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Trouble pulling hole in solid - adds in either direction


I am just learning this great tool but have run into a problem using an  imported .step box design found here:

The design imports fine and I can add to surfaces but cannot make holes in the case. If I draw a circle on an endplate and then pull it towards me the I see a cylinder coming out of the surface - as expected. But if I go in the other direction then I see a cylinder coming out of the back side instead of a hole.

I an new to this but if I create a new cube of stuff and draw a circle on it then I can make into a hole just like the tutorials show so there is something different  in the 'solid' in the imported parts but it seems the same in properties

The screenshot below shows the issue - I can pull a hole on new material but not the imported end plate. - any ideas?










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