I recently purchased a L.R Baggs M1a pickup, to pair with the stock fishman in my Rainsong JM1000.
Upon doing loads of research and coming up empty handed in the information way of drilling carbon fiber guitars, I was only finding information about car bonnets etc.
I used that info as a reference to base my decision on.
I am going to share how I made a new input jack hole. IMPORTANT! By attempting my method, you do so at your own risk! If unsure, take it to a pro!
1. Place masking tape over the point upon which you will be drilling, this will prevent chipping of the top layer around the hole.
2. Take it nice and steady. I read that you need high rpm to get through, however I only have a 14.4 volt black and decker battery drill with 5000 rpm max. This proved more than enough when paired with the correct drill bit.
3. I used a ‘step drill bit HSS 5/32 – 1/2″
A step drill bit looks like a cylindrical pyramid type shape, with each size increase on the drill bit, it has a new set of ‘teeth’ to start the drilling process again but on the next size up. Think of it as changing your standard drill bit each time you make the hole slightly larger, but with a step drill bit you don’t have to change the bit as you increase the hole size. And because an input jack socket is 1/2″ (the maximum size on the step drill bit I used) means that you can go through all the way to the end without having to worry about stopping at a certain size on the drill bit before you accidentally go too big.
4. It will take a little bit of effort to get the point of the step drill through the layers of carbon fiber. Keep a steady and straight hand, applying a small amount of pressure as needed to get the drill to keep catching on the fibers, thus allowing it to break through.
5. Once you’ve broken the step drill bit through the first size, and the hole is all the way through, you’ll find that the step drill bit will advance through the sizes like a knife through butter. So be careful not to put too much pressure when increasing each size.
6. You should be able to go all the way up the drill bit to 1/2″ and that should be the hole done.
I had no issue of splintering on the inside of the hole. It’s not to say it won’t happen, it just didn’t happen to me when I did it.
Hope this helps anyone contemplating on drilling into a carbon fiber guitar to install a new input jack.