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Kreg KMA 3220 5mm Shelf Pin Jig

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  • Kreg KMA 3220 5mm Shelf Pin Jig

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    I decided to look for the rock bottom cheapest 32mm drilling system available that would let let me create real 5mm holes spaced 32mm apart, that was easy to use, and didn’t require a bunch of setup time. I’m really surprised at how much I like this little Keg jig especially when you consider the price of $34.99, and it has everything included. There were a couple of jigs cheaper but you needed to buy a self-centering 5mm bit to go along with them so they would end up more expensive in the long run.

    Setting it up
    The only setup of the jig itself is setting the depth stop on the 5mm drill bit. Kreg really couldn’t have made this more fool proof. Just slide the stop collar onto the bit and drop it into the storage compartment on the back of the jig. Tighten the set screw on the stop collar and it is all set.
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    First row of holes
    For the vast majority of cabinet hardware, the front mounting hole for drawer slides or European hinges is 37mm from the front of the cabinet. The Kreg jig is set up such that if the edge of the jig is aligned with the front edge of the cabinet, the first row of holes is inset exactly 37mm from the front. I set up a scrap wood fence to align the panel and the jig against. Aligning the bottom of the jig with the bottom of the cabinet puts the first hole 16mm up from the cabinet bottom. Since there will be a 19mm cabinet floor, I used the 2nd hole in the jig to set my first hole at 48mm which is the same position I start with when using the Festool system. Again I used a scrap wood fence for the setup and I’m ready to start drilling.
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    After I drilled my first hole, I set the indexing pin in it and drilled the remaining holes the jig would allow. Then moved the jig to the last hole drilled, set the indexing pin and repeated the process until the end of the panel.
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    I did check the offset of the first hole and it was precisely centered on 48 mm as it should have been.
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    Usability
    Setup was incredibly easy and nearly foolproof if you want to stick with the defaults of 37 and 16mm. If you wanted to use Blum’s Process32, or the KISS methods, you would need to create custom spacers to get your first hole 46.5 or 35 mm from the bottom of the cabinet.

    It has no provision for positioning the second and/or third column of holes in a cabinet where you’d need the holes precisely placed for drawer slides. This is pretty easy to accomplish by making an appropriately sized spacer to put up against the front edge fence. For the Blum 563 slides I’m using I needed spacers of 224 and 416mm for the second and third columns of holes.

    If I went too quickly, I got tear out around the holes. I had to slow down considerably to get clean cuts in melamine. I didn’t test it in some prefinished maple plywood with similar results. It is possible to get a clean hole drilled regardless of the material used, but patience is not one of my strengths so I doubt I could ever drill an entirely clean row of holes.
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    Above are some prettygood holes and below are some pretty bad holes
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    The first hole I drilled was with the jig held by hand against the two fences I set up. With the indexing pin set in a previously drilled hole and holding it against the fence with one hand, I didn’t have any slippage. I really didn’t feel the jig needed to be clamped at any time while I was using it. Both fences and the panel I was drilling were clamped to my bench.

    Since you are drilling through a sleeve, you are always drilling at a 90 degree into the panel and don’t have to worry about holding the drill just right. One more way this jig is idiot proofed.

    Other notes.
    The jig comes with an extension block that you can use to attach multiples of these jigs together to get a single continuous jig. For a standard base cabinet, you’d need to connect 4 of them to drill an entire column without repositioning. The time to reposition the jig was negligible so even with the scant cost of the jig, I don’t know that it would be worth buying multiples.

    It is very small and does have a detachable fence with it so it could be used to drill shelf pin holes in an existing cabinet or book case as well.

    I was actually surprised at how well it worked and how everything was thought through from setup to part storage to the different offsets built into it. I would have liked to see a spot for the hex key for the stop collar on the back, but that is really picking nits.
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    Conclusion
    If you want to dip your toes into 32mm cabinet making or only need to make one or two, you really can’t find a better bang for your buck. I wouldn’t want to build an entire set of kitchen cabinets with it, but there aren’t any limitations that would prevent you from doing so.

    • LCHIEN
      #1
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      Integrated storage is a great idea. Like their pocket hole jig storage box, there's a place for the bit and stop collar, But just like here, there is only one position for the stop collar so it can fit the storage. I would think that you use the same setup over and over so storing the collar in the last position used would be useful in that it saved setup time on the next job if it was similar. But, no, you have to move the collar to store it and reset it the next time. I find that so annoying to have to move the collar to put it away only to have to calibrate it again next time.

    • LCHIEN
      #2
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      I find when using brad point drill bits (as it appears to be here) that if you enter the wood too fast, you get tearout. But if you enter real slowly then the outer spurs cut entirely around before the flutes enter and you get a clean hole. All you need to do to consistently get a clean hole is to enter slowly (Something you quickly get a feel for how slow) and then drill quickly to the remainer of the depth.

    • leehljp
      #3
      leehljp commented
      Editing a comment
      I bought the Rockler type many years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed it - but only used it on 5 separate constructions. Well worth the money. I do think the Kreg is better in that the metal guides will not wear out as fast. Having said that, I have not had a problem with that on my rocker version. The rocker version is longer but that is not always a plus.
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