Pin Vise Drill - Tutorial & Tips

Pin vise drilling is a straightforward process that many people shy away from, especially when there are tight tolerances such as when drilling small armor gun barrels, Space Marine Storm Bolter cross-drilling and other detailed tasks. Here are few tips to make things easier.

  • Start with a small bit first and then move to a larger bit when doing detail work.
  • Reverse the twisting motion when removing the bit as it cleans the hole of the filings.
  • For tricky alignment of holes, use a spot of paint, fit the parts together, separate and you'll see where the holes need to be drilled. Alternately you can fit the parts together and then drill though them, puttying the hole (this makes the most accurate pin placement).
  • Plastic and resin drills quickly. Take your time with metal. If you force things you'll break your finer bits. Consider thicker bits when working with metal. 
  • Use a light touch when twisting and drilling. Forcing the bit into the hole will jam and break your bit.
  • Always watch the angle of your bit to align it properly with the model.
  • When drilling plastic, start pilot holes with the tip of a safety or T pin. That small indentation helps guide your bit to the proper place. It works wonders for gun barrels.

Don't be hesitant to reinforce and support your miniature's oversized guns and muscly arms by pinning them. There's nothing worse than having your army make a morale check because your general's arm falls off. It doesn't take that long and its well worth the effort.


  1. Squad painter, thanks for taking time to create tutorial. Good timing. I had been looking around for pin vise, although I did not know what it was called. Saw one at Game Empire and it was $18 bucks so thought I would look for better price. I downloaded a 40% off coupon and went to Michaels art super store intending to pick up some glue, when I saw one Testors' Pin Vise there for $18 bucks I snapped it up to use with 40% one item coupon. I like the look of Pin Vice in your post, because it looks like the drill bits store in the handle, which probably makes too much sense for Testors. Looking forward to using safety pin trick on some Armourfast gun barrels. Keep up the good work. Tank Taco

    1. TT - I don't know where I stumbled across this pin vise drill. I have had it for a long time now. It does a pretty good job, and yes, the bits fit in the handle when not in use. The only thing that I don't like about it is that the top of it doesn't have a rotating head to rest one's finger. But I have learned to do without it.

      Thanks for reading and good luck drilling out those barrels! - Jeff


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