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Using a Forstner bit to drill aluminum plate

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Forum topic by MT_Stringer posted 729 days ago 2002 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MT_Stringer

1804 posts in 1833 days


729 days ago

It may never work again, but using a Forstner bit, I was able to drill a 1/2 inch hole in a Rockler router table insert plate (1/4 inch aluminum).

Previously I had drilled a hole in the insert so I could make adjustments to my Bosch 1617 Router from above the table. Well, it was off a little. Today, I was able to drill another hole just off-center from the first which worked out perfect. First chance I get, I will test the bit. If it doesn’t work properly, I will have to replace it. I am just glad to have the access to the router. Previously, I could get my allen wrench into the adjustment socket at an angle but it was a struggle.

I used the slowest speed on my drill press to do the drilling.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas


11 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7260 posts in 2250 days


#1 posted 729 days ago

I tried to do that last month…. it didn’t work well but I’m
sure you used a better quality Forstner bit. Mine are
real cheapies.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View harvey4804's profile

harvey4804

107 posts in 1284 days


#2 posted 729 days ago

As a waterjet programmer at a precision welding and machine shop… the sound of this makes me cringe! But at least it worked out for you!

-- Ryan, FRMR HMM165 - HMX1 01-10

View tyskkvinna's profile

tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1588 days


#3 posted 729 days ago

The tool shapes for aluminum are pretty similar to wood. If you took it gentle, it should be just fine.

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 793 days


#4 posted 729 days ago

I have twist bits from 1/16 to 3/4…. So I hop I never need to.
Didn’t you have a Hole saw?

-- My terrible signature...

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NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1179 days


#5 posted 728 days ago

The key reason he used a forstner, I believe, is that he had to drill another hole off-center to an existing hole. Not many bits besides a forstner will let you do that.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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MT_Stringer

1804 posts in 1833 days


#6 posted 728 days ago

The bit I used was one from the Harbor Freight set. I took it slow and it simply shaved of the aluminum as it wood a piece of wood. A twist bit would have tried to center itself in the original hole. I didn’t want that. The forstner bit cuts from the outside of the hole so there was no grabbing, jerking or shuddering.

1/2 inch hole saw? Nope, don’t have one.

Here is a pic. You can see part of the original hole which I did a bad job of laying out to center it over the adjustment socket. The new one is drilled in good position and easy to use.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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Alexandre

1417 posts in 793 days


#7 posted 728 days ago

Ohhhhh… I see….

-- My terrible signature...

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

12955 posts in 1277 days


#8 posted 728 days ago

Many folks over at the cnczone use WW bits in their homemade DIY cnc routers to work aluminium. You need to take very lite cuts and use a lubricant (cutting oil) such as WD40.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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tyskkvinna

1308 posts in 1588 days


#9 posted 728 days ago

WD40 is great with aluminum!

-- Lis - Michigan - http://www.missmooseart.com - https://www.etsy.com/people/lisbokt

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2446 posts in 953 days


#10 posted 728 days ago

I tried drilling brass w/ Forstner bit, it was a very slow process and I don’t think I would do it again, perhaps a brad point would be a better choice.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3628 posts in 1970 days


#11 posted 728 days ago

The problem with twist drills in thin stock (metal) is that the holes are not really round. There must be a relationship between the spacing of the drill bit flutes and the material thickness.

I happen to have an old sheet metal punch that can punch up 1/16” thick aluminum, up to 3/8” diameter …. after that it’s the drill press.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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