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-   -   What is best portable way to Drill holes through 1/2" steel? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f19/what-best-portable-way-drill-holes-through-1-2-steel-159546/)

peakcelln 10-09-2012 02:06 PM

What is best portable way to Drill holes through 1/2" steel?
 
I have some fabricated steel columns in which the bottom plate needs four holes drilled in it to set the pier's anchor bolts through it. Each pier's anchor bolts are different(Ya, I know it was stupid) so I'll have to measure each one carefully. I figure before I get out my Dewalt hammer drill or speed drill, I'd ask which bit is best. The fabricator suggested a "Gas Powered Drill", but I never heard of that. He didnt think I'd be able to do it with a regular drill. Obviously a drill press wont work at this point. Has anyone had to do this?

joecaption 10-09-2012 02:16 PM

Unless your working on a site with no electrical power I have no idea why he came up with the idea of a gas powered drill.
Any heavy duty D handle or right angle drill will drill it. Any light duty or 3/8 drill will be burned up before you finish the job.
Without a drill press I'd be drill with several differant sized bits working up to a 5/8 bit. Any colbalt drill bit will work. I'd try a 3/8 bit first then work my way up. You need to run the drill slower as the size gets bigger. If the metal over heats it's going to work harden and be all but impossible to drill. Shot of using cutting oil a splash of water once in a while will help keep it cool.

I suggest the 5/8 size because if your bolts are 1/2 there's no way to slip them into a 1/2 hole.
FOr the last hole you may need a Silver and Deming drill. They have a 1/2 shank with a drill size that's larger.

peakcelln 10-09-2012 02:22 PM

So maybe a 3/8, then, 1/2, then 5/8(I think that is the size of the anchor bolt)?

joecaption 10-09-2012 02:26 PM

Hole has to be bigger then the bolt.
Anyway to take them to a machine shop that has a plama cutter. Plama would give you the cleanest hole, but even a cutting torch would work, just clean it up with a grinder when done.

mae-ling 10-09-2012 03:19 PM

Get a portable welder guy to come do them with the plasma
If drilling start with 1/4" then up by 1/8" from there.

peakcelln 10-09-2012 03:50 PM

Paying a welder guy to come out might be a bit expensive. Since they charge by the hour, how long do you think it would take to cut 40 holes?

kwikfishron 10-09-2012 03:57 PM

Why not take your fabricated steel columns back to the fabricator and have him finish the job?

peakcelln 10-09-2012 04:01 PM

I think I covered this in the OP, every pier's anchor bolts are different. We told them to not cut the holes. Next time I'll use a template to set the anchor bolts @ 7" square.

kwikfishron 10-09-2012 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peakcelln (Post 1027484)
I think I covered this in the OP, every pier's anchor bolts are different. We told them to not cut the holes. Next time I'll use a template to set the anchor bolts @ 7" square.

Then make some templates and take them back. 40 holes that big in 1/2" steel is going to kick your butt. :yes:

peakcelln 10-09-2012 04:25 PM

How long do you think it would take a welder with a plasma cutter?

beenthere 10-09-2012 04:55 PM

Drilling 40 holes through 1/2" steel with a portable drill will take a lot longer then you think. Basically you'll be drilling 120 holes. 40 with each size bit. And you will probably need several of each, depending on your patience. A lot of people lose patience, and run the bit at too high of a speed without enough oil to keep it cool, and over heat the bit.

peakcelln 10-09-2012 05:00 PM

Sounds like hiring the local welder for $200(His quote when I called him) may be best. I'll probably spend close to that in cobalt bits.

I guarantee I'll have the template ready for the anchor bolts next time.:wallbash:

kwikfishron 10-09-2012 05:05 PM

Also...when drilling steel with a hand held drill and you're almost through the bit likes to bind. If the drill has any kind of torque it will take you for a ride. That was the basis of my "kick your butt" comment.

ddawg16 10-09-2012 05:07 PM

Mag Drill.

Put it in position....hit the switch....it will stay there.....basically, it's like a portable drill press.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e3...0216-00045.jpg

peakcelln 10-09-2012 05:09 PM

Well, my partner in all this has had alot of experience in structural Steel framing, drywall, ceiling grid, etc in commercial applications; but not much in plate steel. I was understanding this process to be alot easier then it now appears.


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