3D printed drill jigs for dowel joints

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We had to build a wooden room divider. We had at least 20 laminated oak wood boards which had to be assembled using dowels.

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We had to make a lot of end to face grain joints. All the boards had to be positioned at a 10 degrees angle to the edges of the horizontal boards. In the same time, they had to be positioned parallel to each other and perpendicular on the horizontal planks.

The wooden living room divider

As you can see, we needed a lot of perfect holes. To make all these repetitive drilling, we printed our first dowel jig to drill quickly, easy and accurate. These two 3D printed drill jigs helped us a lot:

  • we printed one jig for drilling the holes into the boards’ ends
This jig for dowel joints was used to drill holes into the end grain of the boards
  • the other one was printed to drill the holes onto the face of the horizontal boards.
With this 3D printed jig for dowel joints we drilled the holes into the face grain of the horizontal boards

Each jig has 2 holes. We made 4 short pieces of steel pipe and glued them in the printed jigs. The steel pieces were used as bushings to hold the drill bit in the right position. We also used them to avoid drilling the printed jigs. We chose the size of the steel rod taking into consideration the size of the wooden dowels and the drill bit.

The two 3D printed dowel jigs

The dowel jig for drilling holes into the ends has two larger edges. That way we could position the jig quickly and we also could fix it with two spring clamps in no time.

The dowel jig has two larger edges to hold it with two spring clamps
The dowel jig is positioned on the end of the oak wood board
The dowel jig is positioned on the end grain of the oak wood board

The repetitive holes were drilled very quickly and the result was the same, each time. The holes are positioned at the same distance to the edges and the wooden dowels are positioned perpendicular to the ends.

The holes drilled with the dowel jig look perfect
The drill jigs for dowel joints works great as the wooden dowels are perpendicular to the end of the board
The wooden dowels are perfectly positioned into the holes drilled with our 3D printed jig

The jig for drilling holes onto the face of the horizontal boards has one large edge used as a stopper. The stopper has a 10 degrees angle to the edge of the board. Another purpose of this stopper is that the jig can be held with an F clamp or a spring clamp. This way the jig will not move when drilling the holes.

The dowel jig is positioned on the face of the oak wood board
The dowel jig for drilling holes into the face of the oak wood board is printed so it can be positioned at 10 degrees to the edge

The holes drilled with this dowel jig are also straight. The distance between the holes and the edges of the board is equal. The wooden dowels are positioned perpendicular to the face of the board. The angle between the boards drilled into the ends and the board drilled onto the face is 10 degrees, as we intended when designing the jig.

The holes drilled with the dowel jigs perfectly matched

The two boards are perpendicular to each other.

The dowel joint made using the 3D printed jigs

So, the 3D printed drill jigs for dowel joint were used for repetitive drilling holes. In the end, all the vertical boards were perfectly aligned at the same distance to each other and at the same angle, 10 degrees, to the edges of the horizontal boards.

The dowel joints, end grain to face grain, looks perfect
Four oak wood boards positioned on the base board

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