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Last Updated on June 4, 2011

Drilling Holes in Carbon Fiber

When drilling carbon fiber, it is important to go slow.  Drilling fast through carbon fiber will create heat and dull your drill bit.   You can not use wood drill bits to drill through carbon fiber.  You have to use drill bits that are designed to drill through metal, such as cobalt drill bits.

It is also best to start with a smaller drill bit size then your desired hole size.   For example, When I say to drill a 1/8″ hole, first drill the hole with a 1/16″ bit then drill with a 3/32″ bit then drill with your final hole with a 1/8″ bit.  Drilling in stages, will extend the life and sharpness of your bits.  It will keep the material from splitting and you will get a cleaner  and more accurate drilled hole.


Drill airframe plates

First find the center of all the plates and drill a 1/8″ hole at the center.

Now that the center hole is drill, stack all the plates together and line up their center holes.

Take one of the 3mm x 12mm hex screw and 3mm nut and bolt all the plates together.

Doing this will ensure that the corner holes will line up through all the plates.

Screwed Airframe Plates, ready for drilling


Now, drill four 1/8″ holes 6mm in from the plate corners for all plates.

1/8 holes drilled 6mm offset into a airframe plate


Drill arm support plates

Take two of the airframe plates and bolt them together using the center hole.

Drill four 1/8″ holes in a cross pattern 25mm / 1″ from center.

Drill Arm Support Plates

Take one of the arm support plates and use it as hole template to drill the eight holes for the arms.   Place the four arms in a cross configuration, the arms should touch each other at the center.  Place one of the arm support plates on top of the four arms.   Line up the plate holes so  that you can see the arms through the holes.

Using the plate as a template, drill the two holes through the arm for each arm.  You will want to drill these holes over the edge of a table so that you don’t drill through your table.


Drill mount holes for ArduPilot Mega board

Take one of the remaining airframe plates.   Take the ArduPilot Mega board and place it top center it on the plate with the front of ArduPilot Mega parallel to the plate.  This also now marks the front of the aircraft.

Drilled ArduPilot Mega Plate

Using the ArduPilot board as a template for your holes, drill the three 1/8″ holes into the airframe plate.

Take the vibration foam that you cut for the ArduPilot Mega.  Place the ArduPilot Mega on top of the foam and drill three 3/32″ holes through the boards mounting holes and the vibration foam.

Drilled ArduPilot Mega Vibration Pad


Drill mount holes for landing skid
Take the last airframe plate.  Using the landing skids as a template drill the four 1/8″ holes into the airframe plate.


Drill mount holes for motors
Take the one of the cross plate that came with your motors.  Place the cross plate on top of the Y motor mount plate that we made.  Line up the cross plate so that the center hole is top center of the Y motor mount.

Cross Plate on Handmade Motor Mount

Use the cross plate holes as template for drilling your holes for the Y motor mount.

Drill the three 1/8″ holes through the cross plate into the Y motor mount.

Drill a fourth hole 20mm / .75″ from the center drill hole.

Repeat this process for the remaining 3 motor mounts.


Drill motor mount holes into arms

Place Y motor mount on top of arm.  Align the arms end to the bottom of the Y

Y Motor Mount Aligned with Edge of Arm

Use the holes on the Y motor mount to drill two 1/8″ holes through the arm.  Repeat this process for the other three arms.


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