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What is a Drill Plate?

J. Airman
J. Airman

A drill plate is a template used to guide the location of a hole. Drill plates are generally held and placed as the drill bit is driven through a hole. The drill plate is often repositioned on the same surface to create a series of uniform holes. Plastic, acrylic, and aluminum are commonly used materials in making inexpensive construction drill plates. Steel drill plates are ordinarily used in automotive and industrial drilling applications.

Mounting on hard surfaces requires precision drilling. Bolts and other mounting hardware seat more evenly and hold the mounted item more securely when their location is correct and the hole is straight. The drill plate works like a stencil to prevent expensive errors when drilling holes for mounting hardware. Drilling directly through a drill plate keeps the tip straight. When the drill tip is driven straight in, the sides of the hole will be perpendicular to the surface for the best possible mount.


Broken bolts can be drilled out using a drill plate to avoid damaging the socket. A bolt with no exposed end can be difficult to remove without first boring into its center. Drill plates guide the bit of the drill down the middle of the bolt until they gain enough friction to twist it out. The drill plates used for fastener removal are often designed for a commonly damaged bolt location on an engine.

Drill plates are used in many different mechanical and construction applications where repetition is essential to the project. Some industrial drill plate are secured to a surface or the drilling machine prior to use. Securing the drill plate keeps the drill bit from drifting off course and creating an oversize hole. The location of the hole is frequently marked with the plate in place using a marker or piece of chalk. The plate can then be pulled away to assess and remeasure the hole location prior to drilling.

Many universal drill plates are designed to cut a range of hole sizes. A hole saw or hole cutter bit is attached to the drill and guided by the corresponding hole size in the drill plate. Holes in hard objects can take several minutes to get through completely. Drill plates hold the teeth of the hollow circular cutting blades on path throughout the hole-making process. Carpentry drill plates are ordinarily held in place by hand or with adhesive tape until the drilling is finished.

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