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How do you drill through stainless steel at home?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Danny D., Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    What's the trick to drilling a hole through 1/2" thick stainless steel?

    From my guardrail experience, I had bought titanium coated drill bits.

    So I thought it would be easy to drill a hole in a stainless steel can
    opener (for hanging on a loop outside by the BBQ cooler).


    I can't make a dent!

    What's the trick to drilling through stainless steel?
  2. chaniarts

    chaniarts Guest

    1st, you don't have a Ti drill bit. you may have a TiN coated drill bit.
    the TiN isn't to make it stronger or sharper, it's to make it look
    better, for the most part.

    you probably want a cobalt drill bit.

    2nd, you probably want to google this question. there are plenty of
    resources on the net on how to do this.
  3. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

  4. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    Indeed. If there was some other way to hang it by the tail,
    I would.
  5. DerbyDad03

    DerbyDad03 Guest

    Aren't you worried about voiding the warranty?
  6. I had to drill some stainless steel so I purchased a small set of Cobalt
    Silver & Deming Drill Bits and used Tap Magic cutting fluid.
    I've had to drill all sorts of stainless steel when servicing restaurant
    equipment. ^_^

  7. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest

    "Danny D."

    ** Using a punch work hardens the metal.

    Maybe file a flat instead, then fit the drill bit way up in the chuck and
    try again.

    Slowly and with some oil.

    .... Phil
  8. Baron

    Baron Guest

    Rich Webb Inscribed thus:
    And a carbide drill ! You can buy ones specifically ground for
    stainless and other hard to machine materials.
  9. Sjouke Burry

    Sjouke Burry Guest

    Industrial quality drill. The consumer ones are all a piece of sh*t.
  10. notbob

    notbob Guest

    A lotta bad advice from this group. You shoulda asked a metal working

    As an ex machinist, here's the drill (sorry-couldn't resist):

    You need a HSS drill bit (high speed steel). If you can't see the
    letters HSS somewhere on that drill, it's not and yer wasting your
    money. Make sure the drill bit is sharp! Brand new is even better.

    You need a cutting fluid. A specialized cutting fluid is best, but
    clean motor oil will do, like the kind you put in yer car or lawmower.
    Have a squirt bottle or oil can full on hand and keep that drill bit
    WET! The cutting fluid is as much about keeping the drill bit cool as
    it is in aiding cutting action.

    Use the proper drill motor "speeds" (RPM) and "feeds" for the material and
    drill size. Generally, the smaller the hole diameter and drill size,
    the higher the drilling speed (RPMs).

    Drilling "feed" is how fast the drill bit is plunged or pushed into
    the work. Some drill presses have an automatic feed which you can
    set, but usually it's jes experience and judgement that dictates how
    hard to feed. I see you have a drill press. This is GOOD!, as
    stainless steel (SS) is difficult to drill with a hand drill motor.
    The trick to drilling SS is to keep the feed pressure firm and
    constant. Once you start the hole, do not reduce pressure or "get a
    better grip" on the drill press handles while the bit is still
    spinning in the hole. Back it out and start again. Once in, constant
    presssure. You may see some smoke from the fluid. That's can be a
    good sign and an indiction to add more fluid. You should see chips
    ejected out of the hole. Smoke and no chips means you are not
    cutting, but "work hardening". Keep adding fluid to the hole/drill
    while cutting to keep it cool and the chips ejecting. Add fluid with
    left hand while right hand works the drill press handle. Light
    colored chips (yel, org, red) are good. Shows good pressure. VERY
    DARK blue or purple chips means you are pushing too hard (feed too
    fast) and you will prematurely dull your drill bit.

    If you see no chips ejecting from the hole, you are not cutting and
    are now "work hardening" the SS. Bad mojo! If SS work hardens, yer
    screwed. It becomes almost impossible do go past that point. You
    will hafta buy a carbide drill. Not titanium coated or any of that
    crap. Go straight to carbide. If you hafta go to carbide, NEVER stop
    the drill motor with drill in the hole or while drilling/cutting. It
    will break that carbide bit instantly, gar-own-tee!

    And yes!! DO use a center punch to make a starting point. It will
    NOT work harden the SS. Work hardening is caused by the heat
    generated from the drill friction. That's why you don't want yer
    drill getting hot. Keep that sucker douched! ;)

  11. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest

    " one big boob"

    ** Nope - just from you fuckhead.,

    ** Got fired for incompetence did you ?

    ** Fraid it almost certainly will.

    ** ROTFL

    Work hardening = hardening by "cold working".

    Something most of the stainless steels are FAMOUS for.


    .... Phil
  12. I use Tap Magic cutting fluid. I bought a a couple of small cans of two
    different formulas which served me for years before I needed to buy
    more. The great thing about their product is the fact that it clings to
    the bit and will stay put so using a lot is not necessary. I've used it
    when cutting/drilling in different metals including stainless steel. Oh
    yea, it makes cutting threads into metal a lot easier too. ^_^

  13. Yes, That's my experience, slow and steady and make sure the bit is
    always cutting!

    George H.

    When you feel the drill start to break out of
  14. That's a hell of a can opener if it's 1/2" thick! Might be lassoing
    it with a lanyard would be a better way to go.

  15. Denis G.

    Denis G. Guest

    I'd grind a very small flat spot with a Dremel tool (to prevent the
    drill bit from skating) and anneal the end with a propane torch. You
    can remove any discoloration with polishing.
  16. Delvin Benet

    Delvin Benet Guest

    I would go to the Sandia National Laboratory and get them to use a
    powerful laser to burn a hole through the fucker.
  17. Danny D.

    Danny D. Guest

    Hi Jeff,
    Interesting diagnostics. The flat part (where I don't want to
    attach a cord) is slightly magnetic. The cylindrical handle
    (where I do want to drill) is not magnetic at all.

    I had not realized how hard stainless steel is!
  18. Jim Wilkins

    Jim Wilkins Guest

    -I'd grind a very small flat spot with a Dremel tool (to prevent the
    -drill bit from skating) and anneal the end with a propane torch. You
    -can remove any discoloration with polishing.

    Can openers are hard enough to keep their edge while puncturing steel
    cans, such as tomato juice comes in..
    "Cold working will dramatically increase the hardness of this

    I've seen tensile strength listed as high as 200,000 PSI for Type 302
    used for pallet strapping.

    You could hang the can opener by a Prusik loop of fancy boot lacing
    etc around the middle:

    This knot survives handling better than a square knot:'s_knot

    If you use braided Nylon cord you can melt and fuse the ends of the
    loop and roll the warm joint flush so it nearly disappears.
  19. Jim Wilkins

    Jim Wilkins Guest

    You just don't understand the self-reliant philosophy of R.C.M., do
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