (tend to) grab the plastic with one flute, exert enough force to start a crack, and that’s the end of the sheet. Even if the sheet doesn’t crack, twist drills tend to produce triangular holes, which is generally not what you (well, I) want.

      Step drills have a cylindrical end with a chisel tip lacking grabby edges, so you can slowly ease it into the sheet: the chips curl up very neatly as the tip goes in. That tip (and each successive drill step) holds the sheet in place for the next larger step, which shaves off the top surface with a vertical edge, rather than digging in and pulling up.

      The plastic in this basket seems to be softer than acrylic sheet (probably making it easier to injection-mold and so it won’t shatter when dropped), but it drilled about the same.

      When you’re drilling sheets of anything, a step drill is wonderful… if you need a deep hole in a block, they’re not the right hammer for the nail.

      how would/could I have learned that had I not read this?

      Haven’t a clue… but that’s also one of the reasons I’m writing all this stuff down!

      • #3 by Erik on 2012-01-24 - 10:14

        While we’re sharing The Wisdom of The Step Drill, or something – they’ll drill metals too tough for a light-duty drill press. Because they don’t grab, the Irwin Unibits will drill 1/2″ holes in the steel channel used to support signposts (and, relevant to my job, stream gauges). A 1/2″ twist drill just bounces on the material unless you can gear down to maybe 50 rpm – and our little drill press won’t. Forget the triangular hole – this thing just flat wouldn’t go. Unibit? Gorgeous. But they wear out fast under this sort of duty. :-)

        • #4 by Ed on 2012-01-24 - 12:25

          unless you can gear down to maybe 50 rpm

          That’s below what I can get around here, too. The drills smoke and howl and complain mightily about that kind of abuse.

          But they wear out fast under this sort of duty. :-)

          The next time I must poke a hole in bedframe steel, I’ll try the step drills. My HSS twist drills need sharpening right after a session like that, so perhaps TiN-coated step drills will work better and last longer…

      • #5 by frenzie on 2012-06-21 - 15:57

        This is probably a very naive question, but shouldn’t it work just as well to first drill, say, a 1 or 2 mm hole followed by a larger one?

        • #6 by Ed on 2012-06-21 - 16:22

          followed by a larger one?

          Aye, but then I’d be freehanding each hole twice. With the step drill, I just line it up and bear down until the hole’s big enough.

          Plus, the step drill isn’t as grabby as a twist drill, so the basket doesn’t crawl up the drill bit.

        • #7 by frenzie on 2012-06-21 - 16:57

          Aye, but then I’d be freehanding each hole twice.

          Fair enough, although the small hole should help with lining up properly. (Then again, we’re talking about plastic here…)

          Plus, the step drill isn’t as grabby as a twist drill, so the basket doesn’t crawl up the drill bit.

          Less grabby huh? I wonder if I drill nearly enough to warrant the acquisition of such drill bits then, plus I either hold or clamp down what I’m drilling for obvious reasons other than crawling up. I did see a rather large set of drill bits at one of the el cheapo stores (Aldi or Lidl) recently which may include such things. Perhaps it’s time to pay them a visit to see if that item hasn’t sold out yet. In retrospect I’m not quite sure why I didn’t pick it up. Probably doubts about the quality, even if some of the other tools I picked up there for cheap have turned out just fine. (A nice cheap set of wrenches, a wire cutter, and a set of clamps.)

          • #8 by Ed on 2012-06-21 - 21:37

            a rather large set of drill bits at one of the el cheapo stores

            Around here, that’d be Harbor Freight, the source of single-use tools… [sigh]

            They’re actually not much, if at all, worse than the low end tools found elsewhere. For low-stress / low-duty-cycle use, the drill bits will be fine… if you’re drilling serious metal, then you need something much better.

            I like step drills a lot, particularly for sheet metal, because they’re basically D-shaped drills that produce round holes. No good for thick material; the shower basket’s wall was just about exactly the maximum possible thickness.

        • #9 by frenzie on 2012-06-22 - 06:11

          Harbor Freight seems to specialize in tools; Aldi and Lidl are discount grocery stores that offer all kinds of different things each week to attract people. Last year we picked up a fantastic toaster oven at Lidl for €20 or €30, which is superior to the toaster ovens they’re selling at the regular stores for €60. I don’t know if you have anything like that in the US?

          • #10 by Ed on 2012-06-22 - 07:12

            anything like that in the US?

            Not in Poughkeepsie, that’s for sure… [grin]

  2. #11 by Bill Rutiser on 2012-06-22 - 09:21

    Aldi does have a US presence at aldi.us

    Their website ads suggest they stay close to food items. They have a store in next suburb so I will try to take a look the next time I am in the neighborhood.

    • #12 by Ed on 2012-06-22 - 11:29

      a US presence

      The nearest one seems to be 14 miles away, which might as well be on the far side of the planet: we won’t do a 30 mile bike ride for groceries, even if they throw in a free toaster oven, and who uses a car for groceries? [grin]