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Old 01-22-2009, 10:44 PM   #1
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Drilling through metal studs


What are some options for drilling holes in steel studs with finished walls? I install A/V systems and usually get called in after walls are closed up or completely finished. I often need to drill thru sideways to create pass-thru's for wiring, while leaving the sheetrock undisturbed. So, a hole punch is not an option. A Unibit works when I have access, but I usually need to reach too far inside the wall, so there isn't enough space to allow the drill far enough in. I've been using wood spade bits, but they get chewed up pretty quickly and that gets expensive. Is there a way to extend the Unibit? Are there any other tools I'm not aware of?
Thanks,
Mark

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Old 01-23-2009, 06:52 AM   #2
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Drilling through metal studs


I have only ever used a sharp bi metal hole saw. One problem in a closed wall is hot shavings dropping inside. If you use a dull one and it binds the drill's torque could put a hole in the wall . Another issue is that it can leave a sharp edged hole cut which can strip your insulation off the wire you feed through.
Are you drilling horizontally or vertically? I rarelly go horizontal in steel as I am feeding C VAC pipe.

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Old 01-23-2009, 06:55 AM   #3
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Drilling through metal studs


At an electrical supply house you will find long flexible drill bits and drill bit extensions that can be used. They are used in conjunction with a tool that allows you to steer the bit into the center of the stud, which you will need. Now you can use one of the available long bits or any bit you find works on a long extension.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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Drilling through metal studs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chemist1961 View Post
.... Another issue is that it can leave a sharp edged hole cut which can strip your insulation...
Code requires that a bushing be installed which would prevent this.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:37 AM   #5
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Drilling through metal studs


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Originally Posted by rustyjames View Post
Code requires that a bushing be installed which would prevent this.
Fish in armored cable
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Old 01-24-2009, 11:28 AM   #6
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Drilling through metal studs


Rusty,

Bushings / Code... Good Point.

Where I am, in my line I don't think the same code applies for low voltage, etc.
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Old 01-24-2009, 09:37 PM   #7
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Drilling through metal studs


I've never done this, but have seen ABS water line run as conduit to protect low voltage wiring, that runs through metal studs. The pipe is pulled through, then fished with a vacuum cleaner!

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