About making a Babington burner, I want to know, how does one make the semi-microscopic hole at the end of the ball? I made a 1.5 mm hole and the hole was too large. The result was a very coarse spray and fuel over most of my utensils, but fortunately only the can of fuel caught fire. Fortunately, the other result was short flame time; the flame wasn’t long or strong enough to be sustainable. So, how does one make that tiny hole on the end of the burner? Also, is it possible for me to use this type of burner in a furnace for melting nonferrous metals?

There have been many posts on making the hole. You’ll have to go back in the archives and read them if you want all of the ideas. However, the way I do it is to “peck” drill it in a milling machine with a circuit board drill bit. These are solid tungsten carbide and must be done in a milling machine to guarantee that it does not wobble at the 3,400 RPM required for the operation. These bits come as one piece and have a 1/8-inch shank. They fit in a standard collet. Then you peck drill the hole using 5/1,000-inch pecks. This is done by using the quill stop on the milling machine. Drill down 0.005 inches, come all the way up. Advance the quill stop nut another 0.005 inches, drill, come all the way up…repeat, repeat, etc., until you have drilled through the wall of the ball. Don’t rush it. If you use this method, you will generate a perfect hole and you will not break the drill bit. It is well to have this work done at a good machine shop and just give them the $50 they’ll want for doing it. The drill bits are available at any circuit board supplies house or through McMaster-Carr out of Chicago. They are on the web. They take personal credit cards and ship via UPS to anywhere on the planet.

It would be nice to get one of these needlepoint bits, but another way to bore that minute hole in the ball is to use a laser. Given that the hole is almost microscopic and the hole is bored right on dead center, I do not believe that such an operation would cost an astronomical amount. Unless, of course, it’s one of those new services only some can do and therefore charge high prices for. I’ll try using a needle or a pin to make that hole.

If the pin or needle works, it will be news on this list. Please let us know if it works. My personal feeling is that the laser will cost more than the $50 I quoted. As a production method, yes it might be the way to go, but not for this project. I also don’t think you will have much luck with the the pins and needles. However, I wish you all the luck in the world.