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Machining Ceramic material

How to enlarge a hole in a ceramic nozzle

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Joseph Noci 103/06/2020 07:24:58
674 forum posts
892 photos

I wish to enlarge the hole in this ceramic nozzle - it is actually a nozzle for a sand blasting machine, but going to be used for something else, unrelated. The nozzle is 35mm long, 15mm OD, with a 5mm through hole. I would like to enlarge the hole to at least 10mm. Does anyone know of a suitable approach?

I have tried to find larger nozzles, etc - none to be found.

The nozzle is the same material as the nozzles on TIG torches it would seem.

I also looked at all the TIG torch nozzle types and sizes - problem is that they all have 'torch' style mounts, with screw threads, etc - making it awkward to pressgang into service the way I am trying to do!



ceramic nozzles.jpg

Paul Barter03/06/2020 07:43:32
103 forum posts
7 photos

How about the cheap hollow diamond drills sold to drill ceramic tiles. These are readily available in various diameters from tile suppliers or the sheds, be prepared to queue!

I hope this helps

Michael Gilligan03/06/2020 08:00:43
15769 forum posts
689 photos

Given the likely nature of the material, I think machining would almost certainly require diamond tools surprise


Ceramic nozzles for blasting, spraying and casting
Blast Noozles Spray Noozles
Welding and Fine Jet Noozles
Break Rings and Casting Nozzles

Ceramic material composition:
· 95%--99.99% Alumina (Al2O3) · Zirconia(ZrO2) · Boron Carbide · Silicon Carbide...


It would be worth browsing what is available that might better approximate what you want:: **LINK**



Edit: Paul’s suggestion is probably the most practical approach to machining

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 03/06/2020 08:04:32

jimmy b03/06/2020 08:16:34
639 forum posts
38 photos

Michael is spot on.

I spent a couple of months, 20 odd years ago, boring out some ceramic gears (made with under size bores).

Diamond inserts were the only thing that worked.


Joseph Noci 103/06/2020 08:33:59
674 forum posts
892 photos

Thanks very much chaps! Paul, your idea is excellent and seems the best option! I did find another process, but that involved raising the material temp to almost white hot, and then boring out...I think not..

Thanks again.



Samsaranda03/06/2020 09:39:56
934 forum posts
5 photos

Arceurotrade used to sell diamond core drills, not sure if they are still available, they perform really well and are not expensive.
Dave W

KWIL03/06/2020 09:56:47
3251 forum posts
63 photos

I remember years ago using a machinable ceramic material for a "particular" project. Whilst "green" it was machinable but then had to be fired to achieve full hard ceramic state. No idea now what it was called.

KWIL03/06/2020 10:01:11
3251 forum posts
63 photos

Here is a start.

Andrew Tinsley03/06/2020 10:01:42
1119 forum posts

Could you use pyrophillite, which is easy to machine. Once made, the item if fired at high temperature and becomes a hard ceramic?

I can't remember the firing temperature, but google pyrophillite and you should get all the necessary data. I have used this material in the past and it is excellent. I suspect that sand blast nozzles are made from this material. The ones I have used have a pink colour typical of pyrophillite.


Martin Kyte03/06/2020 10:16:45
1853 forum posts
33 photos

Eternal Tools may be worth a look.


regards Martin

Paul Lousick03/06/2020 10:30:51
1418 forum posts
542 photos

Diamond tipped drill bits for cutting tiles, glass, etc are cheap on ebay and available in lots of sizes.


Nick Clarke 303/06/2020 10:51:24
780 forum posts
27 photos

You may find a diamond drill exerts an outward force as it goes down the nozzle and looking at your picture the nozzle with a 10mm bore will have walls only 2-3mm thick so breaking it may be an issue.

Should that be the case a diamond burr in a Dremel or similar, while it would take a very long time, might prevent breakage.

Supporting each part with a close fitting metal tubes or bushes (I reckon you would need a stepped one for one end and the thicker part and another for the thinner end) might preserve the nozzle while you work on it.

jimmy b03/06/2020 11:14:13
639 forum posts
38 photos


Edited By jimmy b on 03/06/2020 11:24:52

jimmy b03/06/2020 11:24:30
639 forum posts
38 photos

Nick makes a good point. Some of the gears I had to bore out, were only half inch thick. We had bore half way and turn the part around, as boring through just burst the gear!


David Jupp03/06/2020 11:34:47
730 forum posts
17 photos

There are ceramics available which can be machined with standard metalworking tools - another possible option.

Edited By David Jupp on 03/06/2020 11:35:31

Brian Oldford03/06/2020 11:39:49
661 forum posts
15 photos

Is this for one of those hush hush projects that if he told us what is was he'd have to kill us? cheeky

old mart03/06/2020 19:11:39
1795 forum posts
138 photos

They only seem to be freely available in up to 7mm bore. That size would be a better starting dimension to use a diamond burr to enlarge.

Paul Barter03/06/2020 21:30:50
103 forum posts
7 photos

Hi Joseph, Just to clarify, the drills I suggested are hollow steel tubes of the approximate desired hole diameter,with diamond grit embedded in the cutting end,
they grind their way through, thus cutting force is very low and no radial pressure as either the cutting action of a twist drill. However no self extraction of grinding debris, so peck and squirt with water for cooling and debris flushing is the way to go.
You could possibly fit the item in a lathe Chuck and drill from the tail stock, as the forces involved are low, you can use a gentle grip in the chuck, but protect your lathe bed from the water and grit!

regards Paul

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