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Can You drill any steel??

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Forum topic by heldercruz100 posted 02-21-2017 07:32 PM 1376 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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heldercruz100

35 posts in 317 days


02-21-2017 07:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: steel problems how to tips ideias

For a while ive been trying new projects and ideias and in a few of them its required to drill steel. However when I try to drill nothing hapens and after a while the tip is ruined, has this hapened to anyone?? I ve been using carbon steel, and bought from a hardware shop, I doubt it has been heat treated…

-- Helder Cruz


28 replies so far

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1856 posts in 2475 days


#1 posted 02-21-2017 07:45 PM

Use some oil on the thing as you drill – also, use at least “cobalt” bits.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

2332 posts in 1694 days


#2 posted 02-21-2017 07:50 PM

Yes you can drill any steel depending if you have the right bit. Put some oil on it and push down hard while pulling the trigger on and off. Don’t hold the trigger down that is what beats the bit and ruins your bits it’s more so that way on stainless

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

334 posts in 722 days


#3 posted 02-21-2017 07:54 PM

Depends on the quality of the drill bit, the type of drill bit and the hardness of the steel. Most twist drills are ground with tip angles appropriate for most materials, including mild steel. Cheap bits from Harbor Freight are not going to work or last, so buy good quality drill bits. Even then, they can be resharpened or may need to be if misused.

Yes, add some oil to the cutting process to keep the bit from overheating. As an example, I had to drill 3/8 in holes in some AR400 plate steel—hardened (abrasion resistant) steel. I got half way through the 3/8 in plate before the drill bit quit cutting. Sharpened it, and added oil. It went through that plate and 5 more without any hesitation. You can use pretty much any oil you have around, it doesn’t need to be cutting oil.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View heldercruz100's profile

heldercruz100

35 posts in 317 days


#4 posted 02-21-2017 08:03 PM

Thanks for the tips everyone, just one more thing, this is gonna sound joke, but it isnt.. Is it ok if I use engine oil?? I have some left from the last oil change, its new, but too old to put in the car..

-- Helder Cruz

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

667 posts in 1056 days


#5 posted 02-21-2017 08:03 PM

rpm is important,too.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

2332 posts in 1694 days


#6 posted 02-21-2017 08:07 PM

Yes old oil is fine

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4512 posts in 975 days


#7 posted 02-21-2017 08:23 PM

What kind of drill bits are you using? It has to be harder than the steel you’re drilling. For drilling steel, you need a HSS or carbide/carbide tipped bit. All of the above suggestions are good ones but still won’t work if you are using a cheap, mild steel bit intended for wood use only.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View jbay's profile

jbay

1857 posts in 736 days


#8 posted 02-21-2017 08:26 PM

Sometimes it’e easier to start with a smaller hole and increase the size as you go up.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

477 posts in 1306 days


#9 posted 02-21-2017 08:41 PM



Depends on the quality of the drill bit, the type of drill bit and the hardness of the steel. Most twist drills are ground with tip angles appropriate for most materials, including mild steel. Cheap bits from Harbor Freight are not going to work or last, so buy good quality drill bits. Even then, they can be resharpened or may need to be if misused.

Yes, add some oil to the cutting process to keep the bit from overheating. As an example, I had to drill 3/8 in holes in some AR400 plate steel—hardened (abrasion resistant) steel. I got half way through the 3/8 in plate before the drill bit quit cutting. Sharpened it, and added oil. It went through that plate and 5 more without any hesitation. You can use pretty much any oil you have around, it doesn t need to be cutting oil.

- sawdustdad

I thought I should mention, I have this set of 3 stepped drill bits from harbor freight, and I’ve drilled over a hundred holes through 1/4” mild steel with the 6-step bit (the one pictured on the right), with oil and with my drill press. Probably 400-600 RPM. The bits are still holding up great.

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece-titanium-nitride-coated-high-speed-steel-step-drills-91616.html

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Iamjacob's profile

Iamjacob

48 posts in 2463 days


#10 posted 02-21-2017 08:52 PM

Most likely you need to slow down. You almost cant drill too slow as long as you aren’t stalling to motor of your drill. Use of a drill press is best as you can use the slower pulleys but a hand drill will work.

When drilling steel you absolutely need to be pushing hard enough to be removing metal as the bit turns. If you are not removing metal as the bit is turning then you are rubbing the cutting edge of the drill bit and rapidly dulling it.

When drilling metal, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to drill bits. If you got your drill bits from harbor freight then don’t expect to get very far with them. Good quality drill bits will turn mild steel into swiss cheese with little effort.

jbay is correct. Start with a pilot hole and then step up in bit size. Make sure the the pilot hole is at least as large as the web thickness (see photo (b)) as the next size drill bit. The point of a normal drill bit does not cut but pushes the material out of the way so the flutes can remove it. A pilot hole allows the flutes of the bit to cut efficiently.

View Tim's profile

Tim

3681 posts in 1798 days


#11 posted 02-21-2017 09:01 PM

If it’s not making any progress the bit is probably dull. If it is a half decent quality bit and you learn to sharpen it, it will cut a lot better. +1 to what others said about using oil, lower RPM, and enough pressure. The amount of pressure affects the feed rate and the feed rate and RPM (speed) need to be in balance basically for the material you’re cutting.
Also as others said changing the drill point geometry can help a lot for different materials but that’s not a beginner topic really.

If you’ve got a super cheap bit none of the above will matter much.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8029 posts in 2414 days


#12 posted 02-21-2017 10:00 PM

http://www.harryepstein.com/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?q=drill+bits+us+made

I purchased this one:
http://www.harryepstein.com/index.php/norseman-29-pc-drill-bit-set.html

Great advice above. Use your used engine oil, step drill it with good bits and you’re done.

View Maximum's profile

Maximum

22 posts in 320 days


#13 posted 02-21-2017 10:33 PM

jbay has the right idea…that plus the oil.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2600 posts in 2834 days


#14 posted 02-21-2017 11:11 PM

If you have good drill bits you do not need to drill pilot hole.
I have chipped good bits because SOMEONE thought a pilot hole was a good idea !
I also use “Brake Cleaner”
An old timer machinist showed me that trick…Works well.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View jbay's profile

jbay

1857 posts in 736 days


#15 posted 02-22-2017 12:23 AM


If you have good drill bits you do not need to drill pilot hole.
I have chipped good bits because SOMEONE thought a pilot hole was a good idea !
I also use “Brake Cleaner”
An old timer machinist showed me that trick…Works well.

- canadianchips

I never have chipped a bit, drilled many a hole that way.
If you were using good bits then why were you drilling a pilot hole? lol
But I see you have me blocked so I see where your coming from.
(This is like the 3rd thread I see you have come behind me to disagree.)

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

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